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Russia slams Charlie Hebdo cartoons mocking plane crash as 'sacrilege'

French satirical cartoons depicting the Sinai plane crash have drawn fierce criticism from Russians. One official even went so far as to call them "sacrilege."

A Kremlin spokesman on Friday condemned the cartoons, published in the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which made light of the recent plane crash in Egypt that killed all 224 people on board, most of them Russian.

"In our country we can sum this up in a single word - sacrilege," Dmitry Peskov told reporters, according to AFP news agency.

"This has nothing to do with demcoracy or self-expression," he added.

One cartoon depicts a skull surrounded by debris and body parts, as the wreckage of the plane smolders in the background. A caption reads: "The dangers of Russian low-cost airlines." The second cartoon shows a passenger and debris from the plane falling through the air, as a caricature of a jihadist ducks for cover underneath. The cartoon is titled: "Daesh: Russian aviation intensifies bombardments." Daesh is an alternative term for IS that has become increasingly used in France.

Backlash on Social Media

Other politicians in the country have lashed out at the magazine as well, while ordinary Russians have taken to social media to express their outrage.

Some took to the Twitter to post comments with the hastag "I'm not Charlie" - a reference to the "Je Suis Charlie" hastag that went viral after a brutal attack in January that left 11 people dead at the satirical newspaper's Paris office.

Meanwhile, the cartoons have ignited a social media debate outside Russia as well.

This isn't the first time the newspaper has been critized in recent months for its extreme brand of satirical humor. In September, editors came under fire for publishing cartoons that some said mocked the death of Aylan Kurdi, a child who drowned while trying to reach Europe.

blc/rc (AFP, AP)

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