Russia has attacked the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine for mocking the victims of a military plane crash in its cartoons.
Elected politicians, government departments and embassies turned their fire on the French weekly for mocking a “national tragedy”.
One Russian leader said the magazine had shown “what democracy and freedom of speech really are”, and suggested that those who supported the magazine in the wake of its staff being massacred in 2015 would not do so now.
'Bad news… Putin wasn't on board': Charlie Hebdo magazine is branded 'inhuman' in Russia over cartoons 'mocking'… https://t.co/c9jtiCXmbr
— Angie Katz (@KatzAngie) December 29, 2016
A cartoon published in its latest edition showed the crashing plane with the caption “bad news… Putin wasn’t on board”, and also joked about members of a military choir who were on board.
The magazine also upset Russian officials by publishing a cartoon of the assassination of their ambassador to Turkey, who was killed in Ankara on December 20.
Ramzan Kadyrov, the leader of Chechnya, a region of Russia, was the most outspoken. In an Instagram post, he said:
French magazine Charlie Hebdo has once again demonstrated what Western “democracy and freedom of speech” really is.
The edition published cartoons of the crash of Tu-154 and the murder of the Russian ambassador in Ankara. I have previously said and now repeat, that the editorial policy of the journal is immoral and inhuman. It has nothing to do with the freedom of the press, directly or indirectly. Millions of Russians and our friends across the world are personally grieving the murder of Andrei Karlov and the Tu-154 disaster, and Charlie Hebdo mocks our national tragedy.
Французский журнал Charlie Hebdo в очередной раз продемонстрировал, что из себя на самом деле представляют западная "демократия и свобода слова". Издание опубликовало карикатуры на крушение Ту-154 и убийство российского посла в Анкаре. Я ранее говорил и сейчас повторяю, что редакционная политика журнала аморальна, безнравственна и бесчеловечна. Она не имеет никакого, ни прямого, ни косвенного отношения к свободе прессы. Убийство Андрея Карлова и катастрофа Ту-154 миллионами россиян и нашими друзьями во всём мире восприняты как личное горе, а Charlie Hebdo насмехается над нашей национальной трагедией. Пусть и сегодня те, кто раньше кричали, что "Мы все Charlie Hebdo", опять наденут эти футболки, а те, кто стройными колоннами маршировали по улицам Парижа, опять соберутся на Елисейских полях. Позор!!! #Кадыров #Россия #Чечня #Карлов #Ту154 #DisgraceCharlieHebdo
Kadyrov challenged those “who shouted we are all Charlie Hebdo” to put their t-shirts on and march again in light of the new cartoons.
A spokesman for the Russian defence ministry called the drawings “a poorly-created abomination”.
Charlie Hebdo became a beacon of free expression worldwide after 12 of its staffers were murdered by Islamist terrorists in January 2015, likely because of the magazine’s outspoken mockery of Islam, and tendency to depict the prophet Muhammad.
World leaders – though not Barack Obama – marched in solidarity with its staff through the streets of Paris after what would be the first in a run of several terror attacks on France.
— Russia in RSA 🇷🇺 (@EmbassyofRussia) December 28, 2016
#JeSuisCharlie trended on social media as thousands affirmed its right to offend anybody without risk of punishment.
However, the magazine’s penchant for controversy has continued to challenge many, particularly its decision to use Aylan Kurdi, the slain Syrian refugee, in one of its cartoons.
Charlie Hebdo, which does not routinely publish online, has dedicated its homepage to defending itself from its critics.
A long strip in English is dedicated to “dummies in the press”, whom it says whip up outrage over its cartoons without properly understanding them.