Although you may never have heard of Krtek, he's a legend in some parts of the world. Also known as "The Little Mole," Krtek (pronounced KURR-teck) could probably be considered the Czech Mickey Mouse and is an important cultural relic of the Soviet Bloc communist countries during the Cold War. Created by a Czech artist in 1954, Krtek's cuteness weirdly belies his communist origins, not unlike Disney's Mickey Mouse gas masks, but the fact that Krtek is still hugely popular may be a testament to the nostalgia of simpler times.
Communist countries in the 1950s - including the Soviet Union and the Eastern Bloc - banned Disney cartoons and other western influences, so communist animators created their own characters. But Krtek became one the most widely popular thanks to his innocence, kindness, and desire to help others, all traits that earned him the respect and love of worldwide audiences even after the Fall of Communism. Today, shops in the Czech Republic are filled with Krtek merchandise, and he continues to be one of the most beloved characters that many people in the United States never even knew existed.