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“Putin Torches Ukraine”

Rick McKee, Feb. 20, 2014

This cartoon shows Putin‟s treatment towards Ukraine and thoughts about Ukraine‟s
freedom. Since this was made during the winter Olympics, Putin is shown wearing an Olympic
uniform labeled, “PUTIN.” He is holding the Olympic torch and burning a sign next to him.
The sign, which is held by a man, says, “FREEDOM FOR UKRAINE.”
The situation depicted in this cartoon is Ukraine‟s attempts to gain full freedom from
Russian control. They are hindered by Russia‟s control over Crimea, as well as Putin‟s power
over the nation as a whole. By showing Putin sneakily attempting to burn the sign, McKee
shows that Russia is trying to sneakily control Ukraine, and take away their freedom. The man
holding the sign notices what Putin is doing, but doesn‟t seem to be making any sort of attempt
to stop him. This shows that McKee thinks that even though Ukraine wants freedom from
Russia, they aren‟t really trying to stop Russia. I agree with his opinion, and think that Ukraine
should do more in order to gain independence from Russia.
This cartoon evokes disturbance in the viewer. I think that it evokes disturbance because
Putin seems to simply be getting away with burning the sign--or taking Ukraine‟s freedom.
Also, Ukraine is helplessly watching their freedom be burned, and is not making any attempt to
stop Putin. The cartoonist, McKee shows Putin as an angry, firm man. He exaggerates his jaw,
nose, and ears to make him appear more menacing. McKee shows the Ukrainian with a big head
and little eyes. This portrays Ukraine as unintelligent and childish. Overall, McKee shows that
he believes Putin is getting away with taking Ukraine‟s freedom, and no one is trying to stop

“Russia and Ukraine Conflict”
Stavro Jabra, April 15, 2014

This cartoon shows Russia‟s control over Ukraine, and how easily it has been able to gain
this control. The cartoon shows a doorframe surrounded by pieces of a broken wall. The door is
blue and yellow, and is labeled “UKRAINE.” The doorway leads to a path that continues to the
edge of the picture. The door has been kicked open by a large bear, holding a missile, labeled as
“RUSSIA.” The top corner of the picture says, “RUSSIA AND UKRAINE CONFLICT.”
The destroyed wall and unmanned “door to Ukraine” shows that Ukraine is not making
any sort of effort to protect itself from Russia. Russia is portrayed as a large, mean-looking bear.
The missile-wielding bear of Russia is shown to be much stronger than that of Ukraine, and is
shown to be easily entering and taking over Ukraine. The title in the top right corner helps to
elaborate on the cartoonist‟s opinion about this topic. The word “conflict,” and the depictions in
the cartoon seem to contradict each other, as Ukraine is not doing anything to stop Russia.
This shows that Jabra thinks that Russia is taking over Ukraine without difficulty, and
without any creation of conflict from Ukraine. I agree that Russia has been too easily able to
gain control of Ukraine. Jabra provokes the viewer, and effectively shows Ukraines inactivity
against Russia‟s forces.

Julius Hansen, Feb. 24, 2014

This cartoon portrays Putin‟s plans for Ukraine. The cartoon shows Putin in a tank at the
“START” of an Olympic ski jump course--as this was drawn at the end of the winter Olympics.
The tank has smoke coming out of it, and appears to be getting ready to go down the jump. The
landing of the jump is labeled, “UKRAINE.” At the bottom of the picture is says, “The
Olympics has ended and Putin can turn to other problems.” Hansen‟s style is very simplistic,
with only a few colors used in the drawing. The only non-monotone colors used are used on
Putin, to emphasize his role in the cartoon.
This cartoon is meant to evoke humor, as it makes fun of Putin‟s goals during the
Olympics. Hansen is saying that Putin didn‟t really care about the Olympics, and wanted to get
back to dealing with other “problems.” Those “problems” being Ukraine. The cartoon also
makes fun of Putin, because it shows that he intends to deal with his “problems” with a tank. By
showing Putin in a tank, Hansen criticizes Putin‟s violent and controlling methods.
Hansen also criticizes Putin by setting this cartoon at an Olympic ski jump course. Putin
is at the start, and the end is Ukraine. This makes Putin look like a contestant in a game, in
which the goal that must be reached is Ukraine. This shows Hansen‟s opinion that Putin is only
focused on gaining control of Ukraine, and sees control over the nation as a prize. I partially
agree with this viewpoint. I think that Russia does want control over Ukraine, but I don‟t think
that Russia sees this control as a “game to win.”
“Ukraine at the brink"
Dave Granlund

This cartoon shows the relationships and difficulties between Ukraine, Russia, and the
European Union. The artist, Dave Granlund shows a gap between two cliffs, and a bus full of
people trying to be saved. The only problem is, however, the bus is being pulled by two tow
trucks on either side, making it impossible to go in either direction, and get out of its turmoil.
The tow truck shown on the right is labeled as “RUSSIA,” and is colored with red, white, and
blue--the colors of the Russian flag. The tow truck shown on the left is labeled “EU” as referring
to the European Union. The bus filled with people is labeled as “UKRAINE,” and is colored
with blue and yellow--the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
The issue highlighted in this issue is the European Union‟s attempts to forge a
relationship with Ukraine, and Russia‟s persistence to take control of the Ukraine. Granlund
shows that the fate of the bus rests on the two tow trucks, and that the bus, Ukraine, is not in
control of which way it will go. This shows that Granlund believes that both the European
Union and Russia, who are trying to “help” Ukraine, are really taking complete control over the
situation, and Ukraine is helpless to make any decisions. I don‟t think Ukraine is helpless in the
real-life situation, but I do think that they should be trying to do more independently.
Another important issue portrayed in this is how nobody is going anywhere. Granlund
did this to show his opinion that right now, nothing is happening because Ukraine‟s decisions are
being decided by other people. I agree with this, and that nothing seems to be effective in
alleviating this problem. Overall, Granlund aimed to evoke frustration in the viewer by making
Ukraine seem totally controlled by the European Union and Russia.
“Obama‟s Condemnation”
Gary Varvel, March 14, 2014

This cartoon shows the relationship between Obama, Putin, and Ukraine. Obama is
shown at an entry booth, that is labeled as, “UKRAINE.” The gate at the booth is broken, and
that is shown with tank tracks passing that area. A tank with the red star of communism is
shown driving off in the distance. Obama addresses the driver as Putin, and tells him that if he
doesn‟t stop, Obama will “draft a strongly worded condemnation.”
The issue Varvel addresses is Obama‟s many threats to Putin, that have never actually
amounted to anything. Varvel makes fun of Obama‟s lenience to the “red line” and his
“condemnations” to Putin. This shows that Varvel thinks Obama is ineffective in his threats, and
is not really doing anything to change the situation. I think that Obama does need to come
through more on his threats, but this is a tricky situation and it is hard to make the right decision
in order to benefit as many people as possible.
Hansen also addresses Putin‟s indifference to many of Obama‟s threats. He shows this in
the cartoon with the tank. The tank obviously broke through the gate, and is freely continuing to
drive along, unphased by Obama‟s threats. Part of this indifference is caused by Obama‟s
„unreliable‟ threats, and Hansen shows this through the representation of Ukraine as an “entry
booth.” I think that Hansen made this cartoon to provoke viewers, yet also to be humorous. It is
more attacking Obama, as opposed to Putin, and this tends to upset some Americans.
“Putin and Ukraine Marshmallows”
Daryl Cagle, Feb. 19, 2014

This cartoon shows Putin‟s control over Ukraine. The cartoon has a shirtless Putin sitting
next to a bag of marshmallows, roasting them over a fire. The bag of marshmallows has the
Soviet Union hammer and sickle on it. Instead of Putin roasting over a “traditional” fire, the fire
is shaped like Ukraine, and is labeled, “UKRAINE.”
The issue Cagle addresses within this cartoon is how Putin is indifferent towards the
freedom of Ukraine--and his attempts to take over them. His indifference to their freedom is
shown through Cagle‟s portrayal of Putin. Cagle shows Putin hunched over, with a blank
expression on his face. Not only does this portrayal make fun of Putin, but it shows that he has
no reactions to the burning of Ukraine. I agree that Putin acts very indifferent towards the
turmoil that is going on in the Ukraine, and doesn‟t seem to care about the effects of his actions.
Cagle further makes fun of Putin by drawing him roasting marshmallows over Ukraine.
This reinforces Putin‟s indifference, but it shows that Putin is ultimately benefitting from the
burning of Ukraine. I think Cagle intended for this to be humorous cartoon, as it relates Putin‟s
actions on Ukraine to roasting marshmallows. Cagle‟s drawing style is very detailed--the
burning Ukraine is an actual map of the nation. This detailed style doesn‟t directly evoke humor,
but once the cartoon is understood, his humorous intentions become more evident.
Period 3
Cartoon Analysis
Ukraine-Russia Conflict

The issue regarding the interactions between Ukraine and Russia is a very prevalent
topic. By analyzing these cartoons, I was able to learn about current viewpoints on the issue.
While the original shock relating to the issue has died down, most people still find Russia‟s
persistence to gain control of Ukraine to still be important. Most of the cartoons I looked
through were made during the Olympics, which were hosted in Russia. At that time, the
Russian-Ukrainian interactions were still developing, and many cartoonists drew on the issue.
Based on my cartoons, the US‟ involvement is not that present, as Obama is currently working
on how to further alleviate the situation. I had originally thought the issue had “cooled down” in
the minds of many citizens; but through this project, I realized that it is still important to many.
Most of the cartoons I analyzed “attacked” Putin‟s actions. Only one of the five cartoons
I analyzed attacked the US‟ actions--this was the only cartoon that included Obama. Based on
the cartoons I analyzed, the political climate seems to be biased. The bias is in opposition of
Putin‟s actions; while Obama‟s seemed to be rarely mentioned at all. I found that most of the
cartoons were humorous, and compared Russia and Ukraine to things such as an Olympic ski
jump, and roasting marshmallows over a fire. While some were provocative, I found that most
were humorous, if they didn‟t have undertones of it.
My personal opinion on the issue was slightly changed after analyzing the cartoons.
Most cartoons highlighted both Putin‟s persistence, and Ukraine‟s inaction. I had always
focused on the Russia/Putin side of the issue, but never really analyzed the actions of Ukraine.
Since many of the cartoons highlighted this, I was able to recognize that Ukraine isn‟t doing very
much to establish their side (either with Russia or the European Union).
Based on the cartoons I analyzed, almost all seemed to represent the majority opinion.
The majority opinion being opposed to Russia‟s actions. None of the cartoons, however, focused
on any form of proposed legislation, but rather the issue in general. This clarifies that while the
issue is still relevant, it is not as focused on specifics; but rather, the more general idea of the
situation as a whole. By analyzing cartoons based on the issue involving Russia, Ukraine, and
the US, I furthered my knowledge about the issue as a whole, and was able to shape my opinion
based on the drawings.