April 25, 2016 Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1243

Anti-U.S. Cartoons In Russia's Pro-Kremlin Media

April 25, 2016 | By Elena Voinova*
Russia | Inquiry & Analysis Series No. 1243


Political cartoons can currently be found in only a few independent media outlets, such as and, and in some pro-Kremlin websites and newspapers, such as RIA Novosti,[1] Sputnik International,[2] and Sharzh I Pero. The main motif in cartoons on pro-Kremlin websites is the latent Russia-U.S. political-military conflict, and NATO as a U.S. tool for military expansion eastward.

The government-owned news agency RIA Novosti and its international branch Sputnik International publish cartoons by Russian cartoonist Vitaly Podvitsky,[3] who became well-known to the public in 2014 after he released a series of pro-Kremlin cartoons on the annexation of Crimea.[4] The pro-Kremlin free-of-charge magazine Sharzh I Pero ("Caricature and Pen") features cartoons by members of the Russian and Moscow Union of Artists. The publication, defined as the Russian answer to the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo"[5] was launched in 2015 by a group of pro-Kremlin activists from the Russian veterans' Combat Brotherhood, which belongs to Russia's Anti-Maidan movement.[6]

Following are political cartoons expressing opposition to the U.S.'s Russia policy, that were published by RIA Novosti, Sputnik International, and Sharzh I Pero:[7]

The U.S. Is Enforcing Its Policy, Luring Other Countries Into A Trap

Vitaly Podvitsky,, February 29, 2016.

The cartoon above shows the U.S. pressuring NATO countries and preventing them from acting on their own. The NATO official is holding a booklet with the Danish flag on its cover. On March 2015, Russian Ambassador to Denmark Mikhail Vanin said that Danish warships may become targets for Russian nuclear missiles if Denmark decided to join the NATO missile defense shield.[8]

Vitaly Podvitsky,, March 9, 2016.

This cartoon shows the NATO official holding a jar of bullet-shaped "NATO vitamins" and telling Europe: "It's for your own wellbeing!" Meanwhile, the U.S. is force-feeding a frumpy Europe tied to a chair with the vitamins - as it conceals its ulterior motive: deploying the Patriot missile system in Europe.

On gun: "NATO"; on grip: "U.S.", April 4, 2016.

NATO generals in the six-shooter's chambers discuss problems but are merely tools for the U.S. The cartoon was published on April 4, 2016, NATO's anniversary and the day of NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to the U.S.

"Information wars go like... Just trust us, it's all for your own 'good.', undated

In a cartoon modeled after the long-running Western "Love Is..." comic strip, which is also popular in Russia, a girl representing Ukraine, in dress with yellow and blue trim, and another representing Georgia, in white with crosses, stand at a crossroads and have to choose to go towards Russia or the European Union. The U.S. - a child representing U.S. President Barack Obama - offers sweets to lure the two countries onto a tightrope to join the West and abandon Russia, saying that it's for their own good. Behind his back, however, Obama holds the Patriot missile system. Ukraine appears hypnotized by the U.S., whereas Georgia follows Ukraine but looks longingly at Russia. The U.S., by promoting the "color revolutions" in Georgia and Ukraine, and Euromaidan,[9] is, according to the cartoon, taking them to certain death and destruction by fire.

The U.S. Cannot Keep Up With Russia's Military Technology, And Is Acting Unreasonably

Vitaly Podvitsky,, March 3, 2016.

The cartoon above shows American engineers amazed at the sheer size of future Russian aircraft, next to a nearly defunct F-35 fighter jet. On March 2, 2016, Russian Aerospace Forces commander Viktor Bondarev said that Russia's sixth-generation fighter is being developed in both manned and unmanned versions.[10]

Vitaly Podvitsky,, March 3, 2016.

According to this cartoon, military officials from the Pentagon can't catch up to the Russian aircraft because they focus mostly on paperwork.

The U.S Wants Only War

Vitaly Podvitsky, March 17, 2016.

The U.S. plans to take over the entire world, but its military officials have no idea how to achieve this. This cartoon was published the day after Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley voiced "grave concerns" at a March 16 House Armed Services Committee regarding his forces' readiness if they found themselves at war with Russia, China, Iran, or North Korea.[11]

"Information war is... when 'barbaric' Russia refuses to preach the values of the 'civilized' West.", undated.

An "Information war is..." cartoon shows the U.S. bombing civilians while claiming that it is for a good cause, as Russia shields them.

The U.S. Loves To Demonize Russia

On "Pentagon TV": "The second before the invasion, Episode 125." Vitaly Podvitsky, March 18, 2016.

The above cartoon shows the Pentagon frightening Americans by constantly reiterating to them that Russia is going to attack the U.S. This cartoon was published the day after U.S. Defense Secretary Ashton Carter, at a March 17, 2016 U.S. Senate hearing devoted to the U.S. military budget, called Russia, China, North Korea, Iran, and terrorism the five evolving strategic challenges driving the U.S. Department of Defense's planning and budgeting.[12]

"Information war is... when you are told that Russia is an aggressor striving to revive the USSR, the Cold War, and the 'Evil Empire' era." Russia: "Seriously?", undated.

The angelic U.S. imagines Russia as an evil aggressor from the Soviet era - but Russia disagrees.

* Elena Voinova is a researcher at MEMRI.


[1] RIA Novosti ( is a state-operated domestic Russian-language news agency, owned by the Rossiya Segodnya government agency.

[2] Sputnik International ( is an international multimedia service launched by governmental agency Rossiya Segodnya.


[4] See:


[6] The Anti-Maidan movement is a public organization comprising of representatives from the Russian veterans' organization Combat Brotherhood, the Council of Veterans of Afghanistan, and the Cossacks and Night Wolves motorcycle clubs. The movement was created as an answer to Euromaidan in Ukraine. The main goal of the movement is to prevent color revolutions in Russia or in any other former Soviet republic.

[7] See MEMRI Special Dispatch No. 6261, Anti-American Cartoons In Russian Media On U.S. Foreign Policy, War On Terror, January 13, 2016.

[8], March 21, 2015.

[9] Euromaidan is the name for the wave of civil unrest in Ukraine that began in November 2013.

[10], March 2, 2016.

[11], March 16, 2016.

[12], March 17, 2016.

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