Online footage of the incident, which occurred earlier this month during an afternoon news bulletin on the privately held REN TV channel, is being avidly viewed in both Russia and the United States.
In the footage, Tatyana Limanova, an award-winning senior newsreader at the channel, can be seen briskly reading out an item about how Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has just assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Cooperation organisation.
She is then heard to say that the post “has (previously) been held by Barack Obama” before mechanically and unambiguously raising her left arm and showing the camera her raised middle finger in an offensive gesture that is sometimes known as “flipping the bird.” The scandal comes at a time when US-Russia relations appear to be getting worse after President Obama’s much-heralded attempt to “reset” them. Sources at REN TV said Ms Limanova would not be punished for her slip-up despite the embarrassment it has caused the channel.
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Update: Tatyana Limanova joins the ranks of the unemployed.