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Concentration camp ice dance by wife of Putin official causes uproar

The Guardian The Guardian 5 days ago Alec Luhn in Moscow
Tatiana Navka and Andrei Burkovsky. © Provided by Guardian News Tatiana Navka and Andrei Burkovsky.

The wife of Vladimir Putin’s spokesman has caused controversy by dressing in a concentration camp uniform for a televised ice dance routine that some have called the “Holocaust on ice”.

Tatiana Navka, a former Olympic ice dancer and the wife of presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov, and her dancing partner, actor Andrei Burkovsky, appeared in striped uniforms bering yellow six-pointed stars on the popular celebrity skating TV show Ice Age.

Their routine for the song Beautiful That Way – by Israeli singer Achinoam “Noa” Nini – was based on the Academy-Award-winning Italian film Life Is Beautiful.

In the film, a Jewish father pretends for the sake of his young son that the family’s internment by the Nazis is part of an elaborate game.

In their performance, 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.

Tatiana Navka and Andrei Burkovsky dance in striped uniforms bearing yellow six-pointed stars Photograph: YouTube

“Definitely watch this! One of my favourite numbers!” Navka wrote under photographs from the performance on her Instagram account, adding that: “Our children should know and remember that terrible time.”

The judges gave the pair perfect scores for both technique and artistry, but the performance divided news outlets and social media users.

One suggested Navka and Burkovsky be sent to a place “where they give out those kind of pyjamas for free,” while another said they should have “starved for a few months, worked in the freezing cold to get into character”.

A popular tweet said the producers at state-owned Channel One, which broadcast the show, were “f**ked in the head”.

Dozens of others tweeted angry comments at the Twitter account of the Russian embassy in London.

A similar scandal unfolded in April when actor Alexander Petrov dressed as a Nazi soldier for a routine on the TV show Dancing With the Stars. Internet users at the time sarcastically suggested he do a number about the concentration camps.

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