Russia recently suffered a break-in: Russian troop movements along the border with Ukraine, treatment of Russian critic Alexei Navalny, suspicion of involvement in the US elections, and accusations of Czech espionage sparked reactions from the outside world. Russian diplomats were deported from several countries.
It is a joint diplomatic game in which the United States, the Czech Republic and other countries flag it to expel Russian diplomats. Then Russia responds by doing the same, says Bert Sundstrom, SVT correspondent in Russia.
However, one difference is that the Czech Republic, for example, believes that Russian diplomats acted as spies.
There are reasons – that Russian diplomats have done things that they are not allowed to do. When Russia responds, says Bert Sundstrom, it is even more arbitrary.
Russia wants to celebrate
The fact that Russia has imposed sanctions on the Swedish freedom of information chief and seven other people, including the president of the European Parliament, David Sassoli, is part of the diplomatic game. And Bert Sundstrom stresses that it is about punishing countries and people who are considered anti-Russian.
This is a kind of escalation of hostilities between Russia and the democratic world.
He sees this as a clear signal from the Kremlin.
They want to tell us that Russia has the power, ability and money to defend Russian interests around the world, and that Russia is a superpower that the outside world must respect and take seriously. They really want us to feel outside of Russia that we cannot decide ourselves too much, without taking into account Russia’s interests.
Swedish related to novitjok analysis
The Swede on the list is Osa Scott, a department head at the Freedom of Information Laboratory that analyzed blood samples from Russian critic Alexei Navalny. Analysis in the Swedish laboratory, as well as analyzes in other countries, established that Alexei Navalny was poisoned by the neurotoxin Novitjok. Therefore, it is not surprising that it is on the list, says Burt Sundstrom.
– This is a small tile in a big tile in a much larger game.
Hear Bert Sundstrom talk about why Sweden’s director of freedom of information was on the sanction list in the clip above.