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Friday, August 29, 2014


Western Magazine Covers Reflect Hardened View of Putin's Russia

Published 6 February 2014

Russian President Vladimir Putin had hoped to use the 2014 Sochi Olympics to showcase a Russia that had recovered from the post-Soviet tumult of the 1990s. But his Olympics project has been beset from the outset with questions of corruption, fears over security, and anger over a law banning gay "propaganda" that passed last year. As the Olympics begin, cover art for major western magazines has focused on these issues in lieu of sport.

1

"The Economist" focuses on a country "in deepening trouble" even as Putin seeks to make it shine during the Olympics. 

2

This work, by Barry Blitt is titled, "Jury of His Peers." Several western nations have opted against sending high-level delegations to Sochi. The U.S. delegation includes three openly gay athletes -- an apparent statement against Russia's antigay legislation

3

The "Newsweek" cover turns the issue of gay rights on its head, with a story uncovering rampant stereotyping and homophobia in the figure skating world. Indeed, the two previous covers above seem to tacitly poke at Russia's antigay laws by dressing Putin as a figure skater.

4

Simon Schuster's cover story focuses on Russia's effort to build a "ring of steel" to prevent potential terrorist attacks.

5

Julia Ioffe says Putin's country is falling apart despite the failure of opposition protests two years ago.

6

For Joshua Yaffa's cover story about corruption in preparation for the winter games, "Bloomberg Businessweek" uses a bear -- often seen as a symbol for Russia. The magazine explained that other cover ideas fell flat

7

The cover reads, "The dictatorship of the body." Putin has been photographed shirtless throughout his career and has carefully crafted his ultramasculine image.

8

"Reflex," a Czech weekly magazine, portrays Putin as an effeminate ice king for its cover story on "Glory and Fear in the Russian Empire."