Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers

Hits: 781

Chances are, if a story about Russia appears on the cover of a major Western magazine, it’s not good news. Most likely, there’s been an international scandal, a breakout of geopolitical tensions, the resumption of Cold War hostilities, or some nefarious Russian plot to bring the entire free world to its knees.

Russophobia — or the unnatural fear of Russia — generally leads magazine editors to choose the most over-the-top images to convey Russia as a backwards, clumsy, non-Western and aggressively malevolent power. Unfortunately, that’s led to a few rules of thumb for anyone trying to create a magazine cover featuring Russia. You can think of these rules as the dark art of making an anti-Russian magazine cover:

OPTION 1: Go with the Russian bear

This is a no-brainer, actually, and pretty much the default option for any magazine editor. The symbol of the Russian bear is universally understood to be the symbol of Russia, so it’s an immediate attention-grabber that readers will grasp quickly. After all, for centuries, Western satirists have used the Russian bear as a symbol of imperial aggression.

Given the latest round of U.S.-Russian tensions over the Ukraine crisis, the key is to make the Russian bear look as scary as possible. Take the May/June 2016 cover from Foreign Affairs, for example:

The cover title seems relatively harmless — “Putin’s Russia: Down But Not Out.” But check out the image of the bear — it’s bloodied and still relatively menacing, despite being bruised and battered — check out the red, bloodshot eyes and the sharp claws. Definitely not someone you’d want to mess with, even after a few shots of vodka.

And Foreign Affairs is not the only magazine to go the full bear with the cover. Ahead of the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014, Bloomberg BusinessWeek went with what has to be the scariest, most menacing Russia bear that’s ever appeared on the cover of a magazine. The magazine shows a malevolent bear on a pair of skis wearing a Russian hockey jersey, armed to the teeth (literally), with the headline: “Is Russia Ready?”

This Olympic cover immediately calls to mind a cover story TIME ran on Russia (then the Soviet Union) ahead of the 1984 Los Angeles Summer Olympics — “Olympic Turmoil: Why the Soviets Said Nyet.” Here you have a menacing (and slightly psychotic-looking) Russian bear chewing on the Olympic rings:

There are other options, of course, if you don’t want to go with the anthropomorphic bear. In late 2014, The Economist pulled off a story about “Russia’s Wounded Economy” after Western sanctions and falling oil prices — it showed a bear stalking through the wintry, Siberian snow with bloody footprints:

But you probably want to emphasize either the claws or teeth of the Russian bear, right? So here’s a terrifying image of a Russian bear “welcoming” U.S. President Barack Obama to Moscow:

OPTION 2: Go with Vladimir Putin

The next best choice after using the Russian bear is the image of Vladimir Putin. After all, in the minds of most Western readers, Putin is Russia and Russia is Putin.

If you’re ready to head down this road, then an image of an evil James Bond villain, hatching a diabolical plot to take over the world, might work. This 2014 Newsweek cover of Putin, showing him and the menacing sunglasses, is a classic:

To play up the Soviet spy background of Putin, you could try using an image of him wearing sunglasses in a grim-looking Red Square (Gray Square!):

A variant of the James Bond villain look is the classic “moody Putin” look that’s been around for almost a decade. This image somehow captures the Western perception of Russia as a vast, unsmiling wasteland full of snow, ice and a vast moral void. Who better to run that country than an unsmiling dictator? What started it all was this TIME magazine cover naming Putin as “Person of the Year”:

From there, the moody, unsmiling Putin image took off. Pull your camera angle back from the close-up of Putin’s face and you get this — “the unsmiling tsar”:

Which, of course, led to the cover of this 2015 book by Steven Lee Myers of the New York Times:

Of course, the moody, unsmiling, sour-looking Putin can be updated to make him look like a gangster:

Or a Mario Puzo-style mafia don:

If you really want to grab the reader’s attention, though, go for the shirtless Putin. The shirtless Vladimir Putin is a classic Internet meme, of course. (Google: Shirtless Putin hummingbird hamster) The meme of a shirtless Putin doing manly things is so popular that “The Simpsons” even used the image of a completely naked Putin on horseback (bareback?) around the time of the Crimea crisis:

Look long enough, and you start to see images of shirtless Vladimir Putins Photoshopped on top of everything. So it’s perhaps no big surprise that the shirtless Vladimir Putin has ended up on the cover of a few major magazines, including this classic Economist cover where he’s shirtless on top of a Russian tank:

And shirtless while playing poker:

But, if you want an image of Putin, and you also want to keep things classy, how about a mashup of Putin and a classic symbol of Russian culture, like ballet or ice skating? In 2014, The New Yorker pulled off a cover of Putin, pirouetting through the air during the Sochi Winter Olympics, while a bunch of Putin yes-man clones give him top marks for his performance:

And, here’s another cover featuring Putin as an ice skater, this time from The Economist:

But here’s the twist — note the fallen Russian figure skater on the ice and the suggestion that the Sochi Olympics were basically a giant personal ego project for Putin. (Also note the subtext of the imagery — whereas Putin usually opts for “macho” sports like hunting, swimming and hockey, this cover shows him as a slightly effeminate ice skater. Look at the hands!!!)

OPTION 3: Go with a classic image of Russia, slightly twisted

If you’re tired of using the Russian bear image and you’re concerned that putting Vladimir Putin on the cover of your magazine might create a few unsavory possibilities for your editorial team (Russian spies! Russian mafia! Russian hooligans!), there’s the old standby — the matryoshka image. This, of course, conveys the enigmatic nature of Russia — the old “riddle inside an enigma wrapped in a mystery” of Winston Churchill:

But why stop there? To convey the threatening nature of all things Russia, maybe it’s just easier just to come out and show the Russian missiles, tanks, weapons and troops directly:

What all these magazine covers have in common, of course, is their Russophobia. These magazine covers are not so much different from the images that appeared a hundred years ago, when Russia really was an enigma unknown to the West. In fact, the image of Russia as a big, clumsy and aggressive state dates all the way back to the 16th century, and not much seems to have changed since then.

There’s always been a sense in Western media circles that a giant power in the middle of the Eurasian landmass posed a threat to someone — and maybe to everyone:

Although, in all fairness, the image of the Russian bear is probably preferable to the image of the Russian octopus:

Which leads to the obvious question — Are these images of Russia from 100 years ago really so much different from the images appearing today in Western mass media?

At a time when the Kremlin has called on the Culture Ministry to investigate anti-Russian propaganda and Russophobia in the West, this question isn’t very hard to answer.


Originally published on 2016-07-10

Author: Dominic Basulto

Soutce: Medium

Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement!

Donate to Support Us

We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.

neoconned

READ MORE!
The Basic Guidelines Through the Kosovo Question
The Kosovo Question recently once again became an important issue of global politics and international relations for two reasons: 1) The Albanian “government” of the “Republic of Kosovo” announced to officially proclaim the existence of the Kosovo Army (that is a violation of the 1244 UN Resolution in 1999), and 2) The “president” of the “Republic of Kosovo”, a war criminal Hashim Tachi, participated on November 11th (2018) in Paris to the world leaders’ celebration of a centenary anniversary of the end of the WWI (the signed armistice with Germany) as the official representative of an “independent” Kosovo. He was ...
READ MORE
US Switching to Ukraine as Location to Start World War III Against Russia
The United States Government is now treating Ukraine as if it were a NATO member, and on September 27th donated to Ukraine two warships for use against Russia. This is the latest indication that the US is switching to Ukraine as the locale to start World War III, and from which the nuclear war is to be sparked against Russia, which borders Ukraine. Here is why Syria is no longer the US alliance’s preferred choice as a place to start WW III: On September 4th, US President Donald Trump publicly threatened Syria, Iran and Russia that if they exterminated the jihadists in Syria’s only remaining jihadist-controlled ...
READ MORE
Origins of the American Empire
Russia, Oil and Revolution By the 1870s, John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Empire had a virtual monopoly over the United States, and even many foreign countries. In 1890, the King of Holland gave his blessing for the creation of an international oil company called Royal Dutch Oil Company, which was mainly founded to refine and sell kerosene from Indonesia, a Dutch colony. Also in 1890, a British company was founded with the intended purpose of shipping oil, the Shell Transport and Trading Company, and it “began transporting Royal Dutch oil from Sumatra to destinations everywhere,” and eventually, “the two companies merged ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: Honoring Nazis and the SS
UN negotiator on Kosovo Martti Ahtisaari wanted to honor and commemorate Finnish Nazi SS troops in 1999 when he was the President of Finland. He wanted to have the Finnish taxpayers and the Finnish government fund and finance the construction of a plaque in the Ukraine to commemorate the deaths of Finnish Nazi SS troops killed during Operation Barbarossa. Ahtisaari is not, alone, however, in seeking to honor and celebrate the legacy of Nazis and the SS. Kosovo: German recruitment of Albanians for the SS Nazi Skanderbeg Division Kosovo Albanians have similarly honored and commemorated the legacy of Nazis and the SS. ...
READ MORE
Shame on You, USA
The United States has spent hundreds of billions on unnecessary wars, but only the UN relief agency for the Palestinians is improperly run September 02, 2018 “Information Clearing House” –  Now it’s out in the open: America has declared war on the Palestinians. With his son-in-law Jared Kushner, an expert on humanitarian organizations and Palestinian refugees, the great bully Donald Trump decided to end aid to the UN agency that aids Palestinian refugees. The official explanation: The business model and fiscal practices of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency made it an “irredeemably flawed operation.” Trump and his son-in-law, the keepers of the seal of good government, ...
READ MORE
Tsarist Russia and the Balkans: A Brief Overview
The Balkan Peninsula, together with the region of South-East Europe, historically has been one of the most important focal points of Russian foreign policy, cultural influences and attempts to spread an ideology of the Orthodox solidarity and the Slavic reciprocity.[1] These ideas are common to almost all trends of Russian public life in the past and very much today too. After Russia lost the Great Crimean War of 1853–1856 she intensified its cultural influence in the region of South-East Europe for the purposes of beating Habsburg (Roman-Catholic) rivalry and to spread an idea of the Pan-Slavism in this part of Europe.[2] ...
READ MORE
What’s Behind Time Magazine’s Putin Demonizing?
“Russia Wants to Undermine Faith in the U.S. Election. Don’t Fall For It.” Thus reads the cover ofTime magazine with a photo of Vladimir Putin on the cover staring at me from shelves as I sit in an airport. Genuinely curious, I check out Massimo Calabresi’s article online. Of course, U.S. elections are almost completely unverifiable and do not even pretend to meet international standards. Jimmy Carter doesn’t even try to monitor them because there’s no way to do it. Much voting is done on machines that simply must be trusted on faith. Whether they accurately count the votes entered is ...
READ MORE
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
Just as the Republican convention demonized Hillary (“Lock Her Up”), so the Democrats are demonizing Donald Trump. They refuse to support any policy that he backs, even when he says something progressive. One might think that at least Bernie’s supporters would applaud Trump’s left-wing transformation of the old conservative, pro-corporate neocon Cheney-Bush core of the Republican Party. But nobody had a single good word to say about Trump’s assertions that he would wind down confrontation with Russia, reduce military spending on the grounds that NATO is obsolete, and oppose the TPP and TTIP as well as rewrite NAFTA’s terms. The Democrats are ...
READ MORE
What About Apologizing to Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?
Yesterday’s leak of the flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt has already hit the international media headlines. In short, it turned out that the US officials were coordinating their actions on how to install a puppet government in Ukraine. In this flagrant telephone talk between the US Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the US Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey R. Pyatt agreed to nominate Bat’kyvshchina Party leader Arseniy Yatseniuk as Deputy Prime Minister, to bench Udar Party leader Vitaly Klitschko off the game for a ...
READ MORE
Americans are no Different than Germans were (and are)
Daniel Goldhagen blamed the Holocaust on «the Germans» (by which he meant the German people), and said that they perpetrated the Holocaust because they positively enjoyed murdering «the Jews». But, as has long been well understood by historians (except when they fail to point to it as being a disproof of Goldhagen’s bigoted and indefensible anti-German thesis), Hitler had to work long and hard in order to bring about a consensus, first amongst his own leadership group, and then in the population as a whole, favoring the extermination-option. Hitler, Der Fuehrer, «The Leader», clearly was the catalyst turning the chemical ...
READ MORE
America’s “Long War” Against Humanity
America’s hegemonic project in the post 9/11 era is the “Globalization of War” whereby the U.S.-NATO  military machine –coupled with covert intelligence operations, economic sanctions and the thrust of “regime change”— is deployed in all major regions of the world.  The threat of pre-emptive nuclear war is also used to black-mail countries into submission. This “Long War against Humanity” is carried out at the height of the most serious economic crisis in modern history. It is intimately related to a process of global financial restructuring, which has resulted in the collapse of national economies and the impoverishment of large sectors of ...
READ MORE
Kosovo: An Evil Little War
Six Years Later, Kosovo Still Wrong In the early hours of March 24, 1999, NATO began the bombing of what was then the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. For some reason, many in the targeted nation thought the name of the operation was “Merciful Angel.” In fact, the attack was code-named “Allied Force” – a cold, uninspired and perfectly descriptive moniker. For, however much NATO spokesmen and the cheerleading press spun, lied, and fabricated to show otherwise (unfortunately, with altogether too much success), there was nothing noble in NATO’s aims. It attacked Yugoslavia for the same reason then-Emperor Bill Clinton enjoyed a ...
READ MORE
Shocking UN Report Lists Crimes by the Ukrainian Authorities
The 13th report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on the human rights situation in Ukraine between 16 November 2015 and 15 February 2016, when the Minsk Agreements were in force, has come as a shock to Kiev. According to the UN, more than three million people live in the areas directly affected by the conflict. The exact number of people who have left Ukraine-controlled territory is still unknown, although rough estimates range from 800,000 to 1,000,000 people. The Ukrainian government has estimated that more than a million people have left southeast Ukraine for Russia, Belarus and Europe. This ...
READ MORE
Europe’s Forgotten ‘Hitler’ Killed over 10 Million Africans
Most people have no idea of who is pictured above, but you should. The sight of this man should cause a similar revulsion to that of seeing Mussolini, Mao, Stalin or Hitler, as he committed an African genocide that resulted in the killing of over 10 million people in the Congo. His name is King Leopold II of Belgium. Most of the people never learned about him in school, and have also most likely never heard about him in the media either. This is because he’s not included in the popular narrative of oppression (which includes things like U.S. slavery and the ...
READ MORE
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan’s security agencies which nurtured the Afghan so-called “mujahideen” (freedom fighters) on the behest of Washington.Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the rest of oil-rich Gulf states which generously funded the jihadists to promote their Wahhabi-Salafi ideology. And last but not the least, the Western capitals which funded, provided weapons and internationally legitimized the erstwhile ‘freedom fighters’ to use them against a competing ideology, global communism, which posed a ...
READ MORE
Russia’s Message to the Mushroom
A NATO warmonger President of Lithuania, Dalia Grybauskaite (her surname means a mushroom in the English) is observing Russia's "aggressors" and "cannibals" Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
Did You Know: 9/11 & Larry Silverstein
Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a small donation to help our team keep working. We accept no advertising and rely only on you, our readers, to keep us digging the truth on history, global politics and international relations.
READ MORE
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
Syria is being bombed as part of a “counter-terrorism campaign” allegedly against the Islamic State, an elusive “outside enemy” based in Raqqa, Northern Syria. While the ISIL is said to be “threatening the Western World”, the evidence confirms that the Islamic State is supported and financed by the Western military alliance, together with Turkey, Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states.  Amply documented, Al Qaeda and its various affiliates including the Islamic State Caliphate Project are creations of Western intelligence.  Moreover, whatever the justification, the bombing of a sovereign country is an illegal and criminal act under international law. It constitutes a war of ...
READ MORE
The Crimean Tatar Card is Being Played Again
The Crimean Tatar writer and artist Diana Kadi recently wrote an open letter to Angela Merkel: “I am the author of a novel about the Crimea. Since an information war is being waged of such intensity that propaganda and lies have become the norm, I believe that it is important for me to set forth my views on the subject of the Crimea. Ukrainian politicians claim that Russia is the aggressor and that Crimean Tatars are oppressed, but that is simply untrue. My people have once again become an instrument of political manipulation. The alleged oppression of the Crimean Tatars is ...
READ MORE
Photo Story: Muslim Albanian Islamic State of Kosovostan est. 1999
Photo evidence of Jihadization of Kosovo & Metochia by Muslim Albanians from June 1999 onward. Kosovo after June 1999 when became occupied by NATO troops became the first world's ISIS/ISIL. The EuroChristian culture of the ethnic Serbs is systematically destroyed like today in the Middle East for the reason to create pure Islamic state. At the same time Kosovo & Metochia is becoming overwhelmingly Islamized with ethnic cleansing of all non-Albanians especially of the Christian Serbs. Origins of images: Facebook, Twitter, Wikimedia, Wikipedia, Flickr, Google, Imageinjection & Pinterest. Read our Disclaimer/Legal Statement! Donate to Support Us We would like to ask you to consider a ...
READ MORE
The Basic Guidelines Through the Kosovo Question
US Switching to Ukraine as Location to Start World War III Against Russia
Origins of the American Empire
Kosovo: Honoring Nazis and the SS
Shame on You, USA
Tsarist Russia and the Balkans: A Brief Overview
What’s Behind Time Magazine’s Putin Demonizing?
As the Election Turns: Trump the Anti-Neocon, Hillary the New Darling of the Neocons
What About Apologizing to Ukraine, Mrs. Nuland?
Americans are no Different than Germans were (and are)
America’s “Long War” Against Humanity
Kosovo: An Evil Little War
Shocking UN Report Lists Crimes by the Ukrainian Authorities
Europe’s Forgotten ‘Hitler’ Killed over 10 Million Africans
CIA Was Aiding “Jihadists” before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan
Russia’s Message to the Mushroom
Did You Know: 9/11 & Larry Silverstein
The Criminalization of Parliamentary Democracy
The Crimean Tatar Card is Being Played Again
Photo Story: Muslim Albanian Islamic State of Kosovostan est. 1999
Policraticus

Written by Policraticus

SHORT LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The website’s owner & editor-in-chief has no official position on any issue published at this website. The views of the authors presented at this website do not necessarily coincide with the opinion of the owner & editor-in-chief of the website. The contents of all material (articles, books, photos, videos…) are of sole responsibility of the authors. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the contents of all material found on this website. The owner & editor-in-chief of this website is not responsible for the content of external internet sites. No advertising, government or corporate funding for the functioning of this website. The owner & editor-in-chief and authors are not morally, scientifically or legally responsible for any inaccurate or incorrect statement in the text and material found on the website www.global-politics.eu

Website: http://www.global-politics.eu