On February 7, 2012, the first representatives of the animation industry united for common goals and achieved significant success along the way under the auspices of the Russian Animated Film Association. The professional community conducts consistent and systematic work with government agencies, business representatives, public and creative associations aimed at the growth and development of the animation industry, protecting its interests and strengthening its status. In particular, thanks to this activity, Russian animation has managed to achieve significant success in recent years and become a driver of creative industries in Russia.

Ilya Popov, founder of the Riki Group of Companies, RAFA President , producer: ‘The Association is primarily talented people who sincerely love their work, carefully preserve the best traditions of Russian animation, believe in its success and put a lot of effort into creating high–quality content. As a result, more and more Russian projects are gaining international recognition, and foreign partners are joining the production and financing, which opens up new prospects for the development and promotion of vivid content stories. Our projects are still kind and meaningful, based on common human values and remain timeless. And even after a decade, toons created in Russia will be relevant and useful. All this was made possible thanks to the tremendous work of the Association’s team and its members.’

A huge layer of work is interaction with the state. Over these 10 years, many important issues of industry support from relevant ministries and departments have been resolved. The Association cooperates with the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation and the Cinema Foundation, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation and Russian Export Center, the Ministry of Industry and Trade of the Russian Federation, ROSKINO, as well as with the Government of Moscow, Moscow Export Center, the Agency of Creative Industries. Against the background of comprehensive measures, the volume of the animation market has increased from 4 billion to 20 billion rubles in 10 years. Now, on behalf of the Government of the Russian Federation, RAFA is working with relevant departments on a new package of tax benefits, the introduction of which will lead to a fourfold increase in production and an increase in employment in the industry by 2.5 times compared to 2018.

Irina Mastusova, RAFA CEO: ‘Without the support of the state, the animation industry would not have been able not only to develop into a significant sector of creative industries, as it has become over the past 10 years, but it might simply not have survived as a direction of cinematography. We became an industry at the moment when an Association was created that unites all market players. We cooperate with relevant ministries and departments, developing and implementing animation support and development programs. I am pleased to announce that new subsidies have been added in 2018: a budget of 1 billion rubles has been allocated for the ‘development of unique author’s animated films and support for children’s and family content’, and the debut animated film will be funded at the rate of 100 percent per minute of production.’

The combined booths of Russian animation, organized with the participation of RAFA at the world’s largest exhibitions, have become a representation of the Russian animation industry for the international audience. Irina Mastusova: ‘In recent years, cooperation with the Moscow government has become more fruitful and versatile. I hope that in the future this will lead to the fact that my dream will come true – that Moscow will receive the title of the capital of animated cinema – the largest metropolis in the world supporting animation, as happened with Seoul and Tokyo. And last year, a huge step was taken in this direction – a grant was distributed to support animation production.’

The impetus for the creation of the Association was given at a meeting of leading representatives of the animation industry with Vladimir Putin in 2011 and the decision to create a professional association of organizations of the animation film industry, which was registered on February 7, 2012. The professional organization has become a consolidated body of management and communication with authorities, public institutions, professional and expert community, assuming the mission of the subject of the formation of the animation industry.

‘The emergence of RAFA marked a new stage in the development of the industry. Rich in talents, unique creative experience, and cultural heritage, it has not had the opportunity to realize her potential for many years,’ said Juliana Slashcheva, RAFA Chairman of the Board of Directors, SMF Studio Chairman of the Board of Directors, ‘consolidation of joint efforts of the professional community throughout Russia has allowed us to develop a number of rational mechanisms that we addressed to government agencies and business structures in a constructive dialogue. And, as a result, in 10 years animation, having significantly increased its status, has become not only an art field, but also a driver of creative industries in the country. It is important that thanks to RAFA platform, we have a common position, the opportunity to share experiences, practices, and opinions. It is through timely joining of efforts that the Russian animation industry has achieved the steady growth rates that we have today.’

In 2017, the second meeting of representatives of the animation workshop with the President of the country took place, as a result of which the industry received multilateral infrastructure support. Thanks to the introduction of tax incentives, animation production has increased 2–fold over the past 3 years – the producers have used the funds released from taxes to expand production, which indicates how well such targeted state support measures work. An animation technopark was launched on the basis of SMF Studio. The issues of export support and staffing have moved to a new level. As a result of the launched processes, the industry has developed 8 of its own professional standards, the only one of the creative industries.

In 2021, RAFA launched the MULTANIMA platform project, which contains all the works of Russian author’s animation over the past 30 years. This is a reflection of the current stage of its development and a unique cultural phenomenon that is the pride of the country. The non-profit project has combined author’s films that are inaccessible to a wide audience on one site, which is in tune with the consolidating role of the association in the entire industry.

On August 12, 2022, the Day of Russian Animation was approved by decree of President Vladimir Putin on April 8.  The initiative of RAFA to create a Day of Russian Animation was supported at a high state level.  The creation of an official holiday has become the main public event within the framework of the 10th anniversary of RAFA. In 2022, Russian animated cinema turned 110 years old, since on April 8, 1912, the premiere of the first domestic animated film ‘The Beautiful Lyukanida’, directed by Vladislav Starevich, took place. According to Irina Mastusova, ‘Despite all the difficulties on the way to becoming an industry, we have something to be proud of. Russian animation has huge cultural and historical roots, and today we are witnessing the creative synergy of industrial and author animation, which gives our films the opportunity to take their rightful place in the international arena.’