Finland and Sweden consider joining NATO?

Russia has managed to  stir up an antirussian movement as Kremlin is demasked as  the aggressor against Ukraina, following similar moves against Georgia in 2008. The moves coupled with a relentless if somewhat crude propaganda war has also relaunched a debate on fascism as communisms unholy brother.

The consequences may be more than Putin anticipated?

As a reaction the NATO beefs up it presence from the baltics to Turkey and the Black Sea.

There is a shift in the debate in Finland and Sweden. Two countries that have till now been in a kind of "laissez-faire limbo" cosidering russia. Specially Finland has since Uurho Kekkonen and his frequent guest Andzej Gromyko had a tacid agreement: more like co-habitation than cooperation, with close trade and above all energy ties to russia.

Finland is now counting its blessings. State and business leaders are praising top level contacts with the US and NATO, while John Kerry beams that "there is not a single problem between our countries. Still the opinion for entering NATO is in  the mid 20-ies while a 56% share is against, with similar figures from Sweden, a country that  has nurtured its "neutrality in war, non-alliance in peace" strategy with great success.

Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme defined politics as "the Art of the Possible." A policy of neutrality, or rather a "balanced version of it" enabling Sweden during  WW2 to manage at the same time selling high grade iron ore and steel to the german war machine (German tanks rolled on swedish SKF ball bearings...)  while giving refuge to norwegian resistance fighters hunted in occupied Norway.

All this made sweden a crowded place, because in the opposite direction travelled german troops through sweden to  attack Norway in the back further north.  An impressive balancing act indeed.

These is history embedded in the swedish mind, occacionaly surfacing for public scrutiny. A fair amount of self examination in a very honest mirror is needed in the process of re-defining Swedens place in an Europe that has uncanny similarities to  Europe in the 1930-ies. More balancing acts may not suffice this time, as Sweden and Finland are committed to European values.

Are they also committed to Ukraina?

In 2012 and 2013 Swedes were shocked into realizing what the world looks like, and also what Sweden has become: Lately it  surfaced that Russia has trained and refined contingency plans in so called "war games" for an attack on Sweden. This was explained to be routine. But seen in light of recent events swedes see this in a different light.

Secondly swedes have fallen in the same ditch as most EU countries and de-militarized to an extent only realized last year.  A russian aircraft flew into swedish airspace and not one single fighter jet could be scrambled to intercept the russian intruder.

The weakest link in Russias war on Europa

...and arguably the most sinister

Georg Orwells "Sqealer" resurrected from "Animal Farm"?

Ivan Rodionov enjoys in  the Ruptly offices in Berlin's Postdamer Platz. During recent appearances on two popular German talk shows, Rodionov disputed allegations that Russian soldiers had infiltrated Crimea prior to the controversial referendum and its annexation by Russia, though Putin later confirmed it.

He claims it it the gibberish of the "radical right-wing views" of the Kiev government. The threat comes not from  the east, he claims, but from the western politicians.

"Western politicians," he says, "are either helping directly or are at least looking on."

It may not be instantly clear that Ruptly is actually echoing Putin on TV. Naturally generous space is alotted to his master in Moscow: Putin speeches are numerous, and long to  boot. But it is mixed with more neutral and even opposing material, giving it at least the air if a real news service.

When it comes to  eastern Ukraina however, the pipes get a different tune altogether. The so called pro-Russian supporters of the "People's Republic of Donetsk," generally gets the Putin voice-over, with no  inkling of journalistic work visible at all.

To most informed people it is clear that Putins revamped "Sovietsky" solution, those that support Mowcos are nearly all to be found among the neo-nazis of a diverse Europe.

One look at the 9th May  parates on Red Square past the remarkably silent corpse of Lenin shows a copycat attitude to Hitlers parades preceeding the 1936 Nazi Olympic Games. Goose-stepping included.

That is why you will also find ample air-time devoted to

Britain's extreme right Nick Griffin or German far-right extremist Olaf Rose, an ideologist with the neo-Nazi National Democratic Party (NPD).

The effort to sow hatred towards the European Union and its Ukraine policies are laughably transparent.

Rodionov defends President Vladimir Putin so vehemently that one might wonder just how close the relationship actually IS.

But Rodionov views himself as a journalist, though none of his efforts merit him a place among real journalists, like the ones systematically killed in Russia for decades.

Click here for the list of  jounalists killed in the search of transparency and truth the last 20-odd yeas. It is not even a complete list and only covers non-war scenarios. This list is unlike any other in the world to our knowledge.

The 49-year-old's video news agency Ruptly was founded just one year ago and financed by the Russian government. The timing might look like a mere coincidense but very little happens by chance in Putins Russia.

Situated vis-à-vis the Reichstag itself, it is a posh location indeed and the Kremlin doesn't seem to mind spending quite a bit of money to spread its words into an uncritical public from these three floors in a modern high-rise tower of glass. Around 110 people from Spain, Britain, Russia and even from Poland work day and night producing videos that are then syndicated to the international media at cut-throat prices.

 Using our democracys  press freedom to make     us all "little Putins"?

The most important instruments being deployed by Moscow are the Internet, newspapers and television, including alleged journalists and pundits dispatched around the world to propagate the Kremlin position.

"We're in the middle of a relentless propaganda war," says Andrew Weiss, vice president of studies at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, an influential Washington think tank.

Kremlin expresses satisfaction when talking about Moscow's information policies.

"We may have won the war in Georgia in 2008, but we lost the propaganda battle against America and the West by a mile," says one. "Thanks to RT and the Internet, though, we are now closing the gap."

Whereas Ruptly establishes itself as an alternative to Reuters and the Associated Press providing video footage and the owners RT has already successfully established itself in the nine years since its creation, surpassing even CNN when it comes to clips viewed on YouTube only beaten by the BBC in terms of viewings on YouTube with close to 1.2 billion views. In Britain, RT has more viewers than the Europe-wide news station Euronews and in some major US cities (!) the channel is the most-viewed of all foreign broadcasters. RT's 2,500 employees report and broadcast in Russian, English, Spanish and Arabic with German to be added soon. June 2014 E.R.

  France to reconsider  sale of 4 Mistral carriers         to  Russia

The french governments decision to  reconsider the sale to russia of 4 Mistral class helicopter carriers is the result of massive opposition. Russia har only one operational  "flat top" aircraft carrier, whereas the US has 15, most of them

nuclear powered. Notable is that when the "Kuznetsov" left Crimea for a show of force when US warships entered the Black Sea at the time of russian infiltration and annexation of Crimea, it  was as usually followed by an escort.

Among them was a tugboat.

The reason is that the ageing carrier is in such disrepair that it  mostly breaks down and need maintainance.

The other 6 carriers in the Soviet and later Russian navy were all scrapped or de-commissioned, the latest in 1996. A new flat top carrier, the "Ulyanovsk" was never finished. After the keel was stretched, the project was abandoned as the Soviet regime collapsed.

It is against this background that Putin is desperate to  aquire new and modern tonnage. The Mistral class is a medium size helicopter carrier, specially suited for amphibious operations. The first is nearing completion sand sceduled to be delivered later this year. The russian crew is incredibly to be trained by  the french, but the first batch of russians were delayed till july 30th by  the french, with no  apparent reason given. The second is partly paid for and was to be delivered 2015. It seems to be primarily the second Mistral that the french are considering re-selling, possibly within NATO. We are unsure whether the goverment can or is willing to stop this years delivery.

But with  Russia now appearing to be in an armed conflict, the conclusion of the business deal  worth 1,8 bln USD may simply be illegal according to UN and international law. Better then to break off, and cover the loss of revenues by reselling to a western country. You  strenghten the west and deprive an aggressor of his military strength at the same time. And get the money anyway.

Two good results in one action.

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