Accessibility links

Breaking News

Dark Humor Springs From Russia's Crimea Foray

Russian President Vladimir Putin's snarling visage has become the main target for caricatures and cartoons.
Vladimir Putin as Pinocchio or a hungry wolf; Olympic rings as wheels on a tank heading to Ukraine.

Russia's military occupation of Crimea and its president's pronouncements on the crisis have provided a rich satirical vein for humorists to mine, as these cartoons, collages, and captioned photos show.

British satirical magazine "Private Eye" played on the timing of Putin's Crimea foray, noting that it coincided with the run-up to the March 7-16 Paralympic Games.

Putin, looking through binoculars at the "Winter Paramilitary Games," says: "I think Russia is going to win the shooting."

This one continues the Olympic theme:

Some cartoons, like these two, take aim at Russia's denial that its forces are occupying facilities in Crimea:

Many of Russia's claims about the political upheaval in Kyiv and its takeover of Crimea have been challenged -- and debunked. This cartoon puts it bluntly, casting Putin as Pinocchio, the wooden puppet whose nose grows when he tells a lie....​
...while this joke suggests Crimea's pro-Russian leaders are acting in lockstep with the Kremlin. It appeared minutes after the Crimean parliament voted on March 6 to join Russia and bring forward a referendum on the issue.

It was only a matter of time before someone made the "Cry me a river" pun.​

This one suggests Putin might have his eye on other former Russian Empire possessions, asking "How's our Alaska doing?"

Our last two feature sinister depictions of Putin -- as a hungry wolf, and as the turret and gun barrel of a tank:

-- Kathleen Moore

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

Latest Posts