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After a Swiss newspaper published a 'Putin clown meme,' the Russian embassy threatened the paper

They are not being silly.

Reports say that the Russian embassy in Switzerland sent a legal threat to a Swiss newspaper after the paper printed a cartoon of President Vladimir Putin with a clown nose and rainbow stripes on his face.

Russian embassy threatens Swiss newspaper for Putin clown meme
A Swiss newspaper was threatened by the country's Russian embassy after it published an image of Vladimir Putin as a clown.

In a letter posted to its website on Saturday, the embassy's press service criticized the newspaper Neue Zürcher Zeitung for using the image in an article on July 9 about the role of memes and digital messaging in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, which was written about the role of memes and digital messaging, according to the Washington Post.

In the article "Between Superheroes and Villains: The Power of Memes in the Ukraine War," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is shown in a Captain America-like suit with Ukrainian colors and symbols, and Putin is shown next to him with a clown nose and rainbow makeup.

They argued that the use of a rainbow went against Putin's Russian Orthodox beleifs.
One of the embassy’s arguments against the image was the association between Putin and the LGBTQ community.
AFP via Getty Images

“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 Swissinfo, the "extremely outraged" embassy also said, "We believe that freedom of expression is in no way compatible with the freedom to spread insults and fakes."

The Swiss news organization said that the picture of Putin was first posted on Twitter.

Russia also didn't like the rainbow colors that were connected to Putin because they seemed to be linked to the LGBTQ community.

The embassy told the Washington Post that Putin "is a deeply religious Orthodox person who wants to keep traditional Christian values in Russian society (and he's not a fan of the LGBT community)."


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