Norwegian TV to air fictional series about Russian invasion

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP) — In a move that has annoyed Russia, a Norwegian television channel says it will air a fictional TV drama depicting a Russian invasion of Norway after radical environmentalists seize power and freeze the Scandinavian nation's oil and gas industry.

TV2 drama chief Christopher Haug said Saturday the 10-episode drama that starts Oct. 4 is "foremost about Norway and Norwegians, not Russia or Russians."

In "Occupy," Russia partly occupies Norway to resume the oil industry following a secret deal with the European Union. The series is the most expensive drama in Norwegian television history, costing 90 million Norwegian kroner ($11 million), according to TV2, which said the production company has already sold the series to stations across Europe.

"I am surprised by the reaction. It is obviously a fiction, everyone can see that," Haug told The Associated Press, adding that the Russian Embassy had been told about the series "at an early stage, three years ago, I believe."

"(It's) an engaging character drama about people put under great pressure," Haug added, stressing it "doesn't aim to reflect the current geopolitical situation in a realistic way."

Vyacheslav Pavlovsky, the Russian ambassador in Oslo, told Russia's Tass agency that "Russia, regrettably, has the role of the aggressor."

"In the worst traditions of the Cold War, (this show) decided to scare Norwegian viewers with a non-existent threat from the East," he said Thursday.

Norway's Foreign Ministry had no comment on the TV show.


Associated Press writer Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this report.

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