Social media reveals violence among Estonian youth gangs

The new trend of filming and sharing videos of acts of violence has thrown a spotlight on youth aggression in Tallinn's streets.

Marian Männi
Marian Männi Eesti Ekspress, Estonia
Source: Eesti Ekspress
Social media reveals violence among Estonian youth gangs - NewsMavens
Teenage boy. Pexels

Why this story matters:

In June, the UK police predicted that over 100 young people would be killed this summer in London. This is because the summer holidays are the prime time for children on the fringes of gang culture to be recruited into criminality, The Guardian reported.

Estonia's capital Tallinn is another perfect example of "holiday violence" amongst youth as gang culture has been flourishing this summer, and the latest trend is film violent crimes.

Leaked images have shocked Estonians who are calling out for greater safety in central Tallinn. Gangs, mainly from the largely Russian speaking suburb of Lasnamäe, like to gather in a park near the old town.

In the midst of criticism towards public officials for not doing enough to combat the violence, the Minister of Justice created a round table with different experts in the field to address the issue.

Prime Minister Jüri Ratas along with the Minister of Justice, Urmas Reinsalu, and the Minister of Internal Affairs, Andres Anvelt, along with policemen and journalists went to visit the area where the gangs were reported to gather.

Not surprisingly all the gang members had fled by the time the official delegation arrived, making it evident that the government has no idea what it's doing.

Everyone seems to offer a different solution, but the main question in the nationwide debate is: what would keep the streets of Tallinn safer -- locking up the underage criminals, or speaking to them and trying to understand them?

Details from the story:

  • There have been many incidents of heavy beatings and robberies reported.
  • The beatings are often filmed and uploaded to private social media groups in Snapchat, Messenger or Instagram.
  • The gangs gather in the park in central Tallinn usually at midday and spend the afternoon and evening drinking and smoking.
inbox_large_illu Created with Sketch.
Tired of the news media’s prevailing male perspective? We are too.

Get our newsletters composed exclusively by female journalists from all over Europe.


Project #Femfacts co-financed by European Commission Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content and Technology as part of the Pilot Project – Media Literacy For All

The information and views set out on this website are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official opinion of the European Union. Neither the European Union institutions and bodies nor any person acting on their behalf may be held responsible for the use which may be made of the information contained therein.

NewsMavens is a media start-up within Gazeta Wyborcza, Poland's largest liberal broadsheet published by Agora S.A. NewsMavens is currently financed by Gazeta Wyborcza and Google DNI Fund.
Is something happening in your country that Newsmavens should cover?
Zuzanna Ziomecka
Zuzanna Ziomecka EDITOR IN CHIEF
Lea Berriault-Jauvin
Lea Berriault Managing Editor
Jessica Sirotin
Jessica Sirotin EDITOR
Ada Petriczko
Ada Petriczko EDITOR
Gazeta Wyborcza, Agora SA Czerska 8/10 00-732, Warsaw Poland
The e-mail addresses provided above are not intended for recruitment purposes. Messages concerning recruitment will be deleted immediately. Your personal data provided as part of your correspondence with Zuzanna,Lea, Jessica and Ada will be processed for the purpose of resolving the issue you contacted us about. The data provided in your email is controlled by Agora S.A. with its registered office in Warsaw Czerska 8/10 Street (00-732). You can find more information about the processing and protection of your personal data at