Russia–Sweden relations

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Russia–Sweden relations
Map indicating locations of Russia and Sweden



Russia–Sweden relations date back to the 10th century; a group of Swedish Vikings called Varangians are believed to have founded new states that were later to evolve into Russia.


Embassy of Russia in Stockholm

Historically, 11 wars have been fought between Russia and Sweden, the first in the 15th century and the last one in 1808-1809. In the Great Northern War, Swedish prisoners were sent in considerable numbers to Siberia, where they numbered perhaps 25% of the population of Tobolsk, the capital of Siberia, and some settled permanently. When Estonia was under Swedish rule in 1558–1710, the territory was later ceded to Russia in 1721. All Estonian-Swedes from the island of Hiiumaa were forced to move to New Russia (present day Ukraine) by Catherine II of Russia, where they formed their very own village Gammalsvenskby. After the last Russo-Swedish war ended, Finland was handed over as a Russian territory (Finland gained independence in 1917).

The Swedish diplomat Raoul Wallenberg between July and December 1944 issued protective passports and housed Jews, saving tens of thousands of Jewish lives in Hungary. In 1944 he was arrested in Hungary and imprisoned in Moscow where he is supposed to have died.[1][2] This occurred in the days of the Soviet Union, but the issue has later even been discussed between Russia and Sweden.

On 27 October 1981 a Soviet submarine ran aground in Swedish territorial waters near Karlskrona. Early morning on the day after two fisherman spotted the submarine which caused a media frenzy. In the aftermath this led to a diplomatic crisis between Sweden and Soviet Union, and many people reported to media unconfirmed sightings of Soviet submarines all across Sweden.

Relations between the two nations worsened after Moscow had rejected plans for a major EU-Russia summit in Stockholm. Then-Russian president Dmitry Medvedev believed that the summit should take place in Brussels because he believed it was a more neutral place for the summit.[3] Another source of tension in the Russo-Swedish relations is Russia's recognition of the two breakaway regions, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, which broke away from Georgia after the 2008 war in South Ossetia. Sweden's then-foreign minister Carl Bildt condemned Russia's actions, and compared it to that of Adolf Hitler's pre-Second World War aggression.[4] Swedish politician Jan Björklund has also suggested that military units should be put on Gotland in case of a war between Russia and Sweden.[5]

The Nord Stream gas pipeline in the Baltic Sea from Russia to Germany was the topic of Swedish Defence Research Agency's Robert L. Larsson's 110-page study "Nord Stream, Sweden and Baltic Sea Security" (2007) that found a number of concerning aspects in the Nord Stream project.[6] The Swedish Defence Commission, however, did not mention any military implications of the pipeline in its December 2007 report on security issues and instead called for strict environmental requirements and cooperation between Baltic Sea states on surveillance.[7][8][9] The Swedish government gave its approval of the project in November 2009.[10]

Russian bombers often make practice bombing runs against Sweden without prior notification.[11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Raoul Wallenberg". Yad Vashem. Archived from the original on 7 February 2007. Retrieved 12 February 2007. who saved the lives of tens of thousands of Jews in Budapest during World War II ... and put some 15,000 Jews into 32 safe houses. 
  2. ^ "Raoul Wallenberg, Life and Work". New York Times. 6 September 1991. Retrieved 12 February 2007. The K.G.B. promised today that it would let agents break their vow of silence to help investigate the fate of Raoul Wallenberg, the Swedish diplomat who vanished after being arrested by the Soviets in 1945. 
  3. ^ "Relations between Sweden and Russia get frosty". IceNews. 9 July 2009. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  4. ^ "Sweden invokes Hitler in condemning Russian assault". The Local. AFP. 9 August 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  5. ^ Lindström, Anna (6 July 2011). "Kritik mot Björklunds utspel om rysk invasion". Expressen (in Swedish). Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  6. ^ Larsson, Robert L. (March 2007). "Nord Stream, Sweden and Baltic Sea Security" (PDF). Swedish Defence Research Agency. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  7. ^ "Försvarsberedningen om gasledningen". Sveriges Radio. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 9 August 2012. 
  8. ^ "Summary of report by the Swedish Defence Commission". Ministry of Defence (Sweden), the Swedish Defence Commission. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "Ds 2007:46 Säkerhet i samverkan" (PDF) (in Swedish). The Swedish Defence Commission. 4 December 2007. Retrieved 22 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Government says 'yes' to Nord Stream's gas pipeline". Ministry of the Environment (Sweden), Ministry of Enterprise, Energy and Communications (Sweden). 5 November 2009. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  11. ^ Cenciotti, David (13 November 2013). "Russia Just Pretend-Bombed Sweden—Again". War is Boring. Retrieved 13 November 2013. 

External links[edit]