Saturday, May 27, 2006

Russia and Sweden

From time to time I'm struck by how many instances of apparent conflict between the Russian Federation and the countries of Northern Europe, particularly Sweden, seem to be cropping up nowadays. Two of the most recent cases I've noticed are the pressures being exerted on Mikael Storsjö, and the resurfacing of the issues surrounding the 1994 sinking of the Estonia, highlighted in Drew Wilson's recent book on the subject. This book, which I'll discuss in a future post, puts the focus on tensions which have existed between Sweden and Russia ever since the beginning of the Cold War. It also tends to point to a Swedish government cover-up surrounding the circumstances of the sinking of the passenger ferry, and to the possible involvement of Russian forces.

In the same connection, Vilhelm Konnander has an interesting post on a growing diplomatic dispute between Sweden and Russia. In the conclusion of his post, he writes:
Sweden has long been regarded by Moscow as one of Russia's greatest critics in the European Union. This should however not serve to conceal the fact that Stockholm's policy towards Russia has become increasingly conciliatory during the last few years. Thus, Stockholm now criticises Russia only in much severer cases of e.g. human rights' abuses than before. The difference is perhaps that there today is so much more to criticise in Russian behaviour. The threshold for critique has risen but so has also the number of severe cases. It thus seems that Russia and Sweden all the more are heading into a dead end in relations. It remains to be seen whether they will have the will and ability to turn developments around.
Post a Comment