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Three Russian Women Jailed For Twerking Near WWII Memorial

A screen grab from the music video on YouTube of six women dancing provocatively against the backdrop of a World War II memorial in Novorossiisk, Russia.
A screen grab from the music video on YouTube of six women dancing provocatively against the backdrop of a World War II memorial in Novorossiisk, Russia.

Three young Russian women have been sentenced to short jail terms for creating a music video that shows them twerking near a World War II memorial.

A district court in the Black Sea coastal city of Novorossiisk found five women guilty of hooliganism on April 25.

It sentenced one of them, a teenager, to 15 days in jail and two in their 20s to 10-day terms.

Two others were fined after the court said they had health issues that prevented them from being jailed.

Russia will mark the 70th anniversary of the World War II victory over Nazi Germany with a series of ceremonies across the country next month, and President Vladimir Putin's government has been playing up the events for propaganda purposes.

The Novorossiisk hearing took place nearly two weeks after investigators carried out a probe into a popular video showing a group of six women twerking -- a type of dance move -- next to the memorial, which stands on a hill overlooking the Black Sea.

Prosecutors said the "erotic and sexual twerk dance" showed disrespect to the memory of those who fought in World War II.

WATCH the video for yourself here:

Russian officials take great pride in the Soviet role in the Nazi defeat and bristle at anything that, in their eyes, casts a shadow on what is seen as a sacred memory.

Officials said the parents of the sixth person in the video -- who is under 18 -- would also be prosecuted for "failing to perform parental duties for raising minors."

They said the parents face the prospect of being monitored by child protective services for allegedly failing to facilitate their child's "physical, intellectual, psychological, spiritual, and moral growth."

Prosecutors are also investigating the memorial's security, the educational institutions where the young women are studying, and their dance school, Art Dance.

Police are reportedly also looking to see if the dance at the memorial violated a law against "desecrating dead bodies and their places of internment."

The video was reportedly being used to promote dance classes.

The Novorossiisk war memorial marks a successful Soviet battle against Nazi German forces in 1943 that led to the region being taken back by Soviet forces.

Several public figures including politician Yevgeny Roizman, mayor of the Ural Mountains city of Yekaterinburg, have criticized the punishment of the five women.

Users of Facebook and other social media have also come to the support of the dancers in the video, posting photos of people swimming, sunbathing, and drinking alcohol on the beach near the war memorial.

Other photos showed the shoreline near the monument covered with litter, suggesting that the authorties have shown little respect for the memorial.

The incident is the second involving twerking in recent weeks in Russia.

Investigators in the city of Orenburg last week shut down a dance school because of a YouTube video in which girls or women dressed as bees were twerking and doing other provocative dances in a Winnie the Pooh routine that ends with them ripping off their skirts.

The event also led to an investigation of all other dance schools in the region, which is near Kazakhstan.

The Orenburg incident sparked outrage nationwide and has received more than 23 million views online.

Based on reporting by AP, The Guardian, and AFP
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