Roman Abramovich's Partner Dasha Zhukova Accused of 'Incredibly Racist' Photo

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistJanuary 21, 2014

Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, left, and his girlfriend Dasha Zhukova await the start of the Champions League soccer match between Chelsea and Spartak Moscow at the Luzhniki stadium in Moscow, Russia, Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2010. (AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko)
Alexander Zemlianichenko/Associated Press

Dasha Zhukova has sparked a flurry of outrage after being photographed sitting on a half-naked mannequin of a black woman.

Uncredited/Associated Press

The girlfriend of Chelsea's billionaire owner Roman Abramovich was posing for Russian fashion blog Buro 24/7, which accompanied the image with an article promoting Zhukova's magazine Garage.

Organising for Women's Liberation, a feminist movement, tweeted that the picture was "incredibly racist":

According to the Daily Mail's Helen Pow, the blog's editor, Miroslava Duma, also posted the picture on her Instagram account, but was forced to delete it following a cascade of offended comments.

Buro 24/7 also cropped the chair out of the blog's photograph.

An excerpt from Pow's article reads:

The dummy is laying on her back with her knees bent and a cushion, which Zhukova is sitting on, is balanced on her bottom. 

Her neck is propped up off the floor uncomfortably, as if she is straining to look at her master, and her ample, naked bosom is pressed provocatively against her body. Zhukova, staring at the camera, appears the complete opposite of the black woman she's weighing down.

Meanwhile, Huffington Post style and beauty editor Julee A. Wilson tweeted that MLK (Martin Luther King) is "turning in his grave":

Racism remains a delicate topic within Europe—and sport specifically—but Eastern Europe has proven to be a particularly consistent source of controversy in recent years.

Last February, The Mirror's David Maddock provided an in-depth look at Zenit St. Petersburg, a club whose ultras are linked with white supremacist movements, according to Maddock's article.

With Russia hosting the World Cup in 2018, the subject will remain in the public eye in the run-up to the tournament.

Zhukova's image, whether pure misjudgement or otherwise, clearly portrays a message that is heavily derogatory toward black people.  

The intent must be explained by the minds who inspired the image, but for now the criticism must also be accepted by those same individuals, and the glare of coverage may well fall on those around her, such as Abramovich.