21-year-old student arrested, faces imprisonment for twerking in Russia

Authorities in Russia have arrested a 21-year-old Zambian student for twerking at a World War Two memorial.

Tionge Ziba

Tionge Ziba reportedly did the erotic dance in the city of Khanty-Mansiysk.

Zambia’s foreign ministry has confirmed that her arrest was made last Sunday in Russia and her subsequent release on bail.

The suspect is a first-year student at Khanty-Mansiysk’s Yugra State University, and her dockets for her case have been forwarded to the city’s prosecutor.

According to a statement by Zambia’s foreign ministry, the video of Ziba dancing on the Eternal Flame war memorial was filmed on April 14.


It is reported that the young lady then posted the video to Instagram two days later.

"Shaking… for the dead, sure they are sleeping well tonight," Ziba captioned the video.

But the Instagram post has landed her on the wrong side of Russian laws.

According to the BBC, court documents given to Zambia’s embassy in Moscow say it is an "offensive caption allegedly joking about Nazism".


The news outlet reports that the regional investigative department posted a video of Ziba apologising for her dance, though at the time it did not identify her by name or nationality.

"I want to apologise to everyone for the video I posted on April 16," she says in English.

"I posted a video of me dancing on this monument, and I didn’t intend it to be offensive – or disrespectful to those who died.

"I’m very, very sorry to everyone. I hope I’m understood and forgiven."

Meanwhile, the Russian authorities have assured the Zambian embassy that the police investigation is expected to be carried out in a way that doesn’t interfere with Ziba’s education.


"The exercise will be conducted in a humane manner to avoid interference with Ms Ziba’s academic calendar," Russian officials assured their Zambian counterparts.

If found guilty, Ziba could face a fine of between $25,000 and $65,000 (£20,000 and £50,000), forced labour for a term of one to five years, or imprisonment for a term of up to five years, according to Kommersant newspaper.


Unblock notifications in browser settings.

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: