The story of the emergence of perhaps the most famous Soviet meme was told in his blog by journalist Dmitry Chernyshev. Before giving the floor to the author, it is worth saying that it is not canonical, and there are several versions of how it began, but its essence does not change from this. So:
“A young Jewish youth Mikhail Lazarevich Ushats entered the Moscow Architectural Institute in the 1940s. Later he became a Soviet cartoonist and worked for the Krokodil magazine. But in the first year of study at the Moscow Architectural Institute, he was remembered by fellow students for one habit: Misha signed his personal (and not only) things.
Once, at the department of drawing, where students were supposed to draw a posing model from life, preparations were underway for the lesson and the attendants were setting up easels. Good places for easels are always sought after by those who come to class first, and those who are late get the worst angles. Ushats, passing by chance along the corridor, noticed that the easels were already on display, went into the classroom, chose the most successful one and wrote his name on it.
The headman of the course, who came first the next day, saw this inscription, understood everything, but did not erase it. Instead, he signed all the other easels: "Ushats... Ushats... Ushats...". Students check out the headman's joke. And away we go...
On the endpapers of books in the student library, next to the names of the authors, the surname Usats began to appear, separated by commas; the desks and chairs in the classrooms also gradually almost all began to belong to Ushats; toilets, including women's toilets, were also signed; and female students brought red threads to the institute and, in between couples, embroidered "Ushats" on window curtains and rags with which they washed chalk from student boards. Plaster heads, drawing boards, tablets, cupboards, lecterns, in a word, all available institute inventory was branded: "Ushac". And then the meme went beyond the institute. He began to gradually appear on architectural monuments. First in the USSR, and then abroad. Penetrated into literature, cinema and even cartoons. And a proverb appeared in the professional slang of architects: "It's just some kind of Ushats!" (similar to russian word "uzhas" - "terrible" - noted by the editor)
Danelia's "Ushac" has appeared before - it is scratched on the walls in two episodes of the film "Don't Cry" (and later in "Mimino" and "Autumn Marathon"). In addition, the inscription "Ushats" can be seen in the film adaptation of the novel "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain, 1972, "Completely Lost", and in the cartoon "Neznayka on the Moon" (Neznayka is a personage of Nikolay Nosov's book, his name can be translated like "Dunno" - noted by the editor) in 1997, on the wall of the restaurant behind the Donut eating porridge, it is written "Ushats is alive!"..."
The editors of Novye Izvestia fully confirm the fact that this meme is incredibly widespread across the planet; they themselves saw it in the toilet of the Elsinore castle in Denmark, and on the bridge across the channel in a remote corner of Meshchera.
Here are the blog readers, too, shared their cases:
- In Munich there is a 91-meter tower, nicknamed by the Munich people Alter Peter. They write that there is an elevator going up to the observation deck, but we did not find it, and it’s not cool. Therefore, we climbed the steep stairs on foot. In the middle of the ascent there is a small place with a bench for a break. There I gladly told my companions the story of the unforgettable inscription: "USHATS", found, you guessed it, on a wall streaked with multinational visitors.
- I even knew him well, I visited us. A wonderful person. I remember the story of some diver who saw the inscription USHATS on the underwater (!) Rock near Koktebel - I had to quickly rise to the surface due to a fit of wild laughter
- In the Catholic cathedral, the national symbol of Austria and the symbol of the city of Vienna, on the uppermost tier, closer to the ceiling, is written "Ushats Moscow Institute of Architecture". Was glad to see - although vandalism of course.