As Vladimir Putin ends his term of Russian President - only to return in another guise - it seems that the tough-guy of the Kremlin, and former head-honcho of the KGB, has no sense of humour. Cartoons of the man? No way, as The Independent reports in " No laughingmatter: Cartoons and the Kremlin".
"With his easily recognisable features, his omnipresence in every area of Russian politics and foreign policy, and his penchant for withering, snappy one-liners, Vladimir Putin is a cartoonist's dream. At the beginning of his eight-year reign, he was launching a bloody war in Chechnya and promising to "waste" terrorists; as it draws to a close he is denying rumours of secret plans to marry a 24-year-old gymnast, and telling journalists to keep their "snotty noses and erotic fantasies" out of his private life. There's plenty of material for even the most unimaginative cartoonist to have a field day.
There's only one problem for Russian cartoonists, however – they're not allowed to draw him. Mikhail Zlatkovsky is perhaps the most famous cartoonist in Russia, with his sketches appearing daily in Novye Izvestia newspaper and a history of political cartoons and existential artwork dating back to the 1970s. He was the first Russian cartoonist to draw Mikhail Gorbachev, and actively caricatured Boris Yeltsin. He has also drawn Stalin, although the cartoon that he did as a teenager in 1959 took until 1988 to be published."