Russian embassy threatens Swiss newspaper over Putin clown meme
They don’t fool around.
The Russian embassy in Switzerland reportedly sent a legal threat to a Swiss newspaper after the newspaper published a cartoon of President Vladimir Putin sporting a clown nose and rainbow stripes on his face.
According to the Washington Post, in a letter published on its website on Saturday, the embassy’s press service condemned the Neue Zürcher Zeitung newspaper for publishing the image in a July 9 article about the role of memes and digital messages in the Russian invasion of Ukraine .
The article, titled “Between Superheroes and Villains: The Power of Memes in the Ukraine War,” features Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a Captain America-esque suit with Ukrainian colors and symbols, while Putin stands next to him with a clown nose and rainbow makeup.
“When we talk about clowning, it would be much more appropriate to address this topic in connection with the recent past of the former Ukrainian comedian V. Zelenskyy,” the embassy’s letter reads.
According to the Swiss news channel Swissinfo, the “extremely outraged” message also argued “We believe that freedom of expression is in no way compatible with the freedom to spread insults and forgeries”.
The Swiss outlet said the photo of Putin was originally posted on Twitter.
Russia also took offense at the rainbow colors associated with Putin because of its apparent connection to the LGBTQ community.
The embassy said Putin is “a deeply religious Orthodox person and advocates the preservation of traditional Christian values in Russian society (and he’s clearly not a fan of the LGBT community),” according to the Washington Post.