May 27, 2024

Brighton Journal

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From neutral to NATO: The war in Ukraine has revived Sweden’s old fears of neighboring Russia, which has shattered its imperial dreams.

From neutral to NATO: The war in Ukraine has revived Sweden’s old fears of neighboring Russia, which has shattered its imperial dreams.

“The Russians are coming!” (“Raisen Comer!”)The Nordic nation was permanently annexed to the Swedish language in 1809 after losing one-third of its territory and its large northern empire. Finland– In the hands of Russia. Now that it is no longer a major military power, the Scandinavian nation has ended its former neutrality. Order this week Its integration into NATO And protected against Threats from its neighbors to the east.

War breaks out in Ukraine but drums They are heard all over the continent.

Tensions not only accelerated the process of abandoning Swedish neutrality, which began a decade ago (with the signing of mutual defense agreements with the European Union), but also changed the traditional transparency of the people. Foreigners and Immigrants -Hospitality that benefited thousands of people deported from Latin America during the military dictatorship-.

The Swedish fear of the Kremlin’s results extended to everything related to Russia.

In Helsinki’s main market square, a Swedish flag flies next to a double – headed eagle, a symbol of imperial Russia. The monument was erected in 1835 to commemorate the first visit of Empress Alexandra, 26 years after the Russian Empire’s victory over the Kingdom of Sweden.Martin Meissner – AB

“Suddenly, when Vladimir Putin’s forces entered Ukraine about three months ago, I began to receive threatening calls and hate messages.”Said Nation Elena Cabetz, a Russian immigrant to Stockholm in 2008, opened a “Eurobar” restaurant in the Swedish capital four years ago, specializing in Russian cuisine. It is useless for him to publish news denying the invasion on his social networks. “Our hearts and minds are with Ukraine”On February 24, Capts wrote on the restaurant’s Facebook account.

Russian Elena Cabettes had to remove vodka and kefir from her menus at her Stockholm restaurant
Russian Elena Cabettes had to remove vodka and kefir from her menus at her Stockholm restaurant

“We serve food, not politics”, Then clarified. But the threats persisted, and he had to remove all references to the specialty of “Russian cuisine” from his posters, which were replaced. “Eastern European Food”. “We even had to remove it from our menu Vodka And this Kefir“Traditional yogurt widely used in Russia,” commented Cabetts. “These are very difficult times here. In the Swedish media, it seems that all Russians are behind the attack, ”he added.

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Cabetz’s situation is no different from that of many Russians in Sweden or other European countries. There have been cases of Russian expatriate boys being attacked by Russobops in schools or even in the temples and facilities of the Orthodox Church. In Swedish, Russophobia is a long-standing word: “Riskcracker” (I.e. “Terrorism of the Russians”).

“Despite centuries of friendly relations, the old wars from the time when Sweden now lost the territory of Finland, Since Russian troops burned down entire cities on the east coast, they are even more relevant.“, I said Nation From Swedish expert Mats Engström, Thinker European Council for Foreign Relations.

That “Russian terrorism” is particularly strong Gotland is an island of 60,000 people lost in the middle of the Baltic Sea, just 300 kilometers from the Russian port city of Kaliningrad., The headquarters of the Baltic Fleet of the Russian Navy. The archipelago was occupied by the Russian Empire during that ancient conflict known as the “Finnish War”.

“A lot of people in Cotland are now starting to stock up on canned food. Even though there’s still some left over, the water bottles and portable oven items are exhausted.Rickard von Schweizberg, head of the Gotland Emergency Preparedness, told AFP.

Fear of Godland is not unfounded. One week after the start of the Kremlin attack in Ukraine, Four Russian warplanes They crossed the sky east of Cotland. Sweden also knows that Russia sees the island as a strategic location to dominate the entire Baltic.

“We get a lot of phone calls, people are worried, especially about where the bomb camps are and where to go if something happens.”He added.

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Very anxiously, “We say: ‘Keep calm, keep calm,’ said the officer.

Three Swedish tanks patrol a road near the town of Visby, north of the island of Cotland.
Three Swedish tanks patrol a road near the town of Visby, north of the island of Cotland.Carl Melander – AB

Fifteen years after the Swedish government decided to militarize Cotland in the 2000s, shortly after Russia’s occupation of the Crimean peninsula, it withdrew its steps. He established a 5,000-strong battalion there and re-enforced compulsory military service for both sexes across the country.

Eventually Russian control over Cotland would also take effect There is a major obstacle to NATO action in defending the three Baltic republics (Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania) are already part of the Atlantic Alliance.

Swedish media emphasizes fear of Russian attack on Gotland due to its strategic stanceAs long as Sweden does not have NATO’s security ‘umbrella’, military experts believe that even Russia will threaten to launch a nuclear attack, “Engstrம்m said.

After the airstrikes of Russian planes, the Swedish police received several reports Particularly large drones fly over three nuclear power plants in the country (Oskarshamn, Ringhals and Forsmark), as well At least two airports, the Stockholm metropolitan area and the Royal Family Palace in Trottingham.

Historically, although the Swedish people supported neutrality and did not want to join NATO, all that changed with these threats and the invasion of Ukraine. Now polls show it 58% supported the decision to join the Atlantic Alliance.

The view from the Russian side is different. Anna Koshina Kvosteva Became an international affairs expert living in St. Petersburg and his doctoral dissertation at the University of Uppsala, Sweden. National stereotypes of Swedish-Russian mutual understanding. Although in conversation with Nation Recognizing the deep imprint on the Swedish collective memory of the bloody wars of the past, the decision to join NATO was now seen as exacerbating the crisis.

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“That integration would only increase tensions with Russia That means the Atlantic Alliance is establishing nuclear weapons in Swedish territoryThat fact must be taken into account. “

“In the eyes of many, that’s what NATO is all about The country will lose full control of its foreign and security policy“, He added.

But, according to the expert, the conflict in Ukraine is a resurrected ancestor in Sweden fear and demand to be prepared “The Russians are coming!” (Raisen Commer!).