Videos showing Zelenskyy dancing Eastern dances are fake

By: Iryna Hnatiuk
January 9 2024

Share Article: facebook logo twitter logo linkedin logo
Videos showing Zelenskyy dancing Eastern dances are fake

Screenshot of the altered videos of “Zelenskyy” dancing Eastern dances. (Source: Facebook, X, Screenshot / Modified by Logically Facts)


The Verdict Fake

The videos were altered using AI and originally portrayed different people.

Claim ID 41326a6a


Social media users shared a video (archived here) in which, purportedly, the Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy is performing an Eastern dance in a red dance costume. The scene takes place in a festive hall, with balloons shaped like the numbers one and eight visible in the background. The caption on this video reads "Zelensky's New Year Dance."

Logically Facts found that the video has been edited with AI, and the original video was shared on TikTok in October 2020 (archived here). 

In fact

Through a reverse image search, we found the original video posted to TikTok on October 16, 2020. It clearly shows that the dancer is not the current president of Ukraine.

A comparison of the viral video showing “Zelenskyy” and the original video proving that it was altered. (Source: Facebook, TikTok, Screenshot / Modified by Logically Facts)

This is not the first instance of attributing Eastern dance enthusiasm to Zelensky. In September 2023, another video spread, claiming Zelensky was performing a belly dance (archived here). The viral clip was similarly manipulated. The real dancer turned out to be a dance teacher Pablo Acosta from Argentina. Acosta shared the original video (archived here) along with several other ones from the same dance hall and in the same costume on his Instagram page.

Screenshot of the video with “Zelenskyy” and the original video proving that it was altered. (Source: Facebook, TikTok, Screenshot / Modified by Logically Facts)

This video resurfaced when Zelenskyy visited the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 20, 2023. This latest example emerged and spread after U.S. President Biden signed an $886 billion US defense policy bill into law on December 22, 2023. The bill extends support to Ukraine through the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative until the end of 2026, authorizing $300 million for the program in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2024, and the next one.

Shared publications in both cases often included text urging attention to where and to whom taxpayer money is going. This suggests that the videos aim to discredit Zelenskyy and influence the amount of financial aid Ukraine receives from foreign partners.

Screenshot showing the posts on social media where users claim Zelenskyy is dancing while taxpayers' money goes to Ukraine. (Source: X, Facebook, Instagram, Screenshot / Modified by Logically Facts)

Siwei Lyu, a professor at the University at Buffalo, State University of New York, who has specialized in digital media forensics and machine learning, said to Deutsche Welle, "Deepfakes in a disinformation campaign are often used to impersonate public figures or celebrities who have high visibility in the media and play important roles in the ongoing event. The aim is to either promote a particular agenda or confuse the public's opinion. This is the reason I think we have seen many deepfakes of Ukrainian President Zelenskyy."

In November 2022, on X (formerly Twitter), a low-quality video spread showing a Zelenskyy lookalike dancing with a rocket launcher (archived here). At the time of writing, the video has gained ten thousand likes and been shared nearly six thousand times. However, the man in the video is a TikTok user who regularly shares satirical content, such as videos of him dressed in military uniform in Zelenskyy's style, parodying the Ukrainian president’s speeches and public appearances. There is also a video of this dance.

Before taking office as president in 2019, Volodymyr Zelensky worked as a showman and comedian. Thus, several genuine videos of him dancing exist, including some from the time of Zelenskyy’s participation and victory in the Ukrainian show "Dancing with the Stars" in 2006.

The video showing Zelensky dancing in high heels (archived here) is also genuine and was filmed during his involvement in the entertainment-humor project "Kvartal-95" (Quarter-95).

The verdict

The dancer in the video performing an Eastern dance in a red costume is not the current President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The bellydancer is also a different person. The videos were altered using AI. Therefore, we have marked them as fake.

Would you like to submit a claim to fact-check or contact our editorial team?

Global Fact-Checks Completed

We rely on information to make meaningful decisions that affect our lives, but the nature of the internet means that misinformation reaches more people faster than ever before