Kremlin angrily denounces Charlie Hebdo's mockery of killed Russins as 'sacrilege'
Originally appeared at The Guardian
Russia has condemned the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for publishing two cartoons about the plane crash in the Sinai desert in which 224 people were killed.
One shows debris and body parts falling on Islamic State fighters, with the caption: “IS: Russian aviation is intensifying bombardments”, a reference to its airstrikes in Syria.
Another shows a skull with a pair of sunglasses hanging off it and the debris of the crashed plane in the background. It is titled: “The dangers of Russian low-cost airlines”.
A spokesman for the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, said the cartoons were unacceptable. “This has nothing to do with democracy or self-expression. It is sacrilege,” he said.
Moscow does not, however, plan to make an official complaint.
Jihadi gunmen killed 12 people in an attack in January on Charlie Hebdo’s office in Paris following the magazine’s decision to publish cartoons depicting the prophet Muhammad.
The magazine’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Biard, criticised the Kremlin for “using Charlie Hebdo to create a controversy where none exists, which is the usual manipulation you get from totalitarian regimes”.
“This magazine is supposed to be irreverent, and we respect the values of democracy and freedom of expression which the Russian powers that be … do not,” he said.
“Their argument about sacrilege is absurd. Are we supposed to no longer comment on the news in a different way, or to say nothing more than it’s sad? If so that becomes a problem for freedom of expression.”
The French foreign ministry said “journalists are free to express their opinions inFrance. The authorities do not get involved”.
The cartoons, which were published on Wednesday, have not been widely covered in French media.