Russian culture grew from that of the East Slavs, with their pagan beliefs and specific way of life in the wooded areas of far Eastern Europe.
Early Russian culture was much influenced by neighbouring Finno-Ugric tribes and by the nomadic peoples of the Pontic steppe (mainly of Kipchak and Iranic origin).
Many Russian fairy tales and bylinas were adapted for animation films, or for feature movies by famous directors like Aleksandr Ptushko (Ilya Muromets, Sadko) and Aleksandr Rou (Morozko, Vasilisa the Beautiful).
Some Russian poets, including Pyotr Yershov and Leonid Filatov, created a number of well-known poetical interpretations of classical Russian fairy tales, and in some cases, like that of Alexander Pushkin, also created fully original fairy tale poems that became very popular.
Since the reforms of Peter the Great, for two centuries Russian culture largely developed in the general context of European culture rather than pursuing its own unique ways.In order to continue researching and analyzing folklore, intellectuals needed to justify its worth to the Communist regime.Otherwise, collections of folklore, along with all other literature deemed useless for the purposes of Stalin's Five Year Plan, would be an unacceptable realm of study.They saw it as a reminder of the backward Russian society that the Bolsheviks were working to surpass.To keep folklore studies in check and prevent "inappropriate" ideas from spreading amongst the masses, the government created the RAPP – the Russian Association of Proletarian Writers.Once Joseph Stalin came to power and put his first five-year plan into motion in 1928, the Soviet government began to criticize and censor folklore studies.