Multiple theories have been put forward as to who was behind the felling of the mast in Borås last week. One possibility suggested by terror researcher Hans Brun was that it was a foreign nation. “It is only Russia that could conceivably have an interest in it,” he told radio station P4 Sjuhärad on Wednesday.
The Russian embassy in Sweden has lambasted Brun in response, suggesting that his comments are part of a Swedish tradition of anti-Russian sentiment.
“It is regrettable that a person who purports to be a serious independent analyst endorses conspiracy theories with an obvious anti-Russian subtext,” the embassy wrote on its Facebook page on Friday.
“We are convinced that any Swede with common sense would smile at the depiction of Russian agents ‘preparing for war’ by unscrewing bolts from a TV mast in a remote Swedish region,” the post continued.
“The story feels like it is inspired by the James Bond films, resonating here in Sweden where there is unfortunately an established tradition of regularly looking for a ‘Russian trail’.”
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The embassy’s post then went on to recall events like the Swedish military’s hunt for what was rumoured to be a damaged Russian submarine in 2014, calling it ‘embarrassing’.
It also highlighted a similar search for Russian vessels in the 1980s, which were based on what was believed to be intercepted communications signals. The Nordic nation later admitted the sounds were actually the noises made by minks.
Right now tensions between Russia and Sweden are at their highest for decades. Earlier this month the country’s ambassador in Stockholm, Viktor Tatarintsev, made accusations of ‘Russophobia’ following criticisms of Moscow’s controversial ‘anti-gay’ laws in the build-up to Eurovision.
One week later Barack Obama directed thinly veiled criticism at the Kremlin for its recent posturing towards its smaller western neighbours. Following a meeting with the leaders of the five Nordic nations, the US President stated his belief in “a Europe where smaller nations are not bullied by larger nations”.
Obama's comments were likely a reference to Russian warnings against Sweden and Finland joining Nato.