You may have seen this story a few days back in the daily outrage factory that is the 24 hour news cycle. A Russian-Jewish woman, girlfriend of oligarch Roman Abramovich, posed for a Russian fashion magazine on a chair designed to look like a black fetish model. The magazine issue came out on MLK day which was ostensibly the source of it’s insensitivity, though why this is relevant to a Russian magazine is unexplained. There are a few amusing aspects to this non-story which I’d like to point out.
a. The American media jumps on this story because Russians are the bad guys again and this serves the notion that, in addition to gassing queers, they are also terrible racists. For those who would choose to believe this I suggest they look into the history of black Russians (the people, not the drink) as they might notice that they had more rights under the Tsar that they would have in the United States.
b. While it is debatable if this indeed racist, it is certainly in poor taste. Of course vulgarity and poor taste is a defining feature of hyphenated Russian oligarchs so I don’t see how this is exactly news.
c. The real irony is that the people who got upset at this news story are the same people who think Putin is the second coming of Hitler and want to see him deposed and replaced by someone more liberal. What they might not realize is that Roman Abramovich is a key member of the oligarchic, Western-supported, liberal opposition to Putin. What was that about cake and eating it?