- The World Cup in Russia is just one day old, and it’s already getting weird.
- Shortly after Russia obliterated Saudi Arabia in the opening match, a bear in a jeep was filmed being driven through the Moscow streets.
- The bear has been accused of making offensive gestures.
- It is unclear how the bear was trained to be so tame around humans and blow on a vuvuzela – but bear training is common in Russia.
- See all of Business Insider’s World Cup coverage here.
The 2018 World Cup is only one day old, and it’s already gotten weird.
The host country, Russia, annihilated Saudi Arabia, 5-0, in the tournament’s opening match Thursday, but one of the main talking points arrived after the game when a bear was driven through Moscow’s streets in a jeep.
The bear appears to be blowing a vuvuzela, a plastic horn that sounds like a swarm of bees and was a staple at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The bear then seems to give an offensive gesture. One interpretation of the gesture is that it is akin to saying “f— you” in Russia, but others believe it is the “quenelle,” an antisemitic salute. The jeep then drives off, and the video ends.
The stunt may be a marketing ploy for a website that sells secondhand cars.
Watch the vuvuzela-playing bear below.
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
The video has dark undertones. The quenelle, a salute that went viral in France over five years ago, is associated with racism and antisemitism and has been regarded as an inverted Nazi salute.
The quenelle even has historical links to soccer, as France’s former striker Nicolas Anelka used the gesture during a match in England while playing for West Bromwich Albion in 2013.
How the bear was trained to blow on a vuvuzela and make the gesture is unclear, but bear taming is common in Russia.
Earlier this year, a muzzled bear was brought onto a soccer pitch and made to perform before a league game in Russia. It was widely condemned by animal-rights groups who said the bear “belonged in the wild” and not “rented out as a mascot.”
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