Cartoon fail: The Economist makes fun of Putin, but doesn't know what Ukraine's leader looks like
In a cartoon satirizing the latest round of Ukrainian peace talks, acclaimed Economist cartoonist Kevin ‘KAL’ Kallaugher apparently put so much effort into crafting a ‘Brutal Putin’ image that he merged the Ukrainian and Belarusian leaders into one.
Kallaugher made a ceasefire handshake the focal point of the cartoon. Putin points a Kalashnikov with an hand outstretched from the barrel—past Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Francois Hollande—to… well, the fourth person is a man wearing a hat marked ‘Ukraine.’
However, the man, who sports an impressive moustache and a pronounced profile, can’t exactly pass for Ukraine’s clean-shaven President Petro Poroshenko.
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) February 14, 2015
In fact, he cannot be a Ukrainian president at all, as not one of Ukraine’s previous leaders ever wore a moustache, except perhaps former acting president Aleksandr Turchinov, but that was more an extension of his scruffy beard.
The president of Belarus, Aleksandr Lukashenko, however, does have both an aquiline profile and moustache, just as depicted by Kallaugher.
The Economists’ readers were not quite impressed, especially after the UK magazine tweeted the cartoon.
One commenter wrote under the cartoon “I suggest the artist goes back to review the photos of the Belarusian and Ukrainian presidents. He placed the Ukrainian hat on top of the head of the Belarusian President. Big mistake!”
@TheEconomist Erm... Poroshenko doesn't have moustache. Artistic licence?
— Alexander Smotrov (@aleksmot) February 14, 2015
— Paul Sonne (@PaulSonne) February 14, 2015
The four members of the Normandy Format talks on Ukraine came together in Mink on Thursday for 16 hours of marathon peace talks, seeking a solution to the crisis in the east of the country. The group announced a ceasefire which is to go into effect on Sunday. Though Lukashenko was the host of the negotiations he is not an official member of the contact group.
Cartoonist KAL has been with the Economist for 35 years and announced on Twitter last night that he won the European Grand Prix Press Cartoon for best cartoon of 2014.
I am delighted to announce that I have won a prize for cartoon of the year in Europe in 2014. http://t.co/mgDT5poE75
— Kevin Kal Kallaugher (@kaltoons) February 13, 2015
Though no media outlet, especially a 24-hour one, can boast an absence of awkward blunders in their history, the slip-ups are, sometimes, particularly memorable. Earlier this week, repeat offender CNN labelled Ukrainian forces in Ukraine’s southeast “pro-US troops,” causing a social media frenzy.