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Author, film researcher and member of the Swedish Military History Commission.

Monday, March 31, 2014

Pre-enacting Pro-Russian Partisan War

This slick video of a future pro-Russian partisan hero in Ukraine has so far had over half a million views.

As has just been pointed out by Ukrainians on Twitter, Russia is now more or less demanding that Ukraine becomes the opposite of what Russia is. Will this lead to something like the scenario in the above clip?

The Russian state is a centralized state with weak minority rights and no secession rights - not even the republics within Russia have the possibility to hold a referendum like the one that was just held in Crimea with a little help from some "polite people in camouflage" or "martians" now known also in Russia as the Russian Armed Forces. However, Russia now wants Ukraine to become the opposite of what Russia is, i.e. Ukraine ought to be a decentralized state with strong minority rights and secession rights.

There are many details in the above partisan clip that merit comment. It was released on Youtube on March 4 and has soon had 600,000 views. It is striking not only for the most professional production but also many military and political details. The music is Cuban (celebrating Fidel Castro) and the setting Cold War Two, but what the story is about is rather a sort of continuation of World War Two in the near future, when there exists a pro-Russian "Donetsk Republic", as indicated by the passport of the die-hard partisan fighter. The title of the neat mini-film in English would be something like "They Came In Vain". "They" of course being Ukrainian fascists.

As far as I know, no western media has so far discussed "They Came In Vain", nor its predecessor, last year´s Youtube-hit about a civil war in Ukraine in 2015, that was actually produced in early 2012!

The enemy of the Donetsk Republic partisans is further identified in the clip released three days ago by "Donetsky Partizan" i.e. the same Youtube-persona that released "They Came In Vain". The main focus is on a segment that obviously was taken from a BBC-documentary, with a Ukrainian fascist kid that makes the "threat" towards Russians easy to grasp:

In this clip the focus is on the THREAT. The clip is a trailer for a coming, longer film.

I would like to see comments here below re. the many details in "They Came In Vain" and links to any interesting articles about the clips. I have already found some in Russian (on Fontanka and KP) but would very much like to read more thoughts about these clips.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Swedish Special Forces Snatch Kremlin Secret

Probable inspirational source.

You have never before heard of SABBA. That is because SABBA is the most lethal, small and ultra-secret special forces unit in the world. This elite of the elite of the elite consists of Captain K. Karlsson, Private M. Karlsson and Private Karlsson-on-the-Roof and has just returned by submarine from the ultimate raid.

SABBA got to the Kremlin by parachuting from outer space. Their raid was so successful and so unbelievably stealthy that not even the NSA knows about it until the publication of this blog post.

In the innermost situation room of the Kremlin the Ninja-Vikings found a USB marked SMERSH-SECRET. It contained the soundtrack for a future 3D movie to be called “Putin´s Heroes”. The main theme has a slight resemblance to the theme song of an old American motion picture about WWII (see the clip above). The lyrics - by one “A. Dugin” and to be sung by “the N. Wolves´ Choir” - have just been translated by Swedish military linguists. Here we go:

Obama & Bildt tried to warn me
But I held my head up high
All the time they phoned me
But I only passed them by
They also tried to tweet me
But I guess I didn't care
I burned my iPhone and
Left them shaking there

All the burning bridges that have fallen after me
All the great feelings and the burning memories
Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door
Burning bridges lost forevermore

Yanuk tried to help me get a country
A while ago
When I first lost it I didn't want to go
The spin Nuland gave to me
Really made my day
Now there's nothing left for me to say

All the burning bridges that have fallen after me
All the great feelings and the burning memories
Everyone I left behind each time I closed the door
Burning bridges lost forevermore


Now, seriously speaking, I have very strong feelings about what is happening in Ukraine. I love both Ukraine and Russia. I once even respected Vladimir Putin. FYI I have partly translated and also edited a book that perhaps better than any other book in English explains Ukraine´s 20th century: Victims, Victors.

What is happening is in my opinion insane and one of the greatest tragedies of the early 21st century. I can in no way see how invading Ukraine will be of any benefit to Russia. In fact, I can´t even see how it could be of any lasting benefit to the Kremlin. But instead of writing a serious blog post about my feelings I decided to try something else, inventing a crazy soundtrack for a particularly crazy war. And it is getting real hard to think up new crazy ideas now that Russian state media are using a dozen unarmed Swedes in their propaganda against Ukraine, to quote the Voice of Russia: “The rebel government in Ukraine is not even able to exercise sovereignty within its own borders, as Swedish Neo-Nazi groups have now begun to enter the country for militant training”. Note that the tiny Swedish volunteer group, a dozen guys, has even been transformed into “groups”. In spite of the microscopic size this group has even been debated in the Russian Federation Council: “Today's meeting of the Federation Council was an incredible sight to behold. Man after Soviet-looking man mounted the podium to deliver a short diatribe against...you name it. Against Ukrainian fascism, against Swedes…” Even after attention in several Swedish newspapers and on TV the “Swedish Ukraine volunteers” have just 245 followers on Facebook (March 3). There's nothing left for me to say…

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Swedish Volunteers In Crimea

The grave of a major in the Red Army, born and raised in Sweden. He served in Crimea.

Crimea is back in the news for sure. Balaclavas worldwide are only one largely forgotten reminder of how much Crimea has meant for military history. I happen to have met a Swedish SS-volunteer who was in Crimea and I have stood by the grave (see above) of a Swede who was on the opposing side there...

The name "balaclava" comes from the town of Balaklava near the magnificent city of Sevastopol. The HQ of both the Ukrainian Naval Forces and Russia's Black Sea Fleet are located in this city... Other reasons for Crimea´s military fame is the Charge of the Light Brigade, later this year it will be 160 years ago. The charge took place during the same war that produced the balaclava, the Crimean War of 1853-1856. Oddly enough a woman is the best remembered person from that war, i.e. in English-speaking countries. Her name: Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. She came to prominence while serving as a nurse in the Crimean War.

During the Russian Civil War of 1917-1923 Crimea changed hands a number of times. It was in Crimea that some of the bloodiest fighting took place, plus mass executions.

During WWII Crimea was in the big news both during 1941, 1942 and 1945. Sevastopol held out against the Germans from October 1941 until 4 July 1942 when the Germans finally captured the city. In spite of that great loss the Crimean mountains remained a resistance stronghold until the end of the German occupation of Crimea. BTW the SS had all sorts of loony ideas about the mystic significance of Crimea. Finally, the Yalta Conference, also called the Crimea Conference, held in February 1945, was the BIG World War II meeting that deciced a lot about post-war Europe.

Now, in February 2014, there is talk about Swedish Nationalists/National Socialists on their way to Ukraine to support the nationalist party Svoboda as foreign volunteers. Although a fighting role is not at all promised by the organizers their words about volunteers ring familiar and I would therefore like to remind of the last time Ukraine, and especially Crimea, saw Swedish volunteers. Those volunteers are documented in English in Swedes at War (in Swedish Svenskar i krig) by Lennart Westberg and yours truly. What will probably come as surprise for most readers of the book is that in Ukraine there were Swedes both in the Waffen-SS and in the Red Army. The highest ranking of the latter, Anders Gustafsson (photo above), served in Crimea. Another fact is that most Swedish-speakers who fought in Ukraine were not volunteers but had been drafted. They were from the rather unknown Swedish minority group in Ukraine. Some fought in the Wehrmacht and some in the Red Army.

Thus, you will by now understand my great interest in the area. But let me mention another reason - that the Crimean War, in spite of its name, managed to spread both to the Baltic and the Arctic. In fact, even the Russian Kola Peninsula was shelled by the Royal Navy as a part of the Crimean War. Considering the many and very dispersed battles of that war the name of the war is quite misleading.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Swedish Divers Located WWII Weapons

I was just interviewed by the local paper Bärgslagsbladet/Arboga Tidning about a WWII story they are currently doing. A smaller local paper has reported with photographs that divers have located both German and Italian WWII weapons dumped in a lake.

Some minutes ago I verified that the photographed weapons indeed are of Italian and German origin. But I sure would like to know more how they got from North Africa to Sweden. In Spökpatrullen/Ghost Patrol about the Long Range Desert Group, written by Karl-Gunnar Norén and yours truly, both the depicted Italian and German weapons are to be found. Seems like Sweden was visited by the Long Range Dumping Group...

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Afghanistan War Ended 25 Years Ago

A photo I took of my fellow tankers reading about the end of the war in Afghanistan.

Today my mind is wandering back to my tanker days 1988-89, at the start of which the Soviet Army was still very much present in Afghanistan. Today it is exactly 25 years since the last Soviet tankers left that country.

I thought it was something special to read about the Soviet withdrawal from Afghanistan during one of our last exercises in Arctic Sweden, and therefore I took the above photo. The main headline on the front page of our conscript magazine simply reads "Slutet" i.e. "The End" with a Soviet soldier and flag. Since then I have read quite a few books about war in Afghanistan and the strongest ones I have described in this post, save one. I´d like to add Afgantsy, The Russians in Afghanistan 1979-89 by Rodric Braithwaite, a book that I mention and recommend in my latest book (so far only available in Swedish).

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

The THREE Swedish Lenin Monuments

Also a monument of sorts, the Soviet book in Swedish about Lenin in Sweden.

Today page two of Sweden´s largest morning paper, Dagens Nyheter, is largely about Vladimir Lenin in Stockholm. The online article mentions nothing about the monument in Stockholm to the memory of his visit on April 13, 1917.

However, in the paper edition there is a small item about the Stockholm Lenin monument, located by the main entrance of the Museum of Modern Art, in Swedish Moderna museet. But neither online nor on paper is there any mention of the other two Lenin monuments we have here in Sweden. One of them is well known among locals and is also present on the internet, the 3,7 meter tall Lenin statue in Vittsjö in Hässleholm Municipality in southernmost Sweden. The third one is the least known one, because I have found nothing about it in any books, nor anything online. So, let me hereby present the "unknown" Swedish Lenin memorial plaque, inside the railway station in Haparanda on the border Sweden-Finland.

The text on the Lenin plaque in Haparanda states: "Here Lenin passed through Haparanda on April 15, 1917 on his way from exile in Switzerland to Petrograd in Russia". Click on the photo to view it a bit larger.

Friday, January 31, 2014

Swedish Marines, Who Are They?

Swedish marines conquering the world without a shot being fired.

The "Grease Lightning" video made by Swedish marines in Afghanistan has within a few days been watched by millions around the globe. But are there really marines in Sweden? Well, sort of. I have written about them in two of my books, one of them available in English.

Strictly speaking, Sweden has no marines. But it does have amphibious soldiers belonging to the now (sadly) only 1-battalion strong Amphibious Corps. In Swedish this type of soldier is called an amfibiesoldat and we have become rather used to this expression - it came about in the year 2000 when the Amphibious Corps was created from the Coastal Artillery.

But saying "amphibious soldier" sounds a bit strange as there are already two designations in the English language for this type of soldier, i.e. marine and naval infantryman. Thus the unofficial and more practical "Swedish marines".

I have written a book explaining the history and traditions of all Nordic elite units (Elitförband i Norden) including of course the Amphibious Corps, but it is not yet available in English. However, Swedes at War, available in English since 2010, does include some spectacular Swedish marines, such as Maths Holmström, decorated with the Order of the French Legion of Honour. Another extraordinary person in our book is Kurt Björklund, who as a Swedish volunteer in No. 6 Commando, Royal Marines, stepped ashore in Normandy on June 6, 1944.

One of the largest photos in Swedes at War actually shows three Swedish marines not unlike the now world-famous dancing Swedish marines. These marines are in the chapter "Sequels and Successors" and are shown on patrol in Chad in 2008. These kind of UN/NATO/EU-missions have largely replaced the wars in which Swedes volunteered in 1914-1945.