The Phenomenon of Krotovukha in the Light of Epistemology

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Viral Content
Sympathetic Magic
National Tradition

How to Cite

Zavyalova, E. (2023). The Phenomenon of Krotovukha in the Light of Epistemology. Galactica Media: Journal of Media Studies, 5(1), 33-56.


The subject of the study was one of the most viral Russian trends of the turn of 2022–2023: krotovukha, a tincture on a dead mole, which attracted attention of not only the Internet users, but also of doctors, restaurateurs, historians, and legislators. The aim of the research was to identify the reasons for active participation in communication on such a topic. It was found that the image of the mole is very much in demand in world culture. This is due to its otherness, its ability to act, to change space, to link the underworld with the mundane. Analysis of a video by an alcohol blogger from Moscow revealed the presence of initiation semantics attached to tasting. These types of publications become a modified version of the ritualised round drinking, as evidenced by patriotic themes and masculine accessories. The name itself already potentially contains the semantics of the familiar, the expressive, and the dearly beloved. A large number of memes demonstrate the strength of user reactions to krotovukha. The most comical effect is produced by stylistic disruption. The incredible effects of the “national” elixir are played off. The duality of perception of the character and the drink made from his body makes the recognisable image variable, polyvalent, and suitable for multiple transformations. The article concludes by noting that the recipe that went viral reflects a belief in sympathetic magic, the ritual power of sacrifice and the cosmogonic significance of the rite – the sacred timing of information dissemination.


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