A brief history of criminal twerking in Russia
On April 12th, a somewhat disconcerting twerking video was uploaded to YouTube. The video documented a dance studio's recital in Orenburg, Russia featuring about fiteen young women performing a choreographed dance to a dance version of Vinni-Pukh's bee song, a much beloved Soviet cartoon take of Winnie the Pooh.
Wearing bee ensembles, the young women twerked to remixed childhood-memory-triggering tunes.
Almost immediately, the video went viral (it now has nearly 24 million views) and within hours, the local authorities and the general prosecutor’s office were conducting several criminal investigations of the dance studio, the performance venue and several public officials on the charges of negligence and “perverted deeds.”
“In order to avoid possible negative consequences for the children’s psyche, the provincial prosecutor’s office stressed the need for investigators to do everything possible to defend children from spreading information that denigrates their dignity and honor,” the general prosector had stated, with "spreading information" being a common legal shorthand for anything posted on the internet. Officials had also stated that they will investigate every private children’s dance studio in the city. They’ve already met with the dance studio’s director and the girls’ parents at the governor’s office, as reported by tabloid TV channel LifeNews. Everybody was in trouble.
And now, another Russian twerking video has resulted in three young women sentenced to jail time.
The Bollywood-ish music video shows a troupe of six female dancers in a field with a 1982 World War II monument looming in the background, commemorating those who liberated Novorossiysk from German occupation in 1943.
The Novorossiysk district court has sentenced one of the dancers, a 19-year-old, to 15 days in jail, and two women in their 20s to ten days in jail on a count of "hooliganism." One of the six females is a minor, and was not convicted. The remaining two were fined and not jailed, citing health reasons, the Associated Press reports.
The International Business Times reports that the mother of the minor was scolded for failing to “carry out measures to ensure the proper physical, intellectual, psychological, spiritual and moral development of the child.”
“This incident of disrepute for the memory of war history is unacceptable and any attempts to desecrate site of military glory will be stopped immediately,” the prosecutors said.
The prosecutors seem to be interpreting this as an intentional insult to WWII veterans. Considering that most non-metropolitan Russian cityscapes are quite uncinematic, decorated mostly by industrial dumps, factories, railroad yards and Soviet monuments, it can be difficult to find a location that doesn’t have one of these things in the background.