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‘Sacrilege’: Russian Officials Blast Charlie Hebdo’s Plane Crash Cartoons

The French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, is no stranger to controversy, having faced criticism in the past by people who say they sometimes go too far too early in order to make light of tragedies. Yesterday, they drew the ire of the Russian government for a series of cartoons they made about the passenger flight that crashed in Egypt as it flew over the Sinai Peninsula.

Here are the cartoons being criticized by Moscow officials:

The captions, as reported by The Guardian, translate to “The dangers of Russian low-cost airlines,” and “IS: Russian aviation is intensifying bombardments,” respectively. Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for Vladimir Putin said that while they would not issue an official complaint towards the magazine, “This has nothing to do with democracy or self-expression. It is sacrilege.”

Konstantin Kosachyov, head of the Russian Federation Council’s International Affairs Committee, also blasted the publication when he reportedly wrote on Facebook, “The cartoons in Charlie Hebdo are nothing but another example of systematic immorality in self-advertising and shameless money-making on other people’s misfortunes and tragedies.”

Gerard Biard, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo, rejected the criticisms by blasting Russia’s lack of press freedoms, and saying they were “using Charlie Hebdo to create a controversy where none exists”:

This magazine is supposed to be irreverent, and we respect the values of democracy and freedom of expression which the Russian powers that be … do not. Their argument about sacrilege is absurd. Are we supposed to no longer comment on the news in a different way, or to say nothing more than it’s sad? If so that becomes a problem for freedom of expression.

The crash took place last week, and an ISIS-affiliated group claimed responsibility. Current intelligence reports suggest a bomb was planted on board, which blew it out of the sky.

[h/t Huffington Post]
[image via Twitter]

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