As a Swede and history buff it is very hard to circumvent the 33 wars Sweden have fought against Novogorod/Moscowy/Russia throughout the years. Although fighting wars against all countries of Europe at one point or the other and although the Swedish-Danish wars probably were the most destructive, for both countries, I would still argue that if you would appoint one main antagonist of Sweden it would be Russia. Going back hundreds of years Sweden’s defense policies have been aimed at protecting the country against the Eastern threat - further enhanced during the cold war this sentiment is very hard to evade also today.
Although NATO/U.S. is, by far, a much larger danger to world peace then Russia, the risk of any U.S. lead alliance to invade and take over my birth nation is non-existent. None of our neighbors have any reason to take up arms and hoist their flag on Swedish soil. Consequently the only latent military threat to Sweden is, also today, Russia.
With this in mind you can sort of understand or excuse those Swedes gasping appallingly when Russia is well on its way to annex Crimea.
Also the comparison to Hitler and the Nazis is not too farfetched. Germany had pretty valid reasons to incorporate Austria (also via popular vote), and the Germans even had a reasonable motivation of taking over their previously owned areas filled with Germans. Until they invaded and took over the part of Czechoslovakia they did not have any claim on, the western world took, and excusably so, the back-seat and allowed Hitler´s “peaceful” conquests. Russia and Putin is today pretty much using the same argumentation and have the same pretty reasonable claims.
However with all of this said NATO/U.S. has no credibility whatsoever. After invading country after country and committing war crimes on daily basis and still occupying several countries today – all occurred with no claims and no reason whatsoever which certainly make the Russians and their reasoning look like Vulcan logic. Personally, the only thing surprising me is that not more countries claim to see terrorists everywhere and consequently go to war – if the U.S. can slaughter millions and invade on a whim, why cannot others do the same?
Secondly we do have a democratic referendum in Crimea now. Even if the Kremlin manipulated the votes, which is claimed regardless of what international observers say, it is very clear that a vast majority of Crimean’s want to leave Ukraine and join Russia. Not surprising. Ukraine is poverty-stricken and nowadays there are neo-Nazis in the Ukrainian government. Also the Russians in Ukraine have felt, rightly or not, to be second class citizens. Crimea also has much stronger ties to Russia then Ukraine.
From the Russian standpoint it is even more obvious and logical. They have historical claims, the majority of the population is Russians, and they have both security reasons and economic reasons to incorporate the area. Although most of the Russian argumentation, one by one, is mediocre at best, put them together and you´ll have a hard time discarding them. NATO/U.S. posturing does nothing to help either, it actually escalate and strengthens Russian resolve, not the opposite.
NATO/U.S. has encircled Russia with bases and military agreement from the Baltics to Kazakhstan, from South Korea to Turkey, from Romania to Norway, so you cannot really see Russian actions as illogical. It is the constant expansion of the constant aggressiveness of NATO/U.S. and their willingness to go to war (all the time) that prompted Russian intervention in Georgia and it’s also a main driving force behind the Crimea-crisis.
Thus Russian reaction and Putin´s words do not surprise me one bit. Very expected.
It is the western response to the crisis and the blatant and obvious lying that surprise me; Putin is apparently the devil, Russia has no claim whatsoever, a popular vote should not count, and neo-Nazis in a government neighboring Russia is ignored. The people of Crimea and their opinions be damned.
Also we cannot ignore the fact that the coup was against a democratically elected government and that the coup would never have succeeded without western support. Yes the previous government was horrific, but nevertheless a democratically elected one.
In essence the West is supporting a bloody coup but is condemning a democratic referendum. When did that become western policy? This is terrible news for Scots and Venetians since they too should, logically, be threatened by Obama. Will NATO bomb Glasgow soon? Seems increasingly plausible for each day that passes...
And, as mentioned, even if you somehow sidestep what is actually going on and ignore all the Russian/Crimean reasoning and ignore the referendum; what about Afghanistan? Iraq? Libya? What about all the drones flying over sovereign states murdering families and butchering children? What about the war crimes?
It really takes a lot of me to say it because I do see Russia as a threat to Sweden, but I cannot ignore the facts and the duplicity and I have to, at least to a degree, rather support Russia and the Crimean people than any insincere hypocritical notion coming from the West.
As a final note I would like to, again, point out how much better it would be if Scandinavia would unite under one flag as one country with one army outside of both NATO and EU. If so we would speak with a stronger voice and could put more pressure on Russia as well as NATO/U.S. At the very least I hope that the much needed restructuring of Swedish armed forces is hurried up and that more funds is given for this purpose.