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Russia threatens beloved Swedish kids book

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Russia threatens beloved Swedish kids book
A Russian stamp featured Karlsson and Lillebror in 2012. File: WikiMedia Commons
17:00 CEST+02:00
The Swedish children's book character Karlsson on the Roof could meet an untimely death in Russia, despite his popularity there, if an education ministry proposal to ban "family-hostile literature" comes into effect.

The Swedish children's book author Astrid Lindgren first introduced the single-household oddball Karlsson in 1955 in the book Lillebror och Karlsson på taket. The books about the loner with a propeller on his back, who becomes friends with the young boy Lillebror in his building, were exported to the Soviet Union in the 1970s, where he to this day has remained a favourite to fervent Lindgren readers. 

The Lindgren museum Junibacken in Stockholm has even trained its staff in rudimentary Russian phrases to welcome visitors from Russia, the Dagens Nyheter newspaper reported on Friday. At times, Russian tourists have made up as much as 80 percent of the museum's visitors. 

Karlsson's popularity could now, however, have found itself a proper foe. Sveriges Radio (SR) recently reported that the Russian education minister has launched an idea to ban all literature that contravenes "traditional family values" or that could be filed under the category "unpatriotic". 

Karlsson on the Roof was a matter of discussion in a recent televised debate, SR's correspondent reported, during which a proponent of the ban said that the flame-haired man "created undesirably bad relations between children and parents, and is not in line with Russian values". 

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