TENSIONS BETWEEN RUSSIA AND THE NORDIC COUNTRIES: A COMMENT
"The Kremlin has complained that a new Nordic defence pact is “directed against Russia” and amounts to a “confrontational approach” on the Ukraine crisis. The Russian foreign ministry issued the statement on its website on Sunday (12 April). It said “Nordic defence co-operation … has begun to be directed against Russia in a way that could undermine the positive engagement accumulated over the past decade”. It voiced “concern” that Finland and Sweden, which are not Nato members, are showing “increasingly strong convergence” with the alliance. It also said that “instead of an open and constructive dialogue” on issues such as the Ukraine conflict, “the principles of confrontation are being foisted on the public opinion of the Nordic countries”. The defence ministers of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden unveiled the agreement in an op-ed in Norwegian daily Aftenposten last Thursday. They said they would: share information on maritime and airspace movements; take joint steps on cyber defence; conduct military drills; consider launching a new air-police mission called Northern Flag; share air bases; and explore joint military acquisitions. “Russia’s conduct [in Ukraine] represents the gravest challenge to European security. As a consequence, we must be prepared to face possible crises or incidents”, they warned. They said “Russia is undertaking huge economic investments in its military capability” and that its military “is acting in a challenging way along our borders”. They added that Russia is trying to “sow discord” in the West and that their pact “strengthen[s] the cohesion of Nato and the EU, and helps to maintain transatlantic links”. Russian jets have violated the airspace of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania hundreds of times over the past year."Andrew Rettman, "Nordic pact heightens tension with Russia". The EU Observer. 13 April 2015, in www.euobserver.com
"Communists and the people of the Baltic states favoured joining the Soviet Union. Their bourgeois leaders came to Moscow for negotiations but refused to sign such an agreement with the USSR. What were we to do? I must tell you confidentially that I pursued a very hard line. I told the Latvian minister of foreign affairs when he came to visit us, 'You won't go home until you sign the agreement to join us'. A popular minister of war from Estonia came to see us---I've forgotten his name. We told him the same thing. We had to go to such extremes. And to my mind, we achieved our aims quite satisfactorily."V. M. Molotov, Foreign Minister of the USSR, 1939-1949, 1953-1956, in Molotov Remembers: Inside Kremlin Politics. (Edited and translated by Albert Resis. (1993), p. 9. The statement issued by the Russian Foreign Ministry is typical of the type of overbearing and belligerent behavior of Russia under the Putin regime in the past three to four years. Out goes a sense of co-operation and pour parler with Russia's neighbors. In comes a sort of fist-pounding type of diplomacy whose aim is to intimidate in the most drastic fashion possible, Russia's smaller and weaker neighbors. The fact that Russia's neighbors are actually frightened by Moskva's behavior in recent years is something that Putin, Lavrov, et. al., studious are choosing to ignore. Au fond of course Russia's diplomatic modus operandi is by definition self-defeating and will inevitably have negative results for Matushka Russia. As the article above indicates, the countries of the Baltics and the North Sea will inevitably regroup into a purely anti-Russia political-diplomatic phalanx. Given this rather self-evident result of Russia behavior, one is almost tempted to say that Grazhdanin Putin is almost consciously seeking this very same result. As the diplomatic and political isolation of Russia from the rest of Europe & the West will have the end-result of making Putinism a much more plausible ideology to Russia's poor and misguided people. A extremely unfortunate tragedy for a country which was perhaps the chief sufferer of the nightmare that was most of twentieth century history.