Limanova said was horrified to discover that she had become nternationally infamous for the ‘mistake’.

“The world is unfair,” she told The Daily Telegraph. “I did not consider it necessary to justify myself (at the time) because it was so absurd. You can either take it seriously or view it as a curious incident. Most people in Russia reacted to it with humour.

“I really did not enjoy the celebrity. I am quite a private person and I was happy to remain famous in only narrow professional circles. It was unpleasant.”

REN TV bosses summoned her straight after the incident and then mulled over her futuer ‘for a lonfg time’

“After it went viral on the internet they fired me,” she said.

Obama’s detractors were quick to commend Limanova, while others interpreted her gesture as a sign that Cold War-style anti-Americanism was alive and kicking in Russia.

“There was an unhelpful confluence of chance events,” Limanova, an award-winning news anchor who had worked for REN TV for a decade, said. “It was fate.”

Miss Limanova insisted she had no cause to insult Obama.

“I have a completely neutral view of him,” she said.

She also utterly rejected the idea that her gesture was a sign of anti-Americanism.

“Russians do not hate Americans and the Kremlin did not phone me and tell me to do it,” she said..