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Russian Karting Champion Dropped By Ward Racing After ‘Nazi Salute’ On Podium

Karter Artem Severiukhin won the race in the OK category at the Portuguese round of the FIA European Karting Championship on Sunday, followed by a Nazi display on the podium. The fifteen-year-old driver thumped his chest twice before raising an open palm- a gesture that mimics the Nazi salute.

Despite being a Russian, Karter is competing under an Italian license. What’s worse is that he did the ‘Nazi act’ on the podium when the Italian National Anthem was being played. The gesture has been banned in Italy since 1952.

The matter gets even worse as the gesture could be a reference to the war between Russia and Ukraine that Russian President Vladimir Putin justifies as a ‘de-Nazification’ exercise.

Action has already been taken against Karter as he has been dropped by Ward Racing which made a public statement stating its condemnation of the gesture in every way, and that it was solely the driver’s decision to sport such an act.

Karter, however, has claimed that his gesture wasn’t intended to be a Nazi salute and that he is against Naziism and Fascism. He posted a video on social media saying:

“I want to apologise to everyone for what happened yesterday in the European Karting Championship”.

“Standing on the podium, I made a gesture that may be perceived as a Nazi salute. This is not true. I have never supported Nazi-ism and consider it one of the worst crimes against humanity.”

“But I raced under the Italian licence and the Italian flag, and the guys in front of the podium showed me that in Italy, in such cases, it is not customary to hit yourself on the chest in the heart area.”

“I just wanted to make the gesture and how everything else happened, I cannot explain.”

“I know that I am a fool and I am ready to be punished but please, believe that there was no intention in my actions, there was no support of Nazi-ism, of fascism.

“There was no desire to offend spectators, fans or the team. (To) all those that were watching the broadcast, excuse me.”

While the turn of events does seem unfortunate. Is it possible that the gesture by Karter was a mere coincidence that he did out of his innocence but caught heat at the wrong moment given the Russia Ukraine war?

Or, was the gesture was done deliberately to support wrongdoings? A detailed investigation might reveal the truth.

Here’s the video of him on the podium:

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