Putin the Terrible

Ivan the Terrible and son - Repin - Wikimedia Public Domain
Ivan the Terrible and son – Repin – Wikimedia Public Domain

Above is a famous painting by Ilya Repin (1844-1930) of ‘Ivan the Terrible and his Son’. The painter, one of Russia’s greatest artists, depicted the scene after the historian Nikolai Karamzin, who described how in 1581 the Tsar had hit his own son in terrible anger leading to his later death from his wounds. The painting can be seen in Moscow’s Tretyakov Gallery, as I once did.

This caricature below by Greser & Lenz, shown in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung on 26 March 2022, of ‘Tsar Vladimir’ holding his heavily bleeding Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu is a brilliant variation on Repin’s painting.

‘Tsar Vladimir’ by Greser & Lenz in F.A.Z. – Source: Permission from Greser & Lenz

This is an apt commentary on Putin’s war against Ukraine. Thousands of Russian soldiers, badly deceived by their commanders, have faced fierce resistance of heroic Ukrainian fighters. The first phase of Putin’s aggression has resulted not only in thousands of civilians killed and hundreds of thousands of refugees, but also in thousands of Russian soldiers killed, including several commanders.

We don’t know for how long the bloodshed will continue, but this phase of the war should be a grim reminder for history-conscious Russians!

Ed: West England Bylines would like to thank Greser & Lenz and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung for permission to reproduce their artwork.

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