Russophobia and the Dark Art of Anti-Russian Magazine Covers

Hits: 1181

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.

[wpedon id=”4696″ align=”left”]

neoconned

READ MORE!
Israel: The Nuclear Hegemon That Poses a Potential Threat to Europe
It is calculated that in addition to the secret arsenal of up to 400 nuclear warheads, according to American Scientists, the Israeli state also reportedly possesses chemical and/or biological WMD, making it a dangerous nuclear hegemon that poses a potential threat not only to the Middle East but also to Europe.  Neither France nor Britain nor Germany can equal Israeli state nuclear weaponisation on both land and sea.This calculation is based on the fact that the state of Israel is the only WMD state to refuse to be a party to either the Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC) or the Biological ...
READ MORE
Manchester Terror Act on May 22nd, 2017: Photo Evidence Not Presented on the Mainstream Global Mass-Media (Euronews, CNN, DW, BBC, ABC…)
See photo evidence here: Manchester terror act on 2017-05-22 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. [wpedon id="4696" align="left"] © “Free Media Group” 2017
READ MORE
While Remembering and Commemorating the Armenian Genocide, Let’s Not Forget the Greeks and Assyrians
Armenians and others around the world this month are marking the centennial of the genocide that left hundreds of thousands of Armenians dead early in the last century. The date April 24 is typically picked as the centennial day since it was on that day in 1915 that Turkish authorities rounded up Armenian intellectuals and leaders in Constantinople and murdered them.It was the first step in a much broader slaughter. The Armenian centennial is getting the attention it deserves from sources as diverse as Pope Francis and Kim Kardashian. The Pope courageously used the word “genocide” in a mass this ...
READ MORE
Kosovo’s Potential ‘Unrecognition’
What constitutes water can be scientifically proven beyond any doubt, now what constitutes a nation-state is a far more organic question than it would seem. Each of us is very used to seeing maps with the same countries and lines on it throughout the years and take their existence as a given. But depending on where a map comes from its borders may actually look very different. One of these countries to some and non-countries to others is Kosovo which gradually continues to lose the support of the states that recognized it into existence. Furthermore, this sheds light on how ...
READ MORE
Suddenly Europe is an Open Question – ‘A Nazi EU?’
An establishment pillar of the European ‘order’ – the Frankfurter Allgemeiner newspaper – explicitly touches the ‘live rail’, which is to say, it ran an op-ed last month titled ‘A Nazi EU?’, speculating on whether or not the present EU, dominated by Germany, should be understood as a lineal extension of German National Socialism. This has not before been an issue at all touched upon in mainstream German discourse. That it appears at all signals something important: a recognition that the dissidence being experienced by the EU has its roots in something other than just populist grievance tantrums. It is the resurfacing of ...
READ MORE
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
In 1990, after the fall of the Berlin Wall, U.S. president George H. W. Bush through his secretary of state James Baker promised Soviet premier Mikhail Gorbachev that in exchange for Soviet cooperation on German reunification, the Cold War era NATO alliance would not expand “one inch” eastwards towards Russia. Baker told Gorbachev: “Look, if you remove your [300,000] troops [from east Germany] and allow unification of Germany in NATO, NATO will not expand one inch to the east.” In the following year, the USSR officially dissolved itself. Its own defensive military alliance (commonly known as the Warsaw Pact) had already ...
READ MORE
The American War
I was 23-years-old the first time I was arrested. It was at the Pentagon— an act of civil disobedience in protest of the U.S. war on Vietnam. My boyfriend, Jerry Rubin, and I were organizers for the National Mobilization Committee Against the War (familiarly called The Mobe).Here we call it the Vietnam War. The Vietnamese more accurately call it the American War. After all, the U.S. was the aggressor. It was our troops that landed on their soil; our planes that bombed their cities and sprayed Agent Orange; our army massacred their civilians, women and children included. Not the other ...
READ MORE
A Real Face of the European Union
Preface                 The European Union (the EU) is characterized by a purposeful diffusion of political authority between supranational and intergovernmental institutions. Based on the idea of shared leadership, it relies on a delicate institutional balance guarding declared equality between its ever more diverse members and managing potential and real tensions between the more and less populated states. Such tensions are present in any federal construct and have been a key concern since the ‘original six’ founded the (West) European Coal and Steel Community (the ECSC) in 1951 (the Benelux, West Germany, France, and Italy).The formal facts and official EU’s propaganda about ...
READ MORE
Trump and Palestine
For decades, much of the world seemed to believe the fairy tale that the United States was a neutral broker, working for a solution to the issues plaguing Palestine and Israel. The U.S. sponsored endless rounds of negotiations, ostensibly looking for an end to these issues. Before this writer points out the nonsense of that belief, allow him to state two, self-evident (one would think) truths: (1) No broker is needed. All that is required is for Israel to adhere to international law. This means removing all the illegal settlers, ending the blockade of the Gaza Strip, allowing all Palestinian refugees to ...
READ MORE
The Untold History of U.S. War Crimes
In this exclusive interview, Prof Peter Kuznick speaks of: the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagazaki; US crimes and lies behind the Vietnam war, and what was really behind that inhumane invasion; why the US engaged a Cold War with the Soviet Union, and how that war and the mainstream media influences the world today; the interests behind the assassinations of President Kennedy; US imperialism towards Latin America, during the Cold War and today, under the false premise of War on Terror and War on Drugs.Edu Montesanti: Professor Peter Kuznick, thank you so very much for granting me this interview. In ...
READ MORE
Exporting Jihad: Bosnia and Kosovo
Bosnia and Kosovo are two of the biggest exporters of jihadists joining the Islamic State (ISIS) and al-Nusra Front (al-Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria) from the Balkans. As The Cipher Brief reported last month, legacies of the Communist era and the wars of the 1990s – presence of foreign fighters, economic and physical destruction, a lack of funding to rebuild, and the near eradication of moderate Islamic institutions – paved the way for Islamic extremist groups to establish a foothold in both countries. Now, ISIS recruiters are targeting Bosnia and Kosovo, and many Bosnians and Kosovars have left to fight in Syria and ...
READ MORE
Twenty-Five Years since the USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union has a Promising Future
On December 8, 1991 Russia, Belarus and Ukraine stated that the USSR ceased to exist and signed an agreement on the creation of the CIS. Mikhail Gorbachev, the President of the Soviet Union, resigned on December 25, 1991. The Russian Federation assumed the USSR’s rights and obligations to become the recognized primary legal successor of the Soviet Union. Each post-Soviet state was free to choose its own destiny but the need to cooperate and maintain mutually beneficial close economic ties was evident. The creation of the Eurasian Customs Union was guaranteed by 3 different treaties signed in 1995, 1999 and 2007. The first treaty in 1995 guaranteeing ...
READ MORE
Kiev Regime – A Western Frankenstein Creation
Russian President Vladimir Putin put it succinctly when he recently warned that prospects for peace in Ukraine were negligible as long as the current authorities in Kiev remain in power. Worse, given a new rash of provocations by the Kiev regime, the entire region is being threatened with conflict, and even all-out war.It seems clear – and criminally reprehensible – that the Kiev regime and its President Petro Poroshenko are intent on dragging the United States and the NATO military alliance into a war with Russia. The incendiary conduct of Ukrainian politicians and their military is that of a regime ...
READ MORE
Israel’s Secret Plan for a “Second Israel” in Ukraine
The role of Jewish figures and that of the State of Israel in the Ukrainian crisis has not gone unnoticed considering that this community represents less than 1 percent of the population. However, a secret report in the hands of the Netanyahu administration confirms that Ashkenazi Jews do not originate from the Levant, but are the descendants of the Khazars. This little-known population founded a Jewish empire in the tenth century on the banks of the Black Sea. Therefore, some Zionists see in Ukraine a possible second Israel.The Times of Israel, an independent Israeli newspaper that counts among its staff ...
READ MORE
Building new mosques in Kosovo after the Kosovo War in 1998-1999
Editor:  Little did I know when I posted a short news story about the ‘invasion of Hungary’ last evening that the situation in Kosovo has become untenable and a mass exodus was so advanced.  ‘Pungentpeppers’ has again pulled many threads together to give us the big picture of what is happening in Eastern Europe.  Is the US responsible?  An Austrian political leader says so! Mass exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe ~150,000 or more Kosovars on the move since summer ~Hungarian Police catch 1,000 Kosovars daily – a small fraction of the total ~Hungarian mayor calls for fence as Kosovars overwhelm village ~Austrian politician blames ...
READ MORE
The Great Powers and Global Politics
TerminologyA meaning of the term Great Power(s) (GP) in global politics from the beginning of the 16th century onward refers to the most power and therefore top influential states within the system of the international relations (IR). In other words, the GP are those and only those states who are modelling global politics like Portugal, Spain, Sweden, France, the United Kingdom, united Germany, the USA, the USSR, Russia or China. During the time of the Cold War (1949−1989) there were superpowers[1] as the American and the Soviet administrations refered to their own countries and even a hyperpower state – the ...
READ MORE
US Foreign Policy: Hegemony or Stability, not Both
US foreign policy has for decades been predicated on achieving and maintaining global peace, security and stability. In reality, it has for over a century constituted an overreaching desire to achieve and maintain global hegemony. And where US efforts focus on achieving hegemony, division and destruction follow. From the Middle East to Eastern Europe, and from Southeast Asia to the Korean Peninsula, US intervention politically or militarily all but guarantee escalating tensions, uncertain futures, socioeconomic instability and even armed conflict. The Middle East and North Africa   US efforts in the Middle East since the conclusion of the first World War have focused ...
READ MORE
Amnesty International Publishes a Fabricated Report on Mass Executions in Syria
On Monday, February 8 (2016), the human rights organization Amnesty International published a 48-page report accusing the Syrian government of mass executions and tortures in Saydnaya prison. According to the watchdog, between September 2011 and December 2015, an estimated 5,000 and 13,000 people were extrajudicially executed. The methods used by the report to count the alleged ‘victims’ is quite contradictory. Amnesty International admits it had little direct evidence for its claims. Instead, the report was based on conjectures and the words of former prison detainees and commentators who are linked to the Syrian opposition and have lived outside the country for ...
READ MORE
Does Washington Rule the World?
One of the most disturbing aspects of the past two years of Donald Trump foreign policy has been the assumption that decisions made by the United States are binding on the rest of the world. Apart from time of war, no other nation has ever sought to prevent other nations from trading with each other. And the United States has also uniquely sought to penalize other countries for alleged crimes that did not occur in the US and that did not involve American citizens, while also insisting that all nations must comply with whatever penalties are meted out by Washington.The ...
READ MORE
How Ukraine Turned into An Arms Dealer? Supplying Weapons to Al Qaeda and ISIS-Daesh
The Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP) together with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network revealed a scheme of weapons supply to the terrorists of ISIS and Jabhat al-Nusra.There is no secret that the U.S. provides the so-called moderate opposition and Kurdish militia in Syria with arms and ammunition most of which are the weapons remained after the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact disbanded.The U.S. DOD, through U.S. SOCOM, MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, as well as Picatinny Arsenal, American military research, and manufacturing facility located in Dover, New Jersey, acquired arms in some Eastern European countries including Ukraine for their further ...
READ MORE
Israel: The Nuclear Hegemon That Poses a Potential Threat to Europe
Manchester Terror Act on May 22nd, 2017: Photo Evidence Not Presented on the Mainstream Global Mass-Media (Euronews, CNN, DW, BBC, ABC…)
While Remembering and Commemorating the Armenian Genocide, Let’s Not Forget the Greeks and Assyrians
Kosovo’s Potential ‘Unrecognition’
Suddenly Europe is an Open Question – ‘A Nazi EU?’
NATO: Seeking Russia’s Destruction Since 1949
The American War
A Real Face of the European Union
Trump and Palestine
The Untold History of U.S. War Crimes
Exporting Jihad: Bosnia and Kosovo
Twenty-Five Years since the USSR Collapse: The Eurasian Economic Union has a Promising Future
Kiev Regime – A Western Frankenstein Creation
Israel’s Secret Plan for a “Second Israel” in Ukraine
Mass Exodus from Muslim Kosovo into Europe: Did US Play a Role in Creating the Crisis?
The Great Powers and Global Politics
US Foreign Policy: Hegemony or Stability, not Both
Amnesty International Publishes a Fabricated Report on Mass Executions in Syria
Does Washington Rule the World?
How Ukraine Turned into An Arms Dealer? Supplying Weapons to Al Qaeda and ISIS-Daesh

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