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Aeroflot renews sponsorship with Nets ... as Russian official criticizes its love of "Anglo-Saxon" sport

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Hawkeye UK (via Flickr)

Now here's a surprise ... not. After Andrei Kirilenko signs with the Nets, Aeroflot, the Russian airline, extended its sponsorship of the Nets for another season. A Russian politician subsequently criticized the airline's decision to sponsor both the Nets and Manchester United, the British soccer club, rather than Russian teams.

Aeroflot told ITAR-TASS, the Russian news agency, "The decision comes from the fact that the sponsorship of one of the most famous American sports clubs will strengthen the image of the airline, as well as facilitate its penetration of the U.S. market with the popular American brand, increase brand loyalty to Aeroflot and increase the number of potential customers among the many basketball fans."

The decision to sponsor Man U and extend the sponsorship of the Nets caught the eye of Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin, who tweeted his disapproval.

"Aeroflot prefers Anglo-Saxon football and basketball clubs?" Rogozin tweeted, also referring to the company's sponsorship of the Nets. "I might just invite them to my place for a heart-to-heart chat."

Aeroflot has been a Nets sponsor since 2010.