Holocaust themed skating routine causes outrage

The wife of Vladimir Putin's spokesman caused outrage after performing a holocaust- themed ice skating performance.
The wife of Vladimir Putin's spokesman caused outrage after performing a holocaust- themed ice skating performance.

The wife of Vladimir Putin's spokesman caused outrage after performing a holocaust- themed ice skating performance.

Tatyana Navka and her partner Andrew Burkovsjy take each other's hands and start their routine - which features a mime of people being shot - wearing the same striped pyjamas as death camp prisoners, complete with the Star Of David emblazoned on to show that they are Jewish.

The pair were competing on the Russian television programme Ice Age.

Ms Navka, who won Winter Olympic gold in 2006 and is also a two-time world champion, is married to Dmitry Peskov, Putin's chief spin doctor.

For much of the it, they pair have beaming grins on their face that are typical of ice skating, and do spins and twirls that appear to have little in connection with their gruesome theme.

It is not the first time the holocaust has provided a backdrop for a dancing performance this year in Russia, with the nation's equivalent of Dancing With The Stars featured an SS Guard trying to find a young Jewish girl.

The Saturday night peak time Nazi-themed item was said to be based on the Italian movie Life is Beautiful, a 1997 tragicomedy about an Italian-Jewish man's fight to survive in a Nazi concentration camp.

Navka posted images of the performance on her Instagram account and wrote that she hoped to pay remembrance to the Holocaust so future generations would never have to experience anything so terrible.

'This is a must see,' she wrote.

'One of my most loved routines! It was choreographed based on one of my favourite movies La Vita Et Bella (Life is Beautiful).

'Show it to your children, you must. P.S. Our children must know and remember about the horrendous time which I hope - God forbid - they will never see!'

Govorit Moskva radio website headlined its story: 'Channel One Ice rink show participants danced in concentration camp robes.'

Ice Age, screened on Kremlin-owned and controlled broadcaster Channel One, is a celebrity competition show.

And while their routine brought whoops and cheers from the Russian crowd, the reception it received online was somewhat fiercer.

US comedian Sarah Silverman expressed horror on Twitter on Sunday, writing: 'Oh those whacky Holocaust victims (OH MY GOD).'

Tyler Dinucci said: 'I truly don't know what to do with this.'

Edana tweeted: 'I can't close my mouth. It won't let me. I. What are they going to choreograph next, a pogrom?'

Neville A. Prinsloo added: 'Tatyana Navka should be ordered by Putin to make a public apology. Have you also forgotten how your people suffered WW2?'

YouTube user loricabernacchio added: 'You should be ashamed of yourself. This is disgusting '

However, many netizens praised the performance.

yanaakimova posted: 'This is such a strong routine!!! Tears in my eyes...'
z.afanaseva added: 'Bravo Tanechka! (Tatiana) This is a stunning routine and your performance was incredible!'

juliasharky said: 'I was crying! This was such an emotionally strong routine!'

President of the Russian Holocaust Foundation Alla Gerber said it was difficult to set the criteria when analysing such a performance.

"This is a very complicated question," she said.

"The subject is painful, so bloodied that how do you approach it, under what criteria?
"First of all it must not tease.

"There must not be irony, there shouldn't be a crooked smile."

Yet in her opinion, the subject of the Holocaust can be performed with a smile "because even in the most horrendous conditions people continued to live until their last breath. The wrote, they sang, they loved."

Gerber said: "I wouldn't just say straight away - 'ah this is so awful. The Holocaust is not only annihilation . It is a colossal resistance, resistance of spirit, resistance of human qualities, resistance of human dignity.

"If in that dance dedicated to the Holocaust were all of these, then I don't see anything bad in it."

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