“Is the ice cream as tasteless as the ad?”

Russia’s worsening problems of hate crime and racially-motivated killings have been well-documented in recent weeks.  Which makes this story all the more depressing.  A new Obama-themed ice-cream advertisement – of dubious taste – has surfaced in Russia, prompting accusations of racism.  From AFP:

Some blasted the ad as insensitive after it surfaced on English-language websites this week. “This is just racist,” said one visitor to the Ads of the World website, while another asked: “Is the ice cream as tasteless as the ad?” 

Andrei Gubaidullin, who created the ad, told AFP that it was not racist and that Russia simply had a different attitude to race than Western countries.

“For Russia, this is not racist. It is fun and that’s it,” said Gubaidullin, creative director at Voskhod advertising agency, based in the Urals Mountains city of Yekaterinburg.  “We don’t consider teasing ethnic groups racist. It is just seen as a joke,” he said by telephone, adding that he personally liked Obama.