Russian officials and fellow students have come to the defense of flight school cadets whose controversial half-naked viral dance video is threatening their careers.
Aviation authorities launched an investigation this week into the video which depicts cadets from the Ulyanovsk Institute of Civil Aviation dancing to the “Satisfaction” club-hit while wearing nothing but their underwear and pilot caps. Russia’s Federal Air Transportation Agency warned that it could expel students linked to “the immoral episode,” while regional prosecutors have said they see no grounds for dismissal.
“I believe that expulsion will not exactly add patriotism or nurture [the cadets],” the Ulyanovsk region’s Governor Sergei Morozov wrote in a Facebook post on Thursday, a day after ordering a special commission to investigate the flight school.
Head of the Liberal Democratic Party (LDPR) Vladimir Zhirinovsky demanded an immediate end to the “persecution of these young people,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency cited him as saying.
“The guys were [just] dancing, they’re 17-18, they’re young. Their costumes are fine too: it’s hot over there, the heating is fierce, 25 degrees Celsius. Why should they sweat?"
Russian students across the country reproduced the controversial dance video on Thursday in support of their fellow students, including pupils from agricultural schools in Ulyanovsk and Ryazanovo. A third video appeared later in the day depicting dancing young men wearing Emergency Situations Ministry t-shirts and uniforms.
Meanwhile, more than 40,000 people have signed a petition in support of the cadets on the Change.org website.
The controversial clip appears to be a scene-for-scene re-enactment of a 2013 British Army video.
Duma deputy Zhirinovsky, in his impassioned defense of the Ulyanovsk cadets, went as far as advocating for introducing “dance breaks” at educational institutions.
“Universities can take breaks [between classes], let them have a little discotheque during break-time in the hallway,” he was cited as saying by RIA.