A group of activists in support of Russian President Vladimir Putin have joined forces to launch a satirical weekly magazine, now being toted as Russia’s answer to the ‘charlie Hedbo’ publication.
The group took to the streets of Moscow to hand out free copies of the first issue of ‘Sharzh i Pero’ (cartoon and Pen) on Tuesday this week in support of the Anti-Maidan movement. The movement, which comprises of bikers, Cossacks and veterans of the Afghanistan and Chechen wars, regularly organise rallies and concerts in support of Kremlin’s actions in Ukraine.
The four-page magazine which carries an 18+ certificate is said to have taken a similar style and stance to the Charlie Hedbo magazine, featuring colourful and exaggerated caricatures which mock political figures, patriotic personalities and minor celebrities. Those political figures amongst them include President Petro Poroshenko, the billionaire owner of a confectionary empire, President Barack Obama and several other leaders of western countries who have openly supported Ukraine’s government.
One of the contributing artists to the magazine, Mikhail Serebryakov told a reporter earlier this week that the publication was being produced in an effort to counter the anti-Russia propaganda that he feels is currently being pushed by global media.
“Both in Ukraine and in the West, there is a mass Russophobic campaign going on”…”But from our side, from artists, there was no response.”
“Therefore we got together and decided to give our answer,” he said.
The original Charlie Hedbo magazine had previously gained support from key Russian opposition figures and politicians for its defence of free speech — including the late anti-corruption campaigner Boris Nemtsov, who was shot in February of this year. However it had also been targeted in two terrorist attacks, the first in 2011 and the second in 2015, which made headlines across the globe. It was this second attack which sadly claimed the life of 12 people including several contributors and editor and cartoonist Stephane Charbonnier. The onslaught came after two brothers, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi forced their way into the publication’s Paris office, armed with assault rifles and other weapons, in what they deemed an appropriate response to a number of controversial images Hedbo had published of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad.
All of the activists currently involved in the creation and production of Sharzh i Pero are doing so voluntarily and free of charge.