As icy relations between the West and Russia show little sign of improving, protesters in Moscow marked Barack Obama's birthday by unleashing racist imagery in the city, comparing the US President to a monkey.
A YouTube video of the crude projection entitled “Obama “swallows” banana in Moscow” ashows “Obama Happy Birthday” cast in green laser across the US Embassy on Monday evening.
The words are then followed by an outline of the US President wearing a striped party hat, as a banana enters his mouth.
The Moscow Student Initiative - which describes itself as “an art group, a circle of common interests, activists, students, patriots,”- took responsibility for the stunt on VK, a social network similar to Facebook which is popular in Russia.
In the day, a banner was unfurled near the US Consular Section of the US Embassy in the capital, which depicted Obama as the “Three Wise Monkeys”.
Playing on the saying: “See no evil. Speak no evil. Hear no evil”, the banner read: "Don't see. Don't hear. Truth for no one", the Washington Post reported.
Across from the US embassy in Moscow today, Russians hung this racist banner addressing Obama on his 53rd birthday. pic.twitter.com/wqhX9ILE8W— Kevin Rothrock (@KevinRothrock) August 4, 2014
As the crisis in Ukraine has escalated, racist imagery likening the President to animals also dotted the city of Perm in June.
Last September, retired gold medal-winning figure skater and Russian MP Irina Rodnina tweeted a doctored photo of the President chewing and staring at a banana while sat next to the First Lady Michelle Obama. The tweet has since been deleted. In February, she claimed her account had been hacked, and apologised for her handling of the incident.
The Russian skater who just lit the Olympic flame tweeted this doctored, racist photo of the Obamas last September. pic.twitter.com/kQhIDqXwki— Terry Moran (@TerryMoran) February 7, 2014
Black athletes in Russia have also been exposed to similar racism, as in 2011, a spectator threw a banana at Brazilian football player Roberto Carlos. "I am really upset at what happened," he said later according to the Washington Post. "I am used to there being no racism in football."