Russian social media defends air cadets dancing in underwear

By George Pierpoint, BBC UGC and Social News
Vitaliy Shevchenko and Yaroslava Kiryukhina, BBC Monitoring

image copyrightAlEXS JIGURDINSKI

Russian air cadets dancing in their underwear in an online video seen by millions have been spared expulsion.

The video, showing the cadets in underwear, caps and harnesses, has caused controversy in Russia.

Russia's Federal Air Transport Agency condemned the clip and the local government began an investigation into the cadet's "outrageous" behaviour.

However, the authorities softened their stance after the cadets' behaviour was defended online by thousands of people.

The video, showing a group of first-year students dancing provocatively along to Satisfaction by Benny Benassi at the Ulyanovsk Institute of Civil Aviation, has been viewed more than five million times on Russian social media network VKontakte.

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The head of the Institute of Civil Aviation is reported in Russian media to have compared the scantily-clad dancing of the students to the 2012 protests of punk band Pussy Riot.

While the cadets' dance moves have been slammed by a number of officials, not everybody took the video as seriously.

Yevgeny Roizman, the mayor of the Russian city of Yekaterinburg implored the head of the Institute to release a statement defending these "coolest" students. His Facebook post calling for such has gained more than 3,000 positive reactions and been shared more than 200 times.

His suggested tongue-in-cheek wording for such a statement from the Institute read: "My cadets are the coolest, they made a jaw-dropping clip and showed that they are audacious and nimble-witted… Our school is the best. But those who would talk nonsense about my cadets will deal with me."

image copyrightGetty Images
image captionYeveny Roizman has a reputation as an unconventional politician

After news reports emerged that some of the dancing students faced expulsion, many social media users rushed to their defence.

A petition demanding the aviation school not expel the cadets has been signed over 40,000 times, and many are dismissing the video as harmless fun.

One prominent blogger, whose posting of a clip from the video was viewed nearly 100,000 times on messaging app Telegram, argued the young men did not commit a crime and were simply fooling around.

One social media user suggested other emergency services should post their own videos in support with the young cadets: "If we have a 'normal' country, now, everyone - all military, firefighters and rescuers - would be recording their video to the tune of Satisfaction to support the cadets."

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites.View original tweet on Twitter

Students of the local agricultural college in the city did just that, recreating the controversial video and dancing in solidarity with their fellow students.

Their video has been viewed more than 130,000 times in a little over 24 hours.

image copyrightVadim Lebedev
image captionStudents of the Ulyanovsk State Agricultural Academy covered their faces in a video in support of the cadets which has also been viewed hundreds of thousands of times

Some on social media pointed out a similar video of British military personnel dancing to the same song in 2013, and widely shared online since then, did not receive such an extreme response from the authorities in the UK.

In response to the support for the cadets the Governor of the Ulyanovsk region declared - and posted on Facebook, - that expelling the students would not "add to their patriotism or upbringing", and said he will meet with the young men and their parents to discuss the issue.