United Russia Apologizes for Using Reagan Photo

The ruling United Russia party has been forced to issue an apology after a local branch illustrated a congratulations on its website for this week's International Day of Older Persons with a photo of the late U.S. President Ronald Reagan embracing his wife, Nancy.

The picture posted Tuesday on United Russia's website for the southern town of Taganrog was swiftly removed, only to be replaced with a picture that eagle-eyed web users noticed was of an elderly Scandinavian couple.

Screenshots of the pages were captured by online news portal Slon.ru.

United Russia's local branch secretary, Valery Selivanov, offered profuse apologies.

"Unfortunately, there are sometimes situations when you are unintentionally insulted," Selivanov said in a statement on United Russia's Taganrog branch website. "We extend our deepest apologies to you for this error."

The statement did not specify for what the party was apologizing.

Antagonism to international communism was a core tenet of Reagan's foreign policy and he is widely credited in conservative circles with having played a major role in expediting the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Many older Russians still retain fond memories of the Soviet era, associating it with an age of stability and generous welfare endowments.