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Banned ‘Crimea schemer’ took holiday in Sweden

A Tupac-loving top aide to Vladimir Putin was in Sweden at the time an EU travel ban against him was announced, border police have confirmed.

Banned 'Crimea schemer' took holiday in Sweden
Vladislav Surkov poses for a picture with his wife Natalia Dubovitskaya at Millesgården sculpture garden. Photo: Dubovitskaya's Instagram account
Vladislav Surkov was on holiday in Sweden as recently as Sunday. The trip was recorded on his wife's Instagram account, which shows the pair at Stockholm's popular tourist attractions including Millesgården sculpture garden. 
 
The EU slapped a travel ban on the Russian on Friday March 21st, meaning he is not allowed to travel anywhere within the European Union.
 
"I can confirm that he has been in Sweden and that he came in before the sanctions were announced. Exactly when we do not know," Stockholm border police spokesman Kent Söderlund told The Local. 

 
"I know that he left on March 23rd. He left from Arlanda airport. He passed our border but I don't know his destination. He must have left the EU, otherwise the travel ban would have shown up in border checks."

 
The holiday pictures on Instagram were uploaded between March 20th and 23rd. 
 
Isabelle Sundström, a spokeswoman at the Foreign Ministry, said the ministry was unsure why the Russian was in Stockholm, and that further details remain unclear.
 
"We have no information to indicate that he entered the country after the sanctions took effect," she told The Local. "We have not had any contact with the Russian embassy."
 
The chief of Stockholm's border police, Peter Nilsson, earlier said he had no record of Surkov entering Sweden via Stockholm.
 
And if Surkov left after the ban was announced, "then he was going the right way," he told The Local. 
 
Surkov made headlines worldwide last week for his comments after the White House also placed sanctions on him and six other Russian officials.
 
He told a Russian newspaper that it was a "big honour" to be on the US list.
 
"The only things that interest me in the US are Tupac Shakur, Allen Ginsberg, and Jackson Pollock. I don’t need a visa to access their work. I lose nothing," he quipped.
 
Surkov is credited with having created the vast pro-Putin Nashi youth movement and devising the political system known as sovereign democracy that has allowed Vladimir Putin to flourish. A long-serving influential aide to the President, he served as deputy prime minister from December 2011 to May 2013.
 
Surkov, nicknamed the "grey cardinal", is thought to have fallen out of favour with Putin before the Ukraine crisis, but reports suggest he was then brought back into the inner circle and served as a central figure in plotting the annexation of Crimea. 
 
Oliver Gee/Paul O'Mahony

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POLITICS

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

Sweden's Christian Democrats have called for tougher sentences for sex offenders and making release conditional on chemical castration.

Swedish party leader calls for chemical castration of sex offenders

The Swedish Christian Democrats (KD) leader has called for the chemical castration of certain sex offenders as part of plans for a tougher grip on sexual crime and punishment in Sweden.

Speaking to the Swedish parliament on July 1st, KD party leader Ebba Busch said, “Every day, 27 rapes are reported. How many days must pass before the government takes action?”

“Today we propose that rapists and people who commit sexual crimes against children should be able to be chemically castrated.”

The controversial chemical castration proposal was the headline grabbing soundbite in a broader set of proposals to recalibrate the structure of Sweden’s sexual crime sentencing.

Among KD’s proposed sentencing changes is a life sentence for the aggravated rape of a child, the removal of automatic conditional release for sex offenders, and an increase in the sentence for aggravated rape up to a maximum of 25 years.

In addition, they want a “monitoring period” for convicts who have been released, equivalent to one third of the sentence served.

They also want to establish a national knowledge centre for sexual violence where people who feel that they have “problematic sexuality” can receive support. The center must also “be able to administer chemical castration on a voluntary basis to those who are concerned about unwanted sexual thoughts and impulses and have a compulsive sexuality”.

READ ALSO: What’s the Swedish Christian Democrats’ abortion contract all about?

Chemical castration, she suggested, should be implemented as a condition of release for some sexual offenders. “It may mean that if a person like Nytorgsmannen is to be able to become a free man, a chemical castration must have taken place before the release,” Busch said, referring to Andreas Holm, a man sentenced in 2021 for 35 different crimes including 24 rapes.

But this is not the first time the Christian Democrats have toyed with the idea of chemical castration as a form of legal punishment. As far back as 20 years ago, under former leader Alf Svensson, the right-wing party raised the idea of conditional chemical castration of rapists and pedophiles.

At the time the proposal was rejected by all other parties.

Chemical castration, the process of preventing sex hormone production through chemicals, can reduce sexual libido but the effects on those with deviant behaviours are relatively unknown.

Chemical castration can also prove costly as it is not a one-off treatment but rather requires regular interventions, which means the police would be reliant on those sentences to chemical castration making regular trips to the authorities for further treatment.

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