The relationship between governments and the comic book industry is a rocky one, to say the least. Russian Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky is the latest politician to state his opinion by slamming adult comic book readers.
Per a report from The Moscow Times, Medinsky recently stated his thoughts on adults who read comic books. "Comics are for those who can’t read well," he said during a press conference. "I think it’s pathetic for adults to read comic books."
These quotes are not uncharacteristic for the Culture Minister, as he has taken aim at comic books as a medium before. "It’s like chewing gum, it’s not food," he said of reading comics at a Moscow book fair. "Comic books are aimed at children who are only learning to read." These comments follow a misquote attributed to Medinsky calling comic book readers "morons," leading to the hashtag #ImAMoron.
In the past, Russia and its government have placed "serious literature" over other forms, leading to an acrimonious relationship with comics. The attitude began to shift to a more positive outlook earlier in the decade. Despite this change in attitude, however, many Russian comic fans feel slighted by the government. They did not take well to the Culture Minister's harsh words with prominent members addressing his statements.
'I know many people were really offended by these words," said Ivan Chernyavsky, co-owner of Moscow's Chuk and Geek comic store. "They interpret it as Medinsky insulting them in plain text." The shop's Facebook responded to Medinsky with a comment, "We are not idiots."
Dmitry Yakovlev, head of the St. Petersburg-based comics publisher Bumkniga, added, "It's very phantasmagoric."
Despite Medinsky's words, comics continue to have a presence in Russia with films like Avengers: Endgame being huge box office draws.