In September, Russian ex-Olympian figure skater and pro-Putin parliamentarian Irina Rodnina tweeted this doctored, blatantly racist photo of Barack and Michelle Obama.
After a flurry of abuse on Russian Twitter, Rodnina claimed she had been “sent the picture from the U.S.” and wrote at the time: “Freedom of speech is freedom! Answer for your own complexes yourself!” She then deleted the tweets.
Via Twitter: @EvgenyFeldman
On Friday, however, the incident caught the attention of the wider public after Rodnina lit the Olympic torch to open the Winter Games in Sochi.
Rodnina and three other ex-Olympian torchbearers, all of whom are members of parliament in President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia Party, also voted for the controversial “gay propaganda law” in June and a ban on adoptions of Russian orphans by Americans the previous winter. Pool / Reuters
Minkovski, a former host on Kremlin propaganda channel RT, also immediately retweeted her mother’s apology tweets, which were written in a style more reminiscent of Alyona’s Twitter feed than her mother’s.