Russia: a ghost to scare Swedes with – since centuries

For at least one of our Swedish politicians the Crimea incident has come about particularly handy. I’m thinking of our Foreign minister Carl Bildt, by an American politician portrayed as “a small dog barking like a big dog”. He is supposed to lead our Department of Foreign Affairs, but is usually crisscrossing around the world in airplanes, supposedly working to create some lasting impression of his own person.

Carl Bildt was born with glasses and a right wing manifesto in his hand, from infancy anxious to surpass a string of prominent conservative ancestors. One of his main tools in politics has always been to promote Russophobia. Not that he necessarily is afraid himself, but he knows that Swedes for centuries have been susceptible to this irrational scare of the Russians. And of course he is clever enough to know that one of the simplest and cheapest ways to control people is to alarm them.

It started right off with a Soviet submarine stranded on an islet in southern Sweden in 1981. Bildt was then 29 years old and already a shrewd politician who thus was served an issue that he could profit on many years to come (and still does).

The submarine – U 137 – had gone 8 knots on surface with rumbling diesel engines, heard far away by witnesses, right into a narrow strait too shallow for the submarine to hide in, and impossible to escape from. The speed and the fact that U 137 hadn’t gone by electric motors should be enough to reveal that they had no idea where they were. The best guess would then be that they were incompetent or drunk.

But Bildt, and others who thought they could profit from a different idea, maintained that U 137 had been on a deliberate spying mission. The fact that the crew in such a case must have been not just drunk but complete lunatics has not bothered Bildt & Co.

Given U 137 it was no surprise that a submarine frenzy broke out in Sweden and particularly in the Stockholm archipelago. During the 1980s some 4,000 observations of various kinds were made. It was taken for granted that all of them were about Soviet submarines. The navy and coastal defense gladly participated in the hunting of what some called “budget submarines”. No real object was ever caught on film and the evidences were overall of a circumstantial type. People naturally saw a lot of things that looked like submarines. Eventually it was confirmed that a sound captured by the coastal defense with acoustic equipment, and long presented as evidence, derived from swimming minks.

A first commission to investigate the submarine question issued its report in 1983. It concluded that there was sufficient evidence for submarine intrusion into Swedish waters, and that the Soviet Union was the perpetrator. A second commission stated in 1995 that possibly eight maybe more intrusions had been made, but found no evidence for any specific nationality of the submarines. A third investigation in 2001 claimed with certainty that four intrusions had been made. An investigation team set up by Swedish Television held that the intrusions observed since U 137 were made by NATO submarines.

Regardless of commissions Bildt withheld the politically correct opinion for him, namely that Soviet had offended Swedish waters. As Prime Minister in 1994 he wrote an impertinent letter to President Yeltsin of Russia with this accusation, at first kept secret at home, but eventually disclosed by his Social Democrat successor causing turbulence.

Since 1990 Bildt has been busy trying hard to extract the new eastern European nations from Russian influence and draw them into the EU sphere. The pre-1990 hostility towards the Russians had consequently very little to do with (so called) communism. It’s just a power game on a larger scale and Bildt is more than happy to function as a minor lieutenant in service of the real masters of mankind.

Is Russia breaking international law in Crimea? Definitely! Carl Bildt was a member of a support group for the US war of aggression against Iraq. A war of aggression is the ultimate international crime which entails responsibility “for all the evil that follows” (Nuremberg), i.e. the murderous attacks going on in Iraq right now. Shouldn’t Bildt be put under sanctions?

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