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Think tank slams Russia’s malicious operations to obstruct Sweden’s NATO membership

Think tank slams Russia’s malicious operations to obstruct Sweden’s NATO membership


Following the official decision of the Swedish government to join NATO, political parties, public organizations and other actors from May 2022 to January 2023 strongly intensified their efforts to undermine the movement.

Such activities bear the signs of Russian “active measures”, both because they respond to Russia’s strategic interests in countering the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO, and because the close ties of the actors involved with both the USSR and modern Russia, which therefore deserves special attention, according to a report by the Ukrainian Center for Defense Reforms, guild house reports, seen by Ukrinform.

The latest example is the burning of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm by the head of the Danish far-right organization Hard Line, Rasmus Paladan. It is known that the action was paid for by Chang Frick, the host of a television channel run by the right-wing Swedish Democrats, who worked for the Russian propaganda publication Russia Today, justifying the occupation of Crimea and calling for the deployment of Russian troops in Sweden.

Read also: RLI: Russian GRU’s efforts to block Sweden’s NATO membership bid

Following the stunt, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan issued a statement condemning the move, adding that Sweden should not expect Turkey to agree to join the Alliance.

One of the key issues demanding that Sweden give up its attempt to join NATO is the Swedish Left Party (the former Communist Party of Sweden), which during Soviet times was controlled and directly financed by the Communist Party of the USSR. On May 16, 2022, together with the Green Party, the Swedish Left Party organized a demonstration against Sweden’s intention to join NATO. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, Die Linke funded the proxy separatist organization run by Russian special services called Borotba. He gained notoriety for attempts to destabilize Odessa and his participation in the attempt to create the “People’s Republic of Kharkiv”.

On February 5, 2021, Die Linke co-organized a meeting with Russian Ambassador to Sweden Viktor Tatarintsev on the topic: “The decisive importance of dialogue for peace”. On the eve of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine on February 18, it became the only party in the European Parliament to vote against increased military aid to Ukraine.

Another organization that systematically acts against Sweden’s NATO membership, which acted as a co-organizer of the May 16 action, is the National Association Against NATO. The association participates in Russian malignant influence operations, including the Russian-Swedish anti-war camp “For Peace” on the Åland Islands, which was timed with the Swedish military exercises Aurora-17 in 2017. The Finnish authorities then prevented the plan for the Russian sailing vessel Kruzenshtern, carrying 150 servicemen on board, to “visit” the camp.

Read also: Russian intelligence services are trying to cover up their involvement in the Stockholm provocation

The third participant in the May 16 action, systematically opposing Sweden’s march towards NATO, was the Green Party. Since the late 1980s, the Swedish environmental movement has systematically criticized investments in nuclear energy, which has led to an increase in Sweden’s dependence on Russian energy. It should be noted that the Green Party, together with the Left Party, also co-hosted a meeting with the Russian Ambassador on February 5, 2021 and also participated in the Swedish-Russian “For Peace” camp on the Åland Islands . In particular, three Green Party legislators participated, Annika Lillemets, Walter Mutt and Karl Schliter.

One of the key areas to undermine Sweden’s NATO integration process is Swedish-Turkish relations. In an attempt to spoil these relations, the large Kurdish community in Sweden, hostile to Turkey, has been used.

On January 12, 2023, the Kurdish organization Rojava Committee organized a demonstration against NATO and Turkey. During the action, the Rojava Committee presented an effigy of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, hanging it upside down. Rojava, or the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, maintains close relations with the Russian Federation. Russia is a key international partner in the effort to legalize Rojava’s autonomy. In particular, the Russian Federation included the autonomous region in Syria’s draft new Constitution of 2016.

The Rojava Committee and the branch of the PKK in Sweden regularly organize anti-Turkish demonstrations, in particular, in the past six months such actions have taken place on July 9, August 12, September 11 and January 12 and 21, 2023.




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