The Phileas Club 56 – It’s, yanni, kind of a problem

On this episode we talk about:

  • The issue of Isis
  • Jordanian security officials
  • Qatari intelligence officers
  • Russian bombers in Swedish islands
  • And more…

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  1. Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

    Hello Patrick and company, long time listener here. I live in St.Petersburg, Russia.

    So… when I heard yet another Swedish guest talking about crazy Russia, the urge to comment became irresistible. 🙂 I would try and offer a different perspective on things – Russian perspective, if you like (although I don’t pretend to speak for all Russians)

    1. Russia invading Georgia in 2008. To understand the situation in Georgia, one must know the historical and cultural context, which western commenters usually don’t:
    – Georgia always was a multi-cultural country, with significant enclaves of other nationalities
    – After the collapse of the Soviet Union, tensions that always existed between Georgians and the muslim minorities, dramatically intensify. Georgia suffers long and bloody civil war, which, among other things, leads to creation of two separatist regions
    – Comes very pro-western, pro-US government of Saakashvili, and turns Georgia firmly towards NATO
    – Encouraged by the US, Saakashvili decides to test his new military by attempting to reclaim a separatist region of South Ossetia
    – Ossetian separatists call for help. Russia itself has a large Ossetian enclave, with relatives and families to the south. They demand “Give us weapons and we’ll go fight with our southern brothers!”
    – Russia opts for massive military attack instead, pushes Georgian army out of South Ossetia, and advances further
    – Georgian goverment is in panic, EU-mediated ceasefire is achieved, and eventually Russian army retreats to a so called buffer zone

    From this perspective, it wasn’t Russia who “tested the borders” here. It was Georgia and, more importantly, their US allies, who attempted to push NATO towards Russia’s borders.

    • patrick says:

      [Patrick’s edit] Copying the rest of your message here, as it was posted to the wrong page.


      2. The infamous russian submarine. Was it ever found? I follow Swedish news now and then (I really like Sweden, been there several times, and my friends work there). As far as I know, the submarine was never confirmed?
      Anyway, Sweden’s military spending is increased, which makes “operation submarine” a success.

      3. Breki’s notion of “comfortable missile range from Kaliningrad to Sweden”. Do Swedes seriosly consider even remote possibility of military conflict between Sweden and Russia? Here in Russia such an idea would be considered a stupid joke.
      Russians think very differently about countries inside and outside of former Soviet Union. The former (with the exception of Baltic States) are considered Russian sphere of influence, a part of “greater whole”, which was gone after the collapse of USSR. The genuine nostalgia towards that “greater whole” is of course a powerful card for Putin, which he uses when it suits him.

      4. Ukraine is subject of heated discussion here in Russia. I don’t want to write a wall of text this time. Let me just say this:
      – Majority of Ukrainians (though by no means all) genuinely wanted their country to join the EU. When their dream was threatened, they went to the streets in Kiev
      – Theese mass protests were then joined by ultra-nationalists and exploited by the United States, who once again, as in Georgia, attempt to push NATO towards Russian borders
      – Both sides (West and Russia) are to blame for the current crisis.

      4. Putin’s assertive foreign policy as a way to distract Russians from domestic problems. There is some merit to that, but not as much as Westerners think. His policy is as much a reaction to public opinion, as it is a means to form it. Russia is generally dissapointed with western liberalism, and doesn’t see the West (especially the United States) as good reliable partners. This shift in public perception was happening for quite some years. And it is important to understand how profound was the result of chaos that was 90s here in Russia, on public opinion. Compared to that chaos, current economic problems are seen as cake.

      5. Russia “testing the borders”. Here in Russia, it is seen by many as a reaction to Western (and mostly US) policy. After the fall of Soviet Union, for years Russian interests were pretty much ignored by the West. Now the pendulum is moving the other way.

    • patrick says:

      Hey Dmitry, thanks so much for your comments! As always, it’s super interesting to get another side of the story… I really think I should do a special episode on Russia at some point, with Russians of course. Maybe yourself and Pierre from a few months ago would be interested? 🙂 We’ll see if I can find the time to make it happen.

      PS: I’m in St Petersburg right now, and I have to say that the city is pretty impressive…

    • Dmitery I don’t know why you even care what some crazy Swede is babbling about, that nation discredited itself so badly that nobody that knows anything about international politics takes them seriously.

      Sweden is a nation that openly endorses neo-nazi rallies as a freedom of speech (apparently in Sweden nazi skinheads threatening immigrants passes as freedom of speech) while anti nazi rallies are savagely suppressed and beaten by Swedish police:

      Sweden is also a nation that, in addition of supporting neo nazis at home, is also doing so abroad. It haply allows Sweedesh neo nazi gangs that it protects at home to travel abroad in Ukraine to support neo nazi cup detat back in 2014.

      Image of members of notorious Azov neo nazi death squad staffed by large number of swedes:

      As of general ideological framework of Ukrainian junta Sweden is sporting check this BBC report.:

      Support for Nazi junta occupying Kiev reaches highest ranks of Swedish politics. Notorious right wing extremist and apologist for war crimes in Yugoslavian wars, Carl Bildt, is advisor to Nazi junta in Kiev. He is continuing his career as facilitator and apologist for war crimes, atrocities and mass murders as he eagerly supports and endorses mass murder of Ukrainian citizens in east Ukraine, including burning people alive as it was done in Odessa massacre, torture, mutilation, general shelling of densely urbanized territories by heavy artillery, denial of aces to food, water and medicine to civilian population and so on . All of that is wholeheartedly endorsed by Swedish politicians such as Carl Bildt .

      But to me, as a Croatian, what most ridiculous illustrates hypocrisy and immortality of Swedish politics is the way Carl Bildt become only diplomat in history to get status of persona non grata twice in two separate counties, Russia and Croatia. Situation in both cases was remarkably similar. One country (Croatia and Georgia respectively) had parts of it secede (Kraina and Abkhazioa/South Ossetia respectively) and so Croatia/Georgia used military force to reintegrate separatist republics. However despite situation in Croatia and Georgia being completely identical from standpoint of intentional law Carl Bilt took diametrically opposite standpoint in each case, condemning Croatian use of force and endorsing Georgian use of forces, in fact condemning Russian peackeeprs form prevention Georgian takeover of secessionist region. Pure hypocrisy. Justice be done he was declared persona non grata in both Croatia and Russia.

      So TL:DR Sweden is contemptible country and nobody should care what they say or think.

      • patrick says:

        > So TL:DR Sweden is contemptible country and nobody should care what they say or think.

        Well, now there’s the kind of measured and balanced opinion that I absolutely value on this show! 🙂

      • Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

        Well, it’s a passionate opinion, you have to give them that! 🙂

        I don’t agree with the generalisations, but I agree that some Swedish mainstream politicians have anti-Russian bias.

  2. Dmitry Cherednichenko says:

    Hmm. I think I missed the podcast with Pierre. I’m going to check it out, and sure, if you could stomach my accent, I’ll be happy to participate in some future podcast.

    Glad you liked St.Petersburg!

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