Folklore character Vasily Pupkin: origin, history

Folklore character Vasily Pupkin: origin, history
Folklore character Vasily Pupkin: origin, history

This simpleton with a funny surname on the Internet is more popular than many politicians and show business stars. Who is Vasya Pupkin and why does everyone know him?

Internet meme

A paradox, but it doesn't really exist. He is a fictional character, an Internet meme (a media object created by mass media).

Vasya Pupkin and why everyone knows him

For such purposes, even a new scientific word was singled out - exemplifier. In this context, it is a proper name, which is used to refer to an unknown person. For example, Ivanovs, Petrovs, Sidorovs often appear in jokes.

From the school bench, we are more familiar with the concept of "a common noun" (for example, traitors are called Judas, Stakhanovites are the leaders of production), but this is not the same thing as an exemplifier. If in the first case, usually some real person or artistic character gave a name to a generalized image, then in the second, the name and surname were specially invented to designate an already existing social phenomenon.

Vasily Pupkin is a real phenomenon. Although he does not really exist, like Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus, but the Internet media space wants to convince us of the opposite.

The origin of the folklore character Vasya Pupkin

It's amazing, but the number of Vasya Pupkin's homepages is off scale. There are more than 38 thousand profiles of the same name, and this is only on the Runet.

Who is the author of this brainchild, it is impossible to say for sure. Folklore is oral folk art. Therefore, Vasya is a native of the people.

Who does the notorious character represent?

Often our compatriots like to remember the name of Alexander Sergeevich in vain. For example:

- Who will clean up?

- Pushkin! (used in the meaning of "nobody").

But Vasily Pupkin is "someone, but not me".

Currently, this character is a reflection of the mass Russian Internet user. The fact is that the World Wide Web has penetrated into every cell of the post-Soviet space, the number of network users is growing every year, and this people is quite motley and many-sided.

Vasisualy Pupkin, aka Vasya Pupkin

And there are some simpletons among them who consider themselves beaten experts in some areas and love to rant about it. They were named Vasily Pupkins.

What is he like?

In fact, netizens created Vasya Pupkin in their own image and likeness. Therefore, it is constantly evolving, like its creators: itsvalues, thinking is transformed, it acquires new qualities.

Vasily Pupkin is active. He loves to be clever on all sorts of forums, never misses an opportunity to put his two cents in any discus. Although actually a little silly, but absolutely harmless. He lives according to the laws of network culture, supports average values.

Sometimes Vasily Pupkin means an arrogant writer, critic or political scientist, one hundred percent sure that he is right. Although even from the very combination of the name and surname it reeks of cross-cutting provinciality. What can I say, if naive suckers, who are easily used for their own benefit, are popularly called Vasya. Often they play the same role in jokes.

Also, this virtual character is sometimes used to personify his "not-I", rewarding him with negative qualities and primitive thinking, which disgust the one who opposes himself and Vasya Pupkin. For example, you can often hear such dialogues in everyday life: "I will not take this. Let Vasya Pupkin buy this." This is the name of the collective class of those individuals who are considered worse or lower than themselves, loved ones.

The origin of the folklore character Vasya Pupkin is ambiguous. Some associate his last name with the word "navel", that is, this man inspired himself that he was the navel of the earth. The latter even attribute historical roots to it: they say, there was such a failed rhymerist Vasily Pushkin, a relative of Alexander Sergeevich, but he was not suitable for versification and a match for him. That's why they twisted it as a jokesurname to emphasize the absurdity of his claims to a pedestal in the field of high poetry. Still others are sure that by his appearance this hero is associated with the author of a textbook on arithmetic from the times of Tsarist Russia, but more on that later. In addition, Vasisualy Pupkin (aka Vasya Pupkin) is sometimes also awarded the patronymic Alibabaevich (from the movie "Gentlemen of Fortune").

Why took root

Interestingly, unlike other common nouns, this is written not with a lowercase but with a capital letter, creating the illusion of the real existence of such a person, and not just a collective image.

Vasily Pupkin (Arithmetic)

Russians are a nation that loves to laugh at themselves. Vasily Pupkin is the product of such self-irony. Even the combination of a rustic name and a stately surname creates a comic effect.

It's comfortable, among other things. His name and surname help to succinctly express the whole concept, characterize someone, or simply replace the usual username (username).

It is estimated that almost every second net user calls himself Vasya Pupkin when registering on some site. It's kind of an anonymous self-name.


This product of folklore has expanded its habitat and stepped beyond the Internet pages. He is often mentioned in his speeches by politicians, referring to a whole class of commoners, a conditional image of the bearer of public opinion.

Who is Vasya Pupkin

This is how the condescending attitude of the higher intelligentsia towards the people is displayed,and specifically to the Russian people. Dagestan or Ossetian Vasya Pupkin language does not dare to call.

In the army you can hear: "Sergeant Vasya Pupkin is ready for military service!" and the like. That is, this name and surname have long been used as an example of representation.

Vasily Pupkin "Arithmetic"

If you believe in the existence of an arithmetic teacher who published a textbook for parochial schools with the notorious tasks about the capacity of pools, it becomes clear where his modern namesake "legs grow". Although the connection between them is difficult to establish. True, for some reason there is no such textbook anywhere in the libraries, there are no records of its existence in the archives, it is known only from the stories of old people who went to parochial schools in their distant childhood. Therefore, we can assume that this book - Vasily Pupkin's textbook - is just a replicated myth and nothing more.

Textbook by Vasily Pupkin

Analogues in other languages

Such examples are not purely Russian folklore. For example, in the English vocabulary there is a certain John Doe. It was originally used to refer to a male plaintiff in a lawsuit if the real name is unknown or anonymous. The defendant's name was Richard Roe. Now John Doe is a pseudonym for the unidentified body of a man in judicial practice. If we were talking about the same corpse of a woman, then she is given the name Jane Doe. The baby is called Baby Doe. Also, under such fictitious names, patients are recorded in hospitals who are not able to give their real names.last name due to coma or amnesia.

Vasily Pupkin

A similar role is played by Mr. Smith. True, his name and surname are used in a broader sense of "anonymous" or "typical Englishman".

America has its own folklore character - Joe-Six-Pack (Joe Six-Cans). This is a representative of the working profession, not particularly weighed down by intellect, who tends to miss just such an amount of beer after work.

The real Vasya Pupkin

But how many namesakes of this virtual hero live in the real world? At first glance, it seems that there should be at least a couple of dozen. On this occasion, studies were even carried out, and it turned out that such a surname is very rare for Russian society. Only about fifty representatives of the Pupkins were found, and among them there is only one Vasily, who lives in the Saratov region. How his name has earned such popularity, he does not know.

Although this image is fictional, but it lives a little bit in each of us. So, who is Vasya Pupkin? He is truly a hero of our time. It's sad, but, what time, such are the heroes.

Popular topic