Police in EU state scaremongering over Russian TV series – media

The Latvian authorities have reportedly alerted schools about a popular show depicting teenage gangs

Latvian police have been warning schools in the country’s capital Riga that smash hit Russian crime mini-series ‘The Boy’s Word: Blood on the Asphalt’ may prompt violence, local channel TV3 Zinas reported on Thursday. 

The eight-part series, which premiered in November, is set during the last years of the Soviet Union and centers around brutal teenage street gangs.

According to the report, police have sent notices to around 70 schools after suspecting that a fight that occurred in December and involved several students may have been linked to the popular show. The authorities want to “identify situations or signals that may be connected to the violence among young people,” Sergejs Galilejevs, police chief responsible for eastern Riga, as quoted as saying.

“As of today, we haven’t [found] any signs that the December fight was connected to the TV series,” Galilejevs added.

The principals and educators the channel spoke to confirmed that they received the notices but could not name any specific incidents linked to the Russian show. “We heard that [students] are quoting the series and playing songs from it. It makes us draw a conclusion that it is popular among young people,” Pavels Pestovs, the head of the School №72, told the outlet. 

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The school’s counselor, Santa Konstantinova, told TV3 Zinas that the school would use the police letter to carry out inspections in classrooms and educate students about the school’s code of conduct.

The series is available on Russian streaming services Wink and Start. It quickly became a surprise hit, drawing praise from the critics, as well as concerns at home and abroad about its potential effects on the real world.

Last month, Latvian journalist Lato Lapsa publicly condemned the selling of T-shirts with the show’s title, while Ukraine has banned the series as Russian “propaganda.” 

‘The Boy’s Word’ was also criticized by several Russian politicians, including Rustam Minnikhanov, the head of Tatarstan region, where the events of the show take place. He argued that shows “romanticizing” crime “don’t lead to anything good.”

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