Everything about this video is so damn wild that we don't know where to begin. As you may have heard, the 2018 World Cup kicked off in Russia yesterday, and Russia beat Saudi Arabia 5-0 in their very first game of the tournament.
So, Russians decided to celebrate the best way they know how - by training a bear to play a vuvuzela horn and parading it through the streets in the back of a car. Videos of the bear started to emerge on social media yesterday afternoon. Crowds gathered in the street to get a better look, cheering in amazement.
Just been sent this, appears to be a bear in a jeep, blowing a vuvuzela (?) and then giving a quenelle salute. And told it's happening somewhere in Moscow. pic.twitter.com/Tg0Hj0taSo— Peter Staunton (@petermstaunton) June 14, 2018
But, many people didn't find the bear's tricks very amusing. After playing the horn, the bear started doing a quenelle salute, an anti-semitic Nazi gesture linked to racism.
However, one user claimed that the gesture wasn't racially charged whatosever. "In Russia nobody knows about quenelle," he writes, "it's just a Russian version of middle finger gesture, means 'up yours' without any racial or political connotations."
Another person agreed that it definitely wasn't a Nazi salute. "Apparently that bear made a hand gesture that resembles quenelle. Trust me, in Russia, absolutely nobody knows what a quenelle is."
Seriously, they think this Russian bear gave them a quenelle!!!! Folks, in Russia, they've never heard of Dieudonne and this gesture simply means "blow me." https://t.co/lSRi1JGvDB— Leonid Bershidsky (@Bershidsky) June 15, 2018
The video is also sparking animal cruelty accusations. "Hope it mauls the cruel and senseless human beings. Poor thing," one Twitter user writes. "I would pay to see that bear tear one of those idiots a new one," someone else said.
Sadly, bears have been used as entertainers in Russian sports games before. This video shows a bear being led onto a stadium in a muzzle to perform tricks before a soccer match:
PETA Director Elisa Allen claims that, “In addition to being inhumane and utterly out of touch, using a bear as a captive servant to deliver a football is downright dangerous." She says, "the bear is the symbol of Russia, so we hope the country’s people will show some compassion and national pride and stop abusing them."