Vladimir Putin's press secretary, Dmitry Peskov, says the latest caricature by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo is blasphemous. The new art contains a caricature of the recent Russian plane crash in Egypt, which claimed the lives of 224 people.
"This is truly unacceptable to us. I don't presume to judge the moral standards of the French, but for us in our country this is blasphemy," Peskov said. "This has nothing to do with democracy or self-expression. This is blasphemy."
The satirical magazine recently published a new caricature depicting a bearded man in long white thawb, with a gun over his shoulder, upon whom the wreckage of an airplane is falling. The caption reads, "ISIL: Russia intensifies its airstrikes." The caricature appeared in the magazine's "Covers That You Avoided" section, where the editors publish rejected cover art.
Several Russian lawmakers have harshly criticized the magazine for publishing the cartoon. "Of course, these Charlie Hebdo caricatures of the plane tragedy aren't any kind of satire—they're just a dirty mockery, and the only conclusion one can draw about all this is that it's just blatant cynicism," said Communist Party spokesperson Ivan Melnikov. United Russia's Alexey Pushkov, who heads the Duma's Foreign Affairs Committee, agreed that the publication of the caricature is "blasphemy."
On Saturday morning, October 31, an Airbus A321 Russian passenger flight operated by Metrojet crashed in the mountainous area of central Sinai, en route to St. Petersburg. All 224 people on board died.
Charlie Hebdo is a French satirical weekly magazine, featuring cartoons, reports, opinion pieces, and satire. On January 7, 2015, two Islamist gunmen broke into the magazine's office in Paris killed 12 people. Following the attack, supporters of free speech around the world staged demonstrations to honor the victims. In Paris, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister Sergey Lavrov joined nearly 2 million people in the largest of these vigils.