African Press International (API)

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Posted by African Press International on May 15, 2008

Police in the Oslo suburb of Brum struggled to control the worst night of violence involving teenaged russ so far this year. It’s high season for their wild partying that traditionally accompanies the last days of their schooling.

Typical russ dress includes overalls and a cap.


Teenagers compete to have the fanciest bus to ride around in.


Between 30 and 40 of the painted busses used by the russ (roughly pronounced “roose”) were gathered late Tuesday night at the waterfront area in Sandvika called Kadettangen.

“Police had to send in all available patrols after several reports of noise, drunkenness and fighting,” the operations leader of the Asker and Brum Police District, Jrgen Jacobsen, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK) Wednesday morning.

He said chaos reigned when police arrived at the scene, and their forces were insufficient to handle the brawling crowds. “It was almost impossible for us to get through,” Jacobsen said. “There were russ-busses in the driveways and everywhere, along with lots of garbage and several fights.”

There was so much fighting going on, he said, “that we didn’t manage to control it all.”

Police had their hands full simply trying to corral the drunken teenagers inside the various busses, and order them out of the area. There wasn’t time, he said, for police to identify the brawling teens.

The weeks leading up to Constitution Day on the 17th of May mark high season for the russ in Norway — students graduating from high school (upper secondary school) who run wild all May in colored boiler suits, partying day and night, celebrating the end of their school days.

The russ students wear different colors, depending on what line of study they’ve been in, with similarly colored caps with tassles.Most of the russ are one of two colors: Red for humanities/general studies, math, sciences, etc, and blue for economics/administration. However, there are also some rare green russ (agriculture school) and even black russ (trade school).

The russ hand out russekort, which are business-card sized cards, usually with a photo of themselves, and a phrase or personal motto, often something to do with alcohol. For example: “They say alcohol doesn’t solve any problems, but then again, neither does milk.”

Expensive paraphernalia
In addition to the colored uniforms, caps, and cards, one of the most important (or at least most visible) parts of the russ paraphernalia are the “russebil”– the trucks or busses the russ decorate outrageously and equip even more outrageously with huge stereo systems. Inside, the busses are often fitted with TVs and entertainment equipment, couches, refrigerators.

The different groups of friends who pool their funds to put together a russ-bus compete to have the best and coolest vehicle, which includes not just the equipment, but the shape and decoration on the outside.

Now they also want to have the coolest website. The russ arrange huge gatherings, where thousands, even tens of thousands, come together to party the night away. As the russ festivities have become wilder, longer, and more out of hand, there has been debate over whether this tradition should be eradicated or replaced.

Until 1979, the students final exams where held before May 17th, and then the celebrations would break loose. However, the government at the time decided to move the exams until after May 17th in an unsuccessful effort to control the partying.


API source.AftenpostenEng

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