Figure Skater Champion Alina Zagitova’s Brave Instagram Post for Her Japanese Fans Even with Insta-Ban in Russia | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Figure Skater Champion Alina Zagitova’s Brave Instagram Post for Her Japanese Fans Even with Insta-Ban in Russia

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Which one do you remember most?”

Alina Zagitova, gold medalist in women’s figure skating at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics, has been making headlines after publishing a “message in Japanese” on her Instagram account.

From her Instagram. Is she very sympathetic to Japan, or is she aiming for something else?

Born in 2002, Zagitova is a figure skater; at the young age of 15 years and 9 months, she won the gold medal at the 2018 PyeongChang Olympics. However, her performance subsequently declined due to a poor performance and she decided to suspend her participation in competitions. She did not just retire, but commented that she had no intention of standing still or leaving. Under such circumstances, she participated in ice shows and other events. Then, she appeared at the “Russian Figure Skating Championships” as a member of the media. She also participated in the Beijing Olympics as a reporter.


Zagitova, known as a pro-Japanese person, fell in love with an Akita dog during her stay in Japan before the PyeongChang Olympics, where she won the gold medal, and the Akita Inu Preservation Society donated a female Akita dog to her. She was named “Masaru” (meaning victory). Zagitova and Masaru visited the Japanese Ambassador to Russia and his wife in January of this year, and reported on Instagram that they had a friendly chat.


It was against this backdrop that she posted this Japanese.


So many performances have passed! Which do you remember most?”


Actually, this was a recap of the “Champions on Ice” ice show that started in Minsk on April 9, and she also uploaded a video of the show together. The show was organized by Eteri Tutberidze, a famous Russian leader, and in addition to Zagitova, medalists such as Kamila Valieva, Anna Shcherbakova, and others all participated. The event was also held in Moscow, Krasnoyarsk, Samara, Nizhny Novgorod, and Tashkent.


But why Japanese? In fact, Russia, which has been tightening its control of speech since its invasion of Ukraine, has issued an “Insta-ban” and tightened regulations on social networking sites. The 80 million Insta users in Russia were also subject to the ban. Somehow, Zagitova and her friends are still able to use Insta, but the frequency of updates has dropped. Instead, they are updating more on Telegram, a social networking service originating in Russia, and seem to be moving to a new social networking service.


However, Telegram is a social networking service that Japanese people are not familiar with. Zagitova has not been able to successfully lead her many fans in Japan to Telegram. Therefore, it is rumored that Zagitova is trying to connect with them as much as possible by sending messages in Japanese on Instagram and other social networking sites.


It is all the fault of the war. We can only hope that Russia will soon become a country where people can freely say what they want.

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