Magazines are known to make a statement or two about politics. And one of the most effective way to do so is a powerful, thought-provoking cover. The New Yorker is famous for current-event themed depictions of our time, and Time magazine has added to the political cover frenzy. While many political covers have come before it, Time's Russian White House cover might be the most blatant visual reference to Russia's control over the United States and President Donald Trump.
The illustration shows the onion domes of Russia's Saint Basil's Cathedral fused onto the White House, representing a visual depiction of Russia taking over the U.S. government. The red Kremlin building slowly grows over the White House so they are merged.
It's an especially timely and somewhat haunting cover as Trump's administration has struggled recently to distance itself from Russian relations. On May 9, Trump fired FBI Director James Comey, who had been leading the investigation into the Trump administration's ties to Russia. The following Monday, the Washington Post reported that Trump shared classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador. Then Tuesday, the New York Times wrote about a memo from Comey, which stated that Trump asked him to end his investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn and his connections to Russia. And that's just in the last 10 days.
We first heard of Trump's unusual relationship with Russia during his presidential campaign against Hillary Clinton. In fact, during the final presidential debate, Clinton accused Trump of being Russian President Vladimir Putin's puppet. Trump had said that Putin was a stronger leader than President Barack Obama. He also would not admit that Russia was behind Democratic National Committee hacking.
Since then, suspicions surrounding connections between Trump's circle and Russia have only grown. Now that Comey is gone and Attorney General Jeff Sessions has recused himself from the Russia investigation, things may be different. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein has chosen to bring in a special counsel, Robert Mueller, who will now be tasked with investigating Russia's involvement with the U.S. election. Bringing in an independent party to investigate is considered a step in the right direction by some Americans looking for answers from an administration that is losing more credibility each day.
It's certainly a bold move for Time to publish such an expressive cover, but from extreme political situations comes extreme political art. It's not terribly surprising that this type of imagery is being used to illustrate Trump's cozy-appearing relationship with Russia.