Russian kart driver Artem Severiukhin, 15, has been disqualified from the Portuguese stage of the FIA European Kart Championship after the investigation launched after the incident in which he performed a Nazi salute in early April had its conclusion released. today (14).
The driver caused controversy after winning in the OK category in the first round of the FIA competition. In a video that soon went around the world, the pilot appears beating his chest twice on the podium before appearing to give a Nazi salute popularized by Adolf Hitler.
Although Severiukhin apologized and was released by the Ward Racing team, as well as stripped of his Italian license in the aftermath, FIA stewards in the investigation report described the driver’s actions as “unacceptable”.
Due to the FIA sanctions on Russia, for the war with Ukraine, the young man did not represent his country and rose to the top of the podium representing the Italian flag.
“After listening to the participants and the driver and verifying the video evidence, and even though the driver expressed his deep regret for his inappropriate gesture during the podium ceremony, the stewards consider this type of behavior unacceptable and strongly reprehensible and against all the regulatory rules of motorsport”, informs the document when detailing the violated articles.
“This constitutes a violation of Articles 12.2.1: c), d), e), f) and m) of the FIA International Sporting Code 2022 and the Drivers’ Commitment signed by the driver”, highlighting the latter, which speaks on the prohibition of “any public incitement to violence or hatred”.
The incident has caused even more concern given Russian President Vladimir Putin’s move to justify his invasion of Ukraine as an effort to ‘denazify’ the country.
Apology for fascism
The gesture was used during the regime of Benito Mussolini, founder and great leader of Italian fascism, ruling Italy from 1922 to 1943. Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party in Germany, copied Mussolini’s greeting.
The Romans used it as a military courtesy and became a symbol of fascism. The Germans, on the other hand, made the gesture as a sign of Hitler’s loyalty and personality cult.
The salute made by the young man is a crime of apology for fascism since 1952 in Italy, by the ‘Scelba law’.