After the Russian warship, Moskva was struck by two Ukrainian missiles, the official position of the Kremlin was “nyuh-uh.” The first response was that it was a small fire from an explosion in their ammunition storage. That could be true. There was an explosion in their ammunition storage…after it was hit by two Ukrainian missiles. As the ship was being towed to a Russian port in the Black Sea, it sank. The Russians blame “heavy seas” for the sinking.
Here’s a fun fact: Moskva was built in Ukraine. It’s an old ship from the Soviet era, when Ukraine was a part of the Soviet Union against its will, like how it’s against our will that Florida is a part of the United States. The ship was laid down in 1976 and launched in 1979. It’s served in Russian conflicts in Georgia, Crimea, and Syria…everywhere Russia shouldn’t have been.
The Moskva wasn’t just any old boat. It was the flagship of the Russian Black Sea fleet. Russia stepped up its attacks in Eastern Ukraine after the sinking. Some Russian officials, forgetting the state explanation, said that Ukraine sinking the Moskva is an “act of war,” after Russia’s been bombing that nation for the past five weeks.
Russia claims the entire crew of 510 was evacuated, but several family members of the crew are wondering why they’re not getting any letters or phone calls from their missing sons. As Ad-Rock said in “Rhymin’ and Stealin’,” they delivered Colonel Sanders down to Davy Jones Locker.
Vladimir Solovyov, Russia’s Tucker Carlson who’s not Russia’s actual Tucker Carlson, said on his popular Russian state TV show, “Vladimir 2Night” (I made that up), “Just explain to me how you managed to lose it!” Yeah, as if it was misplaced. Have you checked the couch cushions? Solovyov was expressing anger at the Russian Navy which means the other Vladimir is extremely upset and soon, a Russian Navy fall guy will fall off the top of a building in Moskva, which is Moscow. Solovyov is considered the “voice of Putin.” He doesn’t say anything unless Putin says it’s OK, kinda like the way Putin writes the talking points forTucker Carlson, Ted Rall, and Donald Trump.
Whether it was hit by Ukrainian missiles, the ammo storage just self exploded, a permed-up sailor left a plugged-in curling iron on his bunk, or someone was deep-frying a turkey in the cargo hold (those things are dangerous. I’m surprised Bubba terrorists aren’t using them on black churches. synagogues, mosques, Disneyland, and capitol buildings), the loss of the Moskva is a heavy loss for Russia’s war effort. The sinking doesn’t just eliminate one ship from firing at baby hospitals in Odessa. It eliminates several, at least for the time being.
Moskva wasn’t a ship that conducted land attacks. It provided air cover and coordinated the attacks from other ships in its fleet. The Moskva is the largest ship to be sunk in combat since World War II. Additional humiliation for Russia is that Moskva is named for Moscow, Russia’s capital. This is another instance of Russia underestimating the fighting capabilities of Ukraine. The Ukrainians were not supposed to be able to sink the Moskva as it’s a ship designed to defend against incoming missiles.
Another fun fact: Moskva was the ship at Snake Island at the start of the war ordering Ukrainian soldiers to surrender, and got the reply, “Russian warship, go fuck yourself.” Right now, crabs are fucking it.
I try to avoid using clichés in my work, like sinking ships. The sinking ship analogy is one of the most overused clichés in the political cartooning business. Nearly every cartoonist has drawn a sinking ship at some point in their career, but some jackholes use it like it was forced upon them. Google “Gary Varvel sinking ship cartoon.” To be fair, I’ve drawn at least three “Where all the white women at” cartoons over the past five years or so. I’ve drawn two Jerk cartoons, where Donald Trump is Steve Martin in “The Jerk” wearing the bathrobe and clutching several items while saying, “I don’t need anything…except this lamp.” I’ll probably never use that one again as between my two Jerk cartoons, another cartoonist used it and then publicly accused me of stealing it from him.
But then again, never say “never.”
When Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani fled his nation as the Taliban was taking over, I drew a sinking ship cartoon with Ghani paddling a lifeboat away. It was the perfect analogy for the situation, but I felt dirty. I promised myself that I would not draw another sinking ship cartoon unless it pertained to an actual sinking ship. Then, I got an actual sinking ship. I thought what better way to use a cliché about an actual sinking ship than to make the cliché the joke? It mocks my entire industry, myself included.
Now let’s see how long I can go without drawing a sinking ship again. Drawing cartoons about actual ships that sank doesn’t count.
Music Note: I listened to Led Zeppelin while drawing today.
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