Over the course of their careers, military service members around the world all acquire a certain set of skills. This past week, Belarusian soldiers showed off some of those skills at a military demonstration. There are some expected moves — dismounting personnel carriers, guns at the ready, some hand-to-hand combat, and even some knife fighting. 

Then, the breakdancing started:

Why? That’s not clear. 

Unless special operations now involve dance-offs, this feels unusual and unnecessary. Then again a lot of what the soldiers showcase in the video feels unusual and unnecessary. Take for instance the moment one soldier runs across a line of his comrade’s stomachs, shooting an assault rifle into the sky while doing so. But the backflips and break dancing are an interesting way to show off martial prowess. 

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This is not the first time Belarusian forces have shown off a unique set of skills with unusual purposes. In October, the country’s military released several videos showcasing their preparedness, which veered into the slightly more absurd.

In the first video, soldiers demonstrate highly choreographed drills in a snowy forest. This clip has it all: There are strange shifting cover moves, synchronized rolls on the ground, fist fights, plyometric push-ups done over a flaming jump rope, and more. The pièce de résistance might be the running leap into what appears to be a sheet of corrugated metal. Why do this? It’s not clear. But it is entertaining. 

But wait, there’s more. A second video from October shows even more acrobatic feats, that include synchronized punching demonstrations and then a backflip and gymnastics showcase that appears to have been filmed inside an atrium in a shopping mall for unclear reasons.

The country is run by the autocratic President Alexander Lukashenko, who used his security forces to crack down on pro-democracy activists in 2020-2021 before and after the country’s elections. 

Belarus has been a close ally to Russia and let Russian troops move through the country as part of its invasion of Ukraine, but has not joined the fight itself. Last year, halfway into Russia’s war with Ukraine, the country participated in military exercises with Moscow, and more have taken place this month.  Belarus has not joined the war in Ukraine, although Kyiv has warned of the possibility that Moscow could use its ally to open a new front in the war. Lukashenko has not directly commented on the matter himself, although this week he said that he had been offered a non-aggression pact with Ukraine. Meanwhile, Belarus has been bringing out armored personnel carriers and other equipment as part of a regional defense effort with Russia. 

Just don’t end up in a fist fight-meets-dance off in Eastern Europe. 

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