Threats to Swiss paper Neue Zurcher Zeitung over Putin meme


Neue Zurcher Zeitung putin meme
Image: Neue Zurcher Zeitung

Russia’s Swiss Embassy has threatened to contact law enforcement agencies over a Vladimir Putin meme published by the newspaper Neue Zurcher Zeitung.

In June, the newspaper published an online article about wartime memes.  The article included images sourced from social media.

Two in particular aroused Russian ire. One shows Vladimir Putin wearing not only a clown nose but also rainbow face paint. We assume the image involved some digital manipulation. Because it seems unlikely Putin ever posed for such a pic. But we don’t judge what the Russian dictator does in his private life. Indeed, we can barely get through the shit he does publicly.

The other pic depicts Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky as Captain America.

The Russian Embassy obviously does not appreciate either wit or photoshop skill.

In its letter to Neue Zurcher Zeitung, some embassy underling whined about the “beyond comprehension caricature of the Russian leader with references to clowning, the LGBT community and ‘war criminals’.”

‘War criminals’ is code for Vladimir Zelensky, the previously lowly-rated Ukrainian President, Russia turned into an international hero by its unjustified invasion of the neighbouring country.

The embassy also complained about the Captain America meme depicting Zelensky “as a powerful Iron Man.”

Poor old Vladimir. Putin memes featuring the vicious homophobe in rainbow colours or drag are pretty common now.

In fact ‘Gay Clown Putin’ is now a thing in Memeland, especially since Russia listed such images in the ‘Federal List of Extremist Materials’. Yep. It’s now a crime to do a Putin meme insinuating anything about the Dear Leader’s sexuality or propensity for wearing garish makeup.

Streisand Effect

If Putin knew more gay people, he’d be aware of the ‘Streisand Effect’. Unintended consequences: sending something viral by trying to have it censored.

Oh well. Looks like we’ll have to get used to Putin memes. The Russian leader is ensuring they’re here to stay.

However, we hope Neue Zurcher Zeitung keeps up the good work. Because anything that pisses off Putin makes the world a better place.

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