‘Occupied’: Moscow Not Amused Over Norway’s Fictional TV Show Depicting A Russian Invasion

Anne Sewell

A Norwegian television channel is planning to air a fictional TV show depicting life after a Russian invasion of Norway.

The show tells the story of radical environmentalists taking over power in a Russian invasion and freezing Norway’s oil and gas industry. Moscow, apparently, is not amused.

The Star Tribune reports that despite this, Christopher Haug, drama head of TV2 in Norway, said Saturday that the 10-episode drama is “foremost about Norway and Norwegians, not Russia or Russians,” and that it is set to air from October 4.

Haug told AFP he was surprised at the Russian reaction to the TV series. He stressed that it is obviously fiction, and that everyone could see that. Apparently, the Russian Embassy in Oslo had been informed about the series “at an early stage, three years ago, I believe.”

Titled Occupied and written by Norwegian thriller writer Jo Nesbø, the TV series follows the tale after a Russian invasion in Norway where Moscow partially occupies the Scandinavian country in order to resume the oil and gas industry, after a secret deal was made with the European Union.

According to Haug, the show is “an engaging character drama about people put under great pressure,” and he stressed that it “doesn’t aim to reflect the current geopolitical situation in a realistic way.”

The show has definitely touched a nerve. According to Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, the Russian ambassador in Oslo, “Russia, regrettably, has the role of the aggressor,” adding, “in the worst traditions of the Cold War,” the show “decided to scare Norwegian viewers with a non-existent threat from the East.”

As reported in the Daily Mail Online, relations between Russia and the West have been touchy since the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine back in March last year, and earlier this year, there were concerns shown over Russian ships docked in a once-secret naval base up in the Arctic.

Reportedly, Norway’s military leaders were rather concerned at Russia’s presence on its “strategically important” coastline.

According to TV2, the Occupied TV series outlining the Russian invasion and occupation of Norway is the most expensive drama in the history of Norwegian television, and is costing 90 million Norwegian Kroner ($11 million) to make. Reportedly, the production company has already sold the series to several television stations across Europe.

According to the Star Tribune, the Foreign Ministry in Norway had no comment on the upcoming TV show.

A trailer for the TV show Occupied, partially in English and mostly in Norwegian, is included below.

[Photo: Vladimir Putin by Dennis Grombkowski / Getty Images Sport]