Sweden’s relations with Russia have been damaged by the telephone conversation of the country’s Foreign Minister, Ann Linde, with two Russian pranksters “Vovan” and “Lexus”.
However, even though it’s a prank, the content of the conversation does not seem to have any positive attitude towards the Russian government, which follows from the official Facebook post by the Russian Embassy in Sweden.
Recently, the Russian Embassy noticed that Ann Linde had been deceived by Russian pranksters. Believing that she was talking to Yulia Navalnaya, the wife of imprisoned opposition activist Alexei Navalny, and Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, Linde spoke about planned sanctions against Russia and indirectly promised Swedish financial support to Navalny’s organization, Samnytt reports.
In a comment to Expressen, Linde wrote that “for the Foreign Minister, it is important to be open to contact and dialogue with civil society representatives from different countries” and complained that “it is unfortunate that this transparency is used in this way”.
In turn, the Russian Embassy in Sweden did not agree that Swedish-Russian relations were not affected by this event.
“Even considering that it was a prank, the content of the conversation unfortunately convinces us again that Stockholm does not intend to deviate from its chosen course of confrontation with our country and does not strive to find ways to clean up bilateral cooperation with Russia,” writes the Russian Embassy on Facebook.
According to the Russian Embassy, instead of calls for developing good neighbourly relations between Moscow and Stockholm, the minister actually says openly about the Swedish authorities’ readiness to finance an extremist organization that is banned in Russia.
“We would like the Swedish Foreign Ministry’s press release writers to notice that their deep-minded conclusion that “foreign policy relations have not been affected” (i.e. Swedish-Russian relations) is incorrect. Such outplays in support of a so-called “opposition” constitute, gracious gentlemen, a clear example of intervention in neighbouring Russia’s internal affairs and cannot be considered in a different way than directly harmful to our bilateral relations,” the Russian Embassy in Sweden states.