Charlie Hebdo cartoon about Russian plane crash branded 'blasphemous' by Putin spokesman

Charlie Hebdo's editor defended the publication, saying the Kremlin was using the cartoons to 'detract attention from other problems'

Olivia Blair
Friday 06 November 2015 18:31
The front cover of an issue of Charlie Hebdo from February, 2015
The front cover of an issue of Charlie Hebdo from February, 2015

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo has been criticised by the Russian government after publishing cartoons of the passenger plane which crashed in Sinai last weekend.

The latest issue of the magazine features a cartoon which shows plane parts and a passenger falling from the sky on to a bearded man in “an Islamic robe”.

The caption alongside the image reportedly says: “Isis: Russian aviation intensifies its bombardments.”

Dmitry Peskov, President Putin’s media secretary called the cartoon “blasphemy”.

According to Russia Today, he told the media: “In our country this would be called ‘blasphemy’. It has nothing to do with democracy or with self-expression. It is just blasphemy.”

The second picture seems to show a skull in front of a burning plane which reads: 'The dangers of low-cost Russia. I should have taken Air Cocaine’ — referring to two French pilots who recently fled the Dominican Republic after facing charges of drug trafficking.

According to the Moscow Times, the editor of Charlie Hebdo, Gerard Briar defended the publication, telling a Russian-language French radio station: “We are a secular, democratic and atheist newspaper. The term ‘blasphemy’ has no meaning for us. The Kremlin is using this to detract attention from other problems.”

Additional reporting by AP

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