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Several Swedes are on Russia's wanted list

This week, Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas was thrust into the spotlight when it emerged that she was wanted by Russia. She is one of several Eastern European politicians suspected of demolishing Soviet monuments, a crime in Russia. On Wednesday, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania issued letters of protest to Moscow.

We told Russia that these moves will not prevent us from doing what is right. Estonia will not reduce its strong support for Ukraine, the Estonian Foreign Ministry wrote in one press release.

Estonia's Prime Minister Kaja Kallas is on Russia's list of wanted persons.

Photograph: Andrew Kravchenko/AP

In the database of the Russian Ministry of Interior There are more than 95,000 people wanted by Russia as suspects in various types of crimes. Mediazona identified 700 people on the list who may have never set foot in Russia, but are still suspected of crimes, perhaps for political reasons.

MediaZona links the political demands to Russia's project to “cleanse” Ukraine and the Western world. Several hundred criminal cases were launched by the “De-Nazification Commission” against Ukrainian military personnel, soldiers of the Ukrainian International Legion and European politicians accused of “rehabilitating Nazism” by dismantling Soviet monuments.

In DN review of the database Eight names with Swedish connection appear. Two of them are listed as members of the International Legion of Ukraine. Both individuals have appeared in Swedish media as volunteers who fought in Ukraine.

The rest of the names related to Sweden lack any clear reason for their presence on the list. The Russian Interior Ministry did not indicate any criminal classifications in relation to the names. Three of the people are alleged to have Armenian citizenship, but reside in Sweden. Another person is reported to be a Finnish citizen but residing in Sweden. In addition, two individuals allegedly residing in Sweden were mentioned.

The list includes a total of 396 people from 36 countries are accused of belonging to the International Legion, according to the Mediazona website. The country with the largest number of wanted soldiers is Georgia. According to the list, Russia wants six Finnish citizens who fought in Ukraine. One of them is Tobi Huhtala, who conducted the interview Helsingin Sanomat newspaper.

– Now I can't go to St. Petersburg anymore, which is a bit sad. But there are other cities. I started thinking about becoming a rapper and had a big hit with one song called “Russia’s Most Wanted”. He told the newspaper that I deal with this with a sense of humor, and I do not feel nervous at all.

Martin Cragg, a senior researcher at the Foreign Policy Institute, believes that Russia does not expect to be able to prosecute people, as the country has requested.

Image: Foreign Policy Institute

Martin Cragg, Senior Researcher At the Foreign Policy Institute, he has not seen the list himself, but comments on how Russia uses judicial power generally.

– What it's basically about is not the expectation of being able to prosecute these people in Russia. On the other hand, he says, they want to achieve some kind of restriction in the freedom of action of appointed persons.

It is believed that wanted persons may become less inclined to go to countries allied with Russia.

– Russia has pursued its affairs abroad several times, including recently in Thailand, says Martin Kraj.

Russian rock band Bi-2, who has criticized the Russian regime, recently ended up in a Thai prison, when the country claimed the band did not have a work permit. The band was then deported to Israel. The newspaper reported that Russia is suspected of being behind the incident, which the Kremlin denies time.

Using the legal system, according to Martin Kragg, Russia is trying to emulate the West's attempts to catch Russian criminals.

– It is a way of performing with similar instruments, but with completely different intentions. He adds that these targets are not criminals for a traditional reason, but rather people whom Russia considers worthy of political rebuke.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is aware of information about the Swedes on the wanted list.

“For a long time, Russia has used baseless and politically motivated lists of what it calls ‘foreign agents,’ ‘undesirable organizations,’ and ‘most wanted’ to attack political opponents and dissidents,” the State Department wrote in a written response to DN.

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