Holocaust on Ice: Putin Aide's Wife Sparks Controversy After Skating in Concentration Camp Garb

It’s not the first time this year that using the Holocaust as a theme on a Russian entertainment television has stirred up controversy.

Russian Olympic champion Tatiana Navka and a partner skate on a Russian reality show dressed in a concentration camp uniform.
Facebook video screenshot

The world of figure skating and ice dancing is known for overly-dramatic and over-the-top themes meant to add drama.

But eyebrows were raised Saturday night when Olympic champion ice dancer Tatiana Navka, the wife of Vladimir Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov, performed on Russian television dressed in a ragged concentration camp uniform with a yellow star.

Navka performed her spins and lifts with her dancing partner to the music of Achinoam Nini singing the theme of the Oscar-winning film “Life is Beautiful.”

The performance took place on an ice skating reality show and quickly made its way across the Internet with horrified comments on Facebook and Twitter calling it “offensive” “inappropriate” “tactless” and “disgusting.”

It’s 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. Smitten, 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 another Oscar-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. 

Her triumph at the time won her an embrace and a kiss from none other than Vladimir Putin himself, who was on hand to witness the triumph of the Russian national team, led by Lipnitskaya, as they captured the gold medal.