Support The Moscow Times!

French Satirists at Charlie Hebdo Infuriate Russians With Mockery of Dec. 25 Plane Crash

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has infuriated Russians with its cartoons once again. This Wednesday, the magazine released several comics mocking the Dec. 25 crash of a military plane in the Black Sea — a tragedy that claimed the lives of all 92 passengers, including 64 members of the the Alexandrov Ensemble, known to the world as the Red Army Choir.

On Monday, Russia observed a national day of mourning to honor the victims of the crash.

The mood was slightly different at the offices of Charlie Hebdo, where cartoonists prepared sketches that are now causing a national scandal in Russia.

One of the cartoons depicts the falling Russian plane, and a member of the Red Army Choir singing “A-A-A-A-A-A!” joking that the musicians carolled as they crashed into the Black Sea.

										 					Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo

Another cartoon published on Wednesday shows the Russian military plane crashing again, this time with a caption reading, “The bad news is that Putin wasn’t on-board.”

A third comic shows the musicians singing under the water to a school of fish, with the crashed plane in the background. The caption reads, “After the disaster, the Red Army conquers a new audience.”

										 					Charlie Hebdo
Charlie Hebdo

Unapologetically offensive, Charlie Hebdo has satirized Russian plane crashes before. In November 2015, the magazine similarly mocked the terrorist attack on Russian Metrojet Flight 9268, which killed 224 people.

“This has nothing to do with democracy, self-expression, or whatever,” the Kremlin’s spokesperson said at the time about the drawings, calling them “pure blasphemy.”

In response to the cartoons, a judge in Chechnya even banned Charlie Hebdo’s official Twitter account throughout Russia, though the magazine hasn’t used the account since January 2015. The judge ruled that Charlie Hebdo’s art work illegally incited religious and ethnic hatred.

Just hours after Charlie Hebdo’s latest work, there’s already a petition hosted on calling for Russian sanctions against France, against the staff of Charlie Hebdo, and against Audrey Azoulay, France’s minister of culture and telecommunications. Initiated by Russian journalist and blogger Nikolai Zubov, the petition had 419 supporters, at the time of this writing.

In January 2015, gunmen attacked Charlie Hebdo's offices in Paris, killing 12 people and injuring 11 others. The shooters, who identified themselves as members of Islamic terrorist groups, then killed five more people in the surrounding region, before being shot dead by police. The gunmen described their actions as retaliation against the magazine's blasphemous cartoons mocking Islam. The attack sparked public demonstrations around the world in support of press freedoms, producing the common slogan “Je suis Charlie.”

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more