Russia 'planned to stage Quran burnings in Sweden'

TT/The Local
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Russia 'planned to stage Quran burnings in Sweden'
Iraqi Quran-burning activist Salwan Momika has denied taking orders from anyone. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Russian intelligence last year suggested staging Quran burnings, as well as mounting protests and spraying graffiti insulting Turkey's president, as a way of delaying Turkey's ratification Sweden's Nato bid, a Finnish documentary has claimed.


The documentary cites the Dossier Center, a Russian investigative news site, which claims to have been leaked two memos from a Russian intelligence agency discussing possible plans to disrupt relations with Turkey. 

"The source was an officer working for Russian security services. I can't disclose the exact agency, but there was a memo that was leaked to us and in that memo it said, 'We should burn the Quran'," Ilja Roždestvenski, Dossier Center's editor, told Yle, Finland's public broadcaster. 

He stressed, however, that his team had no evidence that Russian intelligence had been involved in the the Quran burnings carried out in Sweden in the spring and summer of 2023, only that this was something they had previously discussed. 

"At this point of time there were no Quran burnings, so we don't have any really reliable documents that show that these burnings of the Quran were staged by the Russian security services, but we're pretty sure that at the end of 2022, they pointed out that it would be a good strategy to burn the Quran," he said.


According to the Dossier Center, a leaked document, which formed the basis for reports in the Swedish media in May, listed a series of demonstrations, including protests against Islam and Turkey held in Paris in March as “completed operations”, indicating that these had Russian involvement. 

This document also called for graffiti against Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to be sprayed on walls in major European cities, and for masked demonstrators to stamp images of Erdogan and of the Turkish flag under feet, broadcasting their actions on social media.  


The Dossier Center was founded by the Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a former oil billionaire who was jailed in Russia between 2003 and 2013 after challenging Russia's President Vladimir Putin, and has since been a prominent Kremlin critic from his exile in Switzerland. 

In the documentary, the Finnish Security Intelligence Service (Supo) confirmed that it had been aware of Russian intelligence agencies' plans to encourage demonstrations. 

Sweden's foreign minister, Tobias Billström, would not comment specifically on any of the claims in Yle's report. 

"It is well known that Russia does not want Sweden to be a member of Nato," he told the TT newswire.

"I haven't looked at the report but I can say generally that in these times you should be very careful about disinformation and be extremely critical of the sources where information comes from. I think that's good advice for Swedish citizens at this point."


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Shahan 2023/12/06 17:07
So does this suggest that the comment by Swedish Democrats, that mosques should be destroyed, came as an influence from Russia ? So is Sweden Democrats working with Russia ?

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