November 27th, 2016 – Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan were not present, but an ice skating rink still became alive with drama last night after a pair of figure skaters performed a Holocaust-themed routine. Former Olympic champion ice dancer Tatiana Navka, wife of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s chief spokesman Dmitry Peskov, performed with actor Andrey Burkovsky on state-owned Channel 1’s Ice Age.
The duo wore striped concentration camp uniforms marked with yellow Stars of David and danced to a song by Achinoam Nini, which was used in the Oscar-winning film Life is Beautiful(the story of a Jewish-Italian bookshop owner, who relies on his imagination to protect his young son from the atrocities of internment in a Nazi concentration camp).
During the nearly four minute performance, Navka and Burkovsky mimed shooting each other, playing with their child and being taken away by soldiers. They received positive praise from the audience and what appears to be a complimentary score from the judges (a format similar to our Dancing With the Stars program). It was online, however, where their marks dropped from judges who sat not on a panel but on Twitter.
The performance was widely seen as “sick,” “tactless,” “offensive” and “mad” as people criticized the routine for insensitively making light of a grim reality. Twitter user Neville A. Prinsloo even called on the Russian government to issue an apology saying
This might be offensive if they hadn’t take such great care to recreate all the wonderful ice dancing going on at Aushwitz at the time. https://t.co/Nz0iDHqili — Michael Ian Black (@michaelianblack) November 27, 2016