Icon Feb 13, 2010

Russian Gas Octopus (2009)

Two cartoons depicting Russia as an octopus over the dispute between the Ukraine and the Russian company, Gazprom. The first shows Putin as the Octopus5, and the second shows Gazprom as the octopus with Europe in its grip6. The cartoons are in response to the Russian company, Gazprom, cutting off natural gas supplies to the Ukraine. And consequently partially cutting off supply to other parts of Europe.

Gazprom has a monopoly on gas supplies in Russia, and is the largest supply of gas in the world1. According to CNN Gazprom replaced the Soviet Ministry of the Gas Industry in 1989. The Russian government owns 50 percent of the company (controlling share)2. So Gazprom required permission of the the Russian government to cut supplies, which was given by Russian Prime Minister Vladamir Putin3. Other links between the Gazprom and the Russian government include the Russian President Dmitry Medvedev who ‘is a former Gazprom chairman’4.

The most relevant contrast for this (thinking out loud for a moment) is the Standard Oil octopus cartoons both for symbolism and the alleged collusion between government and industry.


  1. CNN (6th Jan 2009), Gazprom: Russia’s most powerful company, CNN (http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/01/06/gazprom.profile/index.html#cnnSTCText(accessed 10th Jan 2009).
  2. ibid
  3. BBC News (Jan 5th 2009), Russia to cut Ukraine gas supply, BBC News,http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/7812368.stm (Accessed 10th Jan 2009)
  4. CNN 2009

Images Sources:

  1. PISMESTROVIC (2009), Kleine Zeitung (via CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate), Graz, Austria, 08 Jan 2009,http://www.cartoons.nytimages.com/portal/wieck_preview_page_147705(Accessed: 10 Jan 2009)
  2. SCHOT (2009), NRC Handelsblad (via CartoonArts International / The New York Times Syndicate), Rotterdam, Netherlands, 07 Jan 2009http://www.cartoons.nytimages.com/portal/wieck_preview_page_147642(Accessed 10th Jan 2009)