The Russian embassy in Switzerland sent a legal threat to a Swiss newspaper after the outlet published a caricature of President Vladimir Putin wearing a clown nose and rainbow streaks across his face, according to reports.
The embassy’s press service, in a letter posted to its website Saturday, condemned the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung for publishing the image in a July 9 article about the role of memes and digital messaging in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to the Washington Post.
The article, titled “Between Superheroes and Villains: The Power of Memes in the Ukraine War,” shows Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky depicted in a Captain America-like suit with Ukrainian colors and symbols while Putin is next to him in a clown nose and rainbow makeup.
“If we are speaking about clownery, it would be much more appropriate to touch on this topic in the context of the recent past of the former Ukrainian comedian V. Zelensky,” the embassy said in its letter.
According to the Swiss news outlet Swissinfo, “in a letter to NZZ editor Eric Gujer published on Saturday on the Russian Embassy in Switzerland’s press service website, it said it was “outraged” by publication of an “insulting caricature of the President of the Russian Federation” and reserved the right to take legal action for defamation and slander.”
“We believe that freedom of expression is in no way compatible with the freedom to disseminate insults and fakes,” the Russian embassy reportedly wrote.
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