TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – A Swedish cartoonist created this illustration to satirize Russian President Vladimir Putin’s less than triumphant meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) in Uzbekistan last week in the wake of a massive defeat in Ukraine.
On Sept. 15, Xi and Putin held their first face-to-face talks in Uzbekistan on Sept. 15 since Russia invaded Ukraine in February. Both leaders face unprecedented challenges to their dictatorships, with China’s economy rapidly slowing due to continued zero-COVID rules and Russia’s loss of 6,000 square kilometers to Ukraine’s Kharkiv counteroffensive. .
Xi started his journey on the wrong foot by misstepping and nearly falling down the stairs when he landed in Kazakhstan on September 14, drawing ridicule from a Taiwanese writer and netizens. After the meeting, Putin acknowledged that China had “questions and concerns” over Russia’s catastrophic losses in Ukraine.
Swedish journalist Jojje Olsson published an article on his Kinamedia news blog on Monday (September 19) entitled “Satire: Arrival in Uzbekistan” and included an illustration by Swedish artist Niklas Eriksson (@KluddNiklas). In the illustration, Xi, who is depicted as a devil holding a pitchfork, sits in the cockpit of a Chinese jet as it prepares to land at an airport in Uzbekistan that displays a sign welcoming the “cunning leaders of the Axis of Evil”. “
Xi watches warily to his left as Putin, also portrayed as a devil, arrives at the same time. Unlike Xi, Putin has flames and smoke coming out of his head and crotch, he has a black eye, and one of his front teeth has just fallen out.
Putin’s mode of transport is also unusual as he sails to the scene atop a Russian tank turret. The flying tank turret alludes to the famous “jack-in-the-box effect” that occurs when Russian tanks take a direct hit and the ammo inside explodes due to a design flaw in the autoloader .
Olsson writes that Xi is “clearly unimpressed with his ally’s performance.” He adds that “any further strain in the relationship between the two main players in the new ‘Axis of Evil’ will indeed be worth watching.”