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Russian Newscaster Appears To Give Obama The Middle Finger On Live TV

An award-winning Russian newscaster appears to have given U.S. President Barack Obama the middle finger during a live broadcast on federal television in a potentially job-threatening blunder that has raised eyebrows in the United States.

In what looked set to be a dry news segment for REN-TV, anchorwoman Tatyana Limanova on November 14 reported that President Dmitry Medvedev had assumed the rotating chairmanship of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum.

Maintaining a serious tone throughout, Limanova explained that "this post had [previously] been occupied by Barack Obama," before unambiguously raising her left hand and brandishing the middle finger toward the camera.

WATCH: Tatyana Limanova flips the bird during a newscast:

REN-TV has declined to comment on the blunder. Limanova is one of the station's leading anchors and in 2010 won Russia's respected TEFI national prize for best anchorperson.

The YouTube footage of the segment will provide light relief for observers of "reset" U.S.-Russia relations that have recently stalled over mooted joint missile-defense systems.

"Komsomolskaya pravda" sources at REN-TV say that Limanova thought she was out of the frame and talking over recorded images when she made the gesture. The Russian tabloid's sources add that Limanova directed the gesture at staff members behind the camera who may have been trying to trip her up.

Moments before flipping the bird, Limanova appeared to stumble over her pronunciation of "Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation."

In July 2010, an anchorman on the state-owned Russia 1 channel gave a cameraman the middle finger believing that he was not on live television.

-- Tom Balmforth

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Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at

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