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The Ambassador of Russia to Sweden, Viktor Tatarintsev, writes in a debate article in Dagens Industri that it is about time that Russia and Sweden make peace ”not just on the battlefield but in the mind”.
He writes that the relationship between Sweden and Russia has has been generally good – including during the Soviet era. Against this background, the Ambassador writes that it is strange that Russia and Sweden for some reason find it much more difficult to find common ground now than in the past. The Russian Ambassador writes that, despite Russia’s constitutional change and an enormous step forward in terms of openness and democracy, the Swedish view on Russia has obviously not improved – neither are the bilateral relations blooming. The author claims never to have experienced similar Russophobia in Sweden before and believes that it has become commonplace to demonize Russia.
Still, there are some silver linings, he writes. “We welcome Foreign Minister Margot Wallström, as well as EU and Trade Minister Ann Linde’s visits to Russia, and the bilateral contacts between our foreign ministers that have taken place in connection with, inter alia, the OSCE meeting, UN General Assembly session and regional fora. The direct line between the military HQs in Russia and Sweden that has been in place since July has served us well, not least during exercises “Aurora” and “Zapad,” the Ambassador writes and adds that there is still work to be done: “We need to restore trust and political dialogue, restore the greatly reduced trade-economical exchange, take on global challenges and reconnect our humanitarian and cultural contacts.”
Ambassador Tatarintsev expresses hope that the coming Swedish election campaign, according to the nation’s proud tradition, remains free from external influence and takes place in a fair way.