Vladimir Putin effigies anger Russians

Putin on a show - Lewes Borough Bonfire Society's Putin. Photo by Peter Cripps
Putin on a show - Lewes Borough Bonfire Society's Putin. Photo by Peter Cripps
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It seems Lewes Bonfire Societies were upsetting the Russians this week too after effigies of Vladimir Putin were paraded through the streets during Bonfire.

Photos of the two 20 foot high Putins, one wearing a mankini and the other straddling a model of a Malaysian jet, angered Twitter users.

Putin on a show - Cliffe Bonfire Society 's Putin. Photo by Peter Cripps

Putin on a show - Cliffe Bonfire Society 's Putin. Photo by Peter Cripps

One Twitter user said: “Racist! Outrageous! It’s attacking a minority!”

And ‏another said: “The Putin effigy was extremely bad taste. Bare chested gun in hand standing on a smashed airplane??? #disgusting

And an outraged Twitter user ‏said: “Salmond effigy is fair enough. burning an effigy of Putin standing on crashed Malaysia airline isn’t funny. #realitypill.”

However not everyone was spitting bricks at the Bonfire Societies’ portrayal of the former KGB operative.

For instance ‏one Twitter user said: “I wonder, how angry were you about Putin’s effigy? Or Cameron’s? Or Obama’s? And yes I do condone it. And it still ain’t bigotry.”

And another commented: “That’s what I always say: don’t be afraid of #Putin, ridicule him. That’s his real vulnerability.”

Another Twitter user had this to say: “Well played Lewes, well played.”

Borough Bonfire Society’s effigy showed Putin wearing a Borat style mankini, perhaps in a nod to the hardman of politics’ love for showing off his body in the media.

He has been known to strip down to the waist for the cameras on macho hunting trips.

Cliffe Bonfire Society had a bare chested Putin brandishing a machine gun and straddling a broken model of Flight MH17, the Malaysia Airlines passenger jet which crashed in Ukraine with the loss of 298 lives in July, allegedly shot down by pro Russian rebels.

This followed a controversy sparked by an effigy of First Minister for Scotland Alex Salmond which was seen being dragged through the town.

It prompted outcry from Scottish people who inundated the Susssex Express with emails of complaint.

Lewes MP Norman Baker, who is from Aberdeen originally, said: “There is a long history of satirical comment in Lewes in some of the tableaux and effigies.

“It’s no different from a cartoon in a newspaper but a direct comment on someone in public life.

“The rest of the country fails to understand Sussex and Bonfire.

“I hope the Bonfire Societies will carry on with their traditions of free speech which are a healthy expression of free speech.”

Speaking to the Sussex Express after Bonfire a spokesperson for Cliffe said: “The tab is like a caricature. It’s like a Private Eye cartoon.

“It’s a way of depicting it artistically rather than verbally and people don’t get what a tableau is and some people don’t get what Bonfire is.”