Russian figure skater draws criticism over 'concentration camp uniform' costume

Vincent Wood
The Independent

A Russian figure skater has faced criticism for wearing a costume apparently based on a concentration camp uniform for international dance competitions.

The outfit, which it has been claimed resembles a half-and-half mix of Jewish prison clothes and a Nazi guard's uniform, has caused controversy since it was first worn by Russian skater Anton Shulepov at the start of the 2019/20 season.

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However anger among ice skating fans appeared to boil over when the outfit was recommended for a best costume award by competitive skating’s ruling body, the ISU.

Shulepov has worn the costume at two of the six major Grand Prix skating events to take place this season – using the outfit to accompany his free style piece set to the score of the 1994 Stephen Spielberg film "Schindler’s List".

The ISU has since apologised, stating its inclusion on its long list was a mistake while claiming they had meant to put forward his Short Program routine costume - which comprised a navy turtleneck top and black trousers.

The long list is currently open to voting from the public.

In a statement the ruling body said on Twitter: “The ISU regrets that by error the wrong costume (Free Skating instead of Short Program costume) of Mr Shulepov has been presented for voting.

“This error has been corrected and the ISU sincerely apologises for this mistake and the bad sentiments it has caused.”

One fan replied: “I sincerely doubt you meant to reward a black turtleneck, but regardless of your intent in nominating Shulepov, he shouldn't be allowed to perform in the… costume.

“This goes beyond ‘bad sentiments’ or appropriation, it's turning genocide into cosplay and you're validating it”.

It is not the first time a figure skater has been criticised for utilising Jewish iconography while dancing to a song from "Schindler’s List".

Japan’s Satoko Miyahara faced criticism for dancing to a track from the film in a strapped dress, which was weaved to create a Star of David across her back at the 2019 US International Figure Skating Classic.

She later changed the design for future competitions.

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