Trading Olympic Blows? Russian Figure skater Irina Rodnina who tweeted a racially insensitive photo of President Obama was selected to light the Olympic flame in Sochi during the opening ceremony. Putin probably selected Ridnina in response to Obama sending a LGBT delegation to protest Putin’s Stance on Gay rights.
The Olympic Games, created to bring countries together around sports, appear to be having the opposite effect on U.S.-Russia relations.
Rising animosity between the former Cold War powers was on full display Friday when Russia chose a former figure skater who tweeted out a racially charged picture of President Obama for the symbolic lighting of the Olympic cauldron.
That came just a day after the world found out that a personal phone call between State Department official Victoria Nuland and the U.S. ambassador to Kiev, where she can be heard saying “F—k the EU,” had been intercepted and leaked on You Tube.The Obama administration immediately pointed the finger at Moscow, which did little to signal a denial over an incident that embarrassed Washington.
To be sure, there are hard feelings in Russia toward the U.S. and the Obama administration, too.
Russian President Vladimir Putin hoped hosting the first Games since the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which the U.S. boycotted, would showcase a “new Russia” emerging from the ashes of the Soviet Union as he enters his 15th year in power.
Instead the U.S. and its western allies have consistently painted the picture of a corrupt autocracy.
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