An ice dancing routine which aired on Russian television and which appeared to make light of the Holocaust is causing a firestorm on social media, Haaretz reports Sunday.
The routine aired on Saturday night and involved Olympic champion ice dancer Tatiana Navka, who is the wife of Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov. Navka and her dancing partner, Andrei Burkovsky, performed dressed in a ragged concentration camp uniform with a yellow star.
In the performance, which took place on an ice skating reality show, Navka and Burkovsky smiled and pantomimed shooting at each other in front of an imaginary child, before Burkovsky exited to the sound of machine gun fire.
The controversial routine quickly made its way across the Internet with horrified comments on Facebook and Twitter calling it “offensive” “inappropriate” “tactless” and “disgusting.”
Some of the angry tweets were directed at the Twitter account of the Russian embassy in London, The Guardian reported.
Culture and Sport Minister Miri Regev (Likud) also denounced the dance on Sunday.
"Holocaust motives are not for parties or dancing or reality shows. Any attempt to present the Holocaust in this way is inappropriate and has no place,” Regev told Army Radio.
"None of the six million [victims of the Holocaust] danced and a death camp isn’t a summer camp and I think they should realize that themselves based on the reactions,” she continued.
Haaretz noted that this is not the first time this year that using the Holocaust as a theme on a Russian entertainment television has stirred up controversy.
State-owned Russian television apologized last April after featuring a couple dancing to Frank Sinatra’s “Fly Me to the Moon” on the country’s version of “Dancing With the Stars” raised eyebrows internationally.
The dance enacted a story in which a World War II German soldier encounters a Russian woman hiding in fear. The two dance but their romance is short, when they are caught and shot in the middle of their dance.
Two years ago, there was another Russian "Holocaust on ice" controversy when 15-year-old skater Yulia Lipnitskaya won a gold medal at the Sochi Olympics with a routine based on the -winning Holocaust movie “Schindler's List”.
Lipnitskaya skated to the haunting theme music from the acclaimed Steven Spielberg film dressed as one of the iconic images from the movie - the "girl in the red coat" who stood out memorably in the black-and-white film.
After she won the gold medal, Lipnitskaya received an embrace and a kiss from none other than Putin himself, who was on hand to witness the triumph of the Russian national team.
Navka, meanwhile, explained on her Instagram page she wanted to pay tribute to the 1997 Italian film “Life is Beautiful” which deals with the Holocaust.
Navka and Burkovsky’s dance was to the music of Achinoam Nini singing the theme of the Oscar-winning film, which stars Roberto Benigni as a Jewish Italian bookshop owner to shield his son from the horrors of the Nazi concentration camps.
"One of my favorite numbers! Inspired by one of my favorite films, ‘Life is Beautiful’! You must show your children this film," she wrote on Instagram, according to The Telegraph newspaper.
"Our children must know and remember about such terrible times that I hope, by the grace of God, they will never experience," she added.
The video of the controversial dance is below. Warning: May be offensive to some viewers.