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Kremlin refers to Charlie Hebdo cartoons on Russian plane crash as "blasphemy"

November 06, 2015, 13:35 UTC+3
Two controversial cartoons devoted to the Russian A321 plane crash in Egypt appeared in the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine
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People light candles in memory of the victims of the air crash in Egypt, St.Petersburg

People light candles in memory of the victims of the air crash in Egypt, St.Petersburg

© Alexander Demyanchuk/TASS

MOSCOW, November 6. /TASS/. Russia's presidential press secretary Dmitry Peskov referred to the Charlie Hebdo cartoons about the crash of the Russian plane in Egypt as blasphemy having nothing to do with democracy.

"This has nothing to do with democracy, self-expression or whatever. It is pure blasphemy," he told reporters.

The press secretary said he tried together with his colleagues to find cartoons about reporters of the magazine, who were killed by terrorists.

"We could not find them [cartoons]," he said. "But if they were ever published, that would be blasphemy, too."

"At least this is how we take it in this country," he said. "I am not commenting on moral standards of the French - this is a concern of theirs - but in this country it is clear blasphemy."

Russia would not take attempts to clear out this situation during contacts with Paris, he said.

"Charlie Hebdo is not an official magazine, its circulation is not high, the magazine causes many questions, and many people would not react to this magazine, many consider being insulted by its publications," he told a reporter in response to a question whether the published cartoons could affect relations between the countries.

"Magazines of the kind are most likely irrelevant in this country’s society, in our country of many nationalities, confessions," he said.

He commented on a sharp reaction to the cartoons from Russian lawmakers by "an absolute emotional and context disapproving of actions of the kind."

The two controversial cartoons devoted to the Russian A321 plane crash in Egypt appeared in the latest edition of Charlie Hebdo magazine. One - in black and white - shows the figure of a bearded man wearing Bedouin clothes and an automatic rifle on his back. The man looks scared; he is half-bent, holding his head in his hands. Plane debris - an engine, landing gear, pieces of the fuselage and a human body are falling from the skies. The caption reads: "Russia is stepping up bombings of the Islamic State. The other cartoon is a human skull complaining about the risks of flying Russia’s low-cost air carriers. "I should’ve flown Air Cocaine," the skull says.

Last January, two French citizens of Arab origin raided the Paris office of the weekly Charlie Hebdo, which had published cartoons showing the Prophet Mohammed, and gunned down twelve people - ten journalists and two police guards - and injured another eleven. The attackers were put on a national wanted list. They were tracked down on January 9 60 kilometers north of Paris and killed in a security sweep.

The head of the Russian Federation Council’s international affairs committee, Konstantin Kosachyov, has slammed as immoral the cartoons French magazine Charlie Hebdo published following last weekend’s Russian A321 passenger liner crash in Egypt.

"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," Kosachyov said on his page in the social network Facebook.

He believes it is very wrong "to try to expand the bounds of the permissible, to break the limits beyond which there lie impermissible indifference to the moral values and to people’s suffering and outright media cynicism."

Kosachyov said he had never had "I’m Charlie Hebdo" feeling, nor will he ever have the urge to say so.

"But I did mourn like everybody else when the magazine’s office was afflicted by misfortune," he said.

Russian Kogalymavia’s A321 plane, en-route from Sharm el-Sheikh to St. Petersburg, crashed in the early morning of October 31 just some 20 minutes after its takeoff. The disaster site is 100 kilometres (62 miles) south of the administrative centre of North Sinai Governorate, the city of Al-Arish.

Flight 9268 carried 217 passengers and seven crewmembers and they were all officially announced dead following the tragic accident. Most passengers were Russian nationals. Among the passengers onboard were also four Ukrainian citizens and one Belarusian national.

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