January 01, 2011

Notebook



The FSB has launched a series of “anti-terror” cartoons replete with black humor, with the intent of teaching children to be alert, to not pick up strange bags, and to report any suspicious activity to police. The short cartoons, which have been aired in the Volgograd region, feature boys who are confronted with tricky situations such as a ticking bag or an alien presence in their dark apartment building’s basement. In one cartoon, a boy that calls in a prank bomb threat to his school is told that he will get “three years, not a moped.” Another clip warns of wandering away from parents at public events.

The simply-drawn stories feature rhymed narration in the style of Soviet-era strashilkas (short, grim poems), which invariably featured a “little boy” that gets into a lot of trouble. Observers have said that, while parents who remember strashilkas from their childhood may appreciate the clips, children are likely to be confused and scared by them.

The cartoons were commissioned by the security service, using funds budgeted for fighting terrorism. They were drawn five years ago by an advertising agency in Krasnoyarsk.


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