I wrote last December about the gas pipeline which Russia is building along the floor of the Baltic Sea to Germany, bypassing the former Soviet Bloc countries of Central and Eastern Europe. It is designed to give the Russians a way to put the squeeze on their recalcitrant neighbors in the “near abroad”, all the while keeping their good friends in Germany and Western Europe fat and happy on cheap Russian gas.
Part of the pipeline will pass close by the Swedish island of Gotland, and the accompanying platform has made Sweden somewhat apprehensive about the time-honored Russian tradition of spying on its neighbors.
Now Russia’s ambassador to Sweden has taken off the kid gloves when dealing to his Swedish hosts. The indefatigable Kepiblanc has translated this article from today’s Svenska Dagbladet:
Ambassador criticizes Swedish debate
Russia’s ambassador to Sweden, Alexander Kadakin, rather harshly comments on the way the discussions on the planned Russian-German gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea have been conducted.
The project includes a planned support platform a few miles off the coast of Gotland, among other things.
“The debate on this platform has reached an idiotic level, yes, pure idiocy, when some people claim that the supporting platform will become some sort of spy central directed against Sweden,” he says to Swedish Broadcasting Company’s Ekoredaktion.
Kadakin says, that he doesn’t understand “what kind of idiot could claim so in his reports to his Swedish superiors.”
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If Russia had any interest in gaining intelligence about Sweden — according to the ambassador — “we already have satellites which can, in realtime, read the license plates in every street of Stockholm”.
Kadakin emphasizes that Russians are not suicidal.
“We are people who think realistically. One often forgets that Russia is a Baltic state. We aren’t idiots who will poison our own ocean; we live there as well.” he says to Ekot.
If the Swedes were already nervous about Russian electronic eavesdropping, I doubt the ambassador’s words have done anything to soothe their anxieties.
Such undiplomatic phrasing — do you think he was hitting the Putinka bottle just before the interview? Or maybe it was just the local snaps…
Hat tip: Reader LN, via email.