The Kola peninsula. Lesson thirty

Despite its large land mass and the fact that Russia has ports in all four directions, the number of ports are relatively small. The usefulness of the Russian ports are also often limited due to both climatic conditions and the long transport distances.

In the north, only the larger ports in Murmansk and Arkhangelsk have international status, and of these, only Murmansk on the Kola Peninsula in the furthest north can handle regular traffic all year round. At the Arkhangelsk area in the bay south of the Kola Peninsula, a thick, impenetrable ice is formed in the winter.

A statistical assumption is that the Russian revenue for the ports in the Baltic Sea and the Black Sea is four times as large as that for the ports of Murmansk and Arkhangelsk in the Barents Sea.

The above was written by FOI associates Tomas Malmlöf & Johan Tejpar in their FOI publication ”Ett skepp kommer lastat” published in 2013.

Military in Kola

The following information is from 2015 and it gives a picture of the importance Russia attribute to the Barents region. These are bases planned and/or existing in 2015:
The Alakurtti airbase with the Marine bombardiers.
The newly deployed 80:th independent motorised rifle infantry brigade, one of Russias two Arctic brigades at Alakurtti.
The other newly deployed brigade, the Arctic 200:th independent mechanized infantry brigade, is located in Pechenga, former finnish Petsamo, and it is adjacent to Norway.
13 Airbases and 10 air defense radar stations have been constructed or were to be constructed on Russia’s Arctic coast, according to PISM (Polish Institute of International Affairs).
They also have an Air defense division, a coastal missile defense and a missile regiment. At least they were supposed to be built in the Kola peninsula in 2015.

A deployed S-500 Triumph in Kola can cover the Swedish airbase Kallax in Luleå, if the S-500 is deployed near the Finnish border. But it is not optimal, to try to shoot down cargo-airplanes approaching Kallax, with the S-500 system deployed in Russia. If you fly under a certain altitude while coming in to land at Kallax the Russian radarbeam is going to fail to detect you because your flying in radar shadow. We are talking about altitudes under ~9,000 m, so it is not realistic to think that an S-500 can do the job since the cargo-airplane under any circumstances will come in to land under an altitude of 9,000 m, thus under the radar horizon. Both the 400 km range variant of the S-400 and the 600 km range S-500 are optimized for interception of ballistic missiles, not shooting down airplanes, for these reasons. There are other S-400 variants with shorter range for shooting down enemy aircrafts. Air defense missile systems are used or should best be used for defensive purposes. It’s not an offensive weapon.

Not even the exit and the entrance to the Baltic Sea through the Danish Great Belt and the Swedish-Danish Öresund or even the Kiel canal plays any absolute role if Russia are developing the infrastructure in the Murmansk region, with its ports, its navy and its Airports.

NATO can lock in Russia in the Baltic region, if Russia tries something fatal in the Baltic region, leading to issues. Has the Murmansk railway to Severomorsk been kept in condition? Has the road to Severomorsk been maintained lately? Has the Port of Severomorsk been developed? Has the airport in Murmansk been developed? And so on.

The actions speak for themselves, according to the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), 16 deep-water ports will be built on Russia’s Arctic coast.

Of course reality is that NATO is probably not going to blockade Russia in the Baltic region, because to many NATO countries are dependent on Russian energy. The Netherlands with its port in Rotterdam is a European energy hub. What remains are sanctions, but how effective would that be? Thus, there would only be one solution – war.

 

Homework:

What do you think? Do you think the biggest implications with a bypass of the Baltic region will be military and economically coercive in the Barents and/or in the Baltic region, or do you think the implications will be just economical? Explain your conclusions please.

Sources;
PISM (Polish Institute of International Affairs), 2015.
The FOI publication ”Ett skepp kommer lastat”, published in 2013. Cited with permission.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

3) To be or NATO be. Lesson twentyeight

I don’t think that an attack against Sweden will be of a military nature, but the attack will come in the form of a prolonged cyber operation and/or through an economic conspiracy against us. The only thing that can discourage the Russians from committing a cyber attack on Sweden is if we have an ability to attack Russia with the same means.

Georgia’s president Mikhail Saakashvili believed that NATO would intervene if Russia attacked Georgia militarily. But Georgia is more isolated localized geographically because there are only two access roads by land from the Nato country Turkey. Plus, the airport at Georgia’s capital Tbilisi is isolated. In addition, Turkey has a long history of turncoat policy regardless of the consequences for northern NATO countries and others, and it is the Turks who controls the straits of the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus into the Black Sea. A NATO intervention was hardly possible.

Georgia 2008 was the famous “litmus test”. It will of course be more of a risk-taking for Russia to attack Sweden before we can join NATO than it was to attack the isolated Georgia. But players come in plenty. Professor Rolf Tamnes, Norwegian historian and professor at the Department of Defense Studies (Institutt for forsvarsstudier – IFS), emphasizes that Russia does not trust Swedish non-alignment, since the extensive cuts in the Swedish defense force is considered as an incentive to seek external help, for example from NATO and the United States.

Apparently, it is not clear abroad what Swedish “non-alignment” stands for. In my opinion, it stands for freedom to choose alliance partners according to our own preferences. We should make this clear to the world, even if the outside world then will reject us even more, because uncertainties benefit us even less. We are sitting in the fox trap regardless.

How may Russia evaluate their geo-economic field and balance it with the geomilitary field?

1) Russia prefer to look at it as if the outside world is dependent on what they have to offer in the form of Russian gas and oil, but I believe that they realize that Germany may make themselves independent from the geostrategic Gazprom and thus Russia. They must keep the Germans happy.
2) It is almost a required condition that Russia is able to simultaneously attack the entire Baltics and parts of Scandinavia not to mention Iceland, if they intend to be able to count on free passage through Öresund, Kattegat and Skagerack, and they must be able to keep their main trading countries, e.g. the Netherlands and France.
3) This in turn requires that the United States first, nearly lose its superpower status. We therefore have no interest whatsoever in the United States losing its superpower status.

But I think that Sweden as a state must grant access to our territory for US troops on Swedish soil if we are to join NATO. It is not enough to receive a Naval ship visit from time to time, which we could also do as a non-aligned country in peacetime. I am not particularly happy to let 5,000 American hungry hearts invade a Swedish small town or one of our Baltic Sea islands in peacetime. Maybe we can do as Norway and let the US stock up materiel in Swedish bunker rooms?

Homework:

The US may have bases in Sweden as a requirement for a Swedish membership. Above all, an air defense base on one of our Baltic Sea islands and access to our airbases and ports. Otherwise the US will never have the time window to intervene in Scandinavia and even less in the Baltic countries, before Russia has swallowed parts of us. If the United States cannot intervene in time on our latitudes and longitudes, then it makes no sense for us to join NATO and we will probably then be denied membership.

But there is also the possibility to accomodate American service members families and thus unburden some pressure on our communities and our society as a whole. Let them contribute to our society and at the same time make it possible for them to use public services such as hospitals and schools at the same low cost as for Swedes. The schools should even be free of charge. I have absolutely no problems with Americans as a people.

Do you agree or not agree? Please motivate your position.

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

The Baltic states. Lesson twentyfive

In 1989, Estonia had a population of 1,565,000, of which 30,3% were ethnic Russians. In 2007, Estonia had a population of 1,342,000, of which 25.6 percent were ethnic Russians. This means that 130,100 ethnic Russians emigrated out of a population of 474,200 Russians (1989) and that 92,900 Estonians emigrated out of a population of 1,090,700 (1989) between 1989-2007. So the population decline was happening mostly at the guests’ expense (the Russians) even though they did not have any reason to be there from the beginning. However, most of them were forcefully relocated from Russia to the Baltic states during the Soviet era, and they have no fault of their own or their descendants, for living there. There is no one living that can be held accountable, for the country’s demographics and that the ethnic Russian population lives where they live now.

Of course, the ethnic Russian population can be held accountable for their behavior. The Estonians are forced to make the best of the situation. Until a number of years ago, it went well, but in 2007 there was an uprising during the bronze soldier crisis when Estonian authorities wanted to move a bronze statue of a Russian WWII soldier from the center of Tallin to a peripheral cemetery in the capital.

The statue is a symbol of Russian supremacy that has stood since the Soviet era. The Estonians had every right to move the statue, and Russia acted beyond their right when they more than likely targeted the country in an IT attack. Estonia is so IT-integrated that the country is sometimes called E-stonia. Russia, simultaneously, started a large-scale repair work project on the railway at the Russian side of Narva. Look up Narva in your Atlas, it’s a geographically and historically important city! This effectively stopped all rail transports, which very negatively affected Estonia’s economy, as Estonia is a transit country for goods.

Estonia requested help from NATO, and NATO sent professional military IT-technicians to help Estonia defend itself against and recover from these IT attacks. It is this kind of Russian behavior that makes me oppose that Swedes associate with Russians by entering into business contracts with Russia, and so it is understood that if you do business with Russian companies, you are doing business with the Russian mafia, and in the long run, you are jumping into bed with the FSB (KGB’s heir).

At least if you don’t do as IKEA and banish taking and giving of bribes at both high and low levels in Russia and everywhere else. But look at how it’s going for IKEA in Russia. Should honest Swedish companies in Russia be forced to kneel before the Tsar while Russian companies in Sweden should thrive and be allowed to criminalize society? As long as these Swedish companies are not special steel manufacturers or high tech companies of course, because then it is certainly advantageous for Putin that Swedish companies establish themselves in Russia. Can they blame us for avoiding such a situation when they run such a cannon boat diplomacy as they do, put in their own words?

By wanting, intending to, planning and budgeting for, and being able to defend Gotland, we help the Baltic states best. Sweden has helped to thwart Russia’s Baltic “energy blockade”, by placing a power cable between Nybro in Småland to Lithuania, as part of the European Union’s energy policy. At the same time, we could not back up the work with any credible defense, and Russian interferences were common.

The Russian Prosecutor General was to investigate “whether it was legal by the Soviet Union to recognize the Baltic States”. This was reported in Dagens Nyheter on June 30, 2015. The Russian Prosecutor General has previously stated that it was against the law that Crimea was handed over to Ukraine in 1954. Not surprisingly he also claimed that this does not have any legal consequences. Yevgeny Fjodorov and Anton Romanov from Putin’s party “United Russia” have demanded an investigation. The parliament members argued that the decision harmed Russia’s sovereignty and led to the dismembering of the Soviet Union. The two believe that the recognition of the Baltic States was treason and harmed Russia’s sovereignty with the explanation that it were non-constitutional coups that led to the emergence of the Baltic states.

Since when can a state claim that its own laws have priority before the laws of another state and that at the expense of the other state? Now I understand why the official Russian protests against Finland regarding the Finnish courts being biased for Finnish parents to divorce children among Finnish-Russian couples happened. This way the Kremlin has in good time acquired an alibi for its own court decision, which means that Russia can make laws in other countries and maybe even annex them, as they will claim that Finland does against Russia.

According to information from a Swedish resident in the Baltics, a destabilization campaign, which he believes has been initiated by Russia, between Norway and Lithuania, is in progress from July 2015. The campaign is about a discussion about forcibly disposed children with Lithuanian parents in Norway. The campaign had been going on for more than 1½ months and was even at ambassador level. This very much strengthens the alibi theory I describe above. Russia plans to legitimize its security policy for its own people and for the world. At the same time, it reveals Russia’s expansion plans in northern Europe and Scandinavia in all its nakedness, either on the political level alt. on the military level, or both.

The Baltic states also try to profit politically. They declared in early November 2015 that they were going to seek financial compensation from Russia for the socio-economic damage they were suffering during the Soviet occupation in 1940-1991. Russia categorically rejected this thought.

Homework:

There are so many good questions that turns up when you read this, that I don’t know where to start unravel. Contemplate the information and ask your own questions! Part of being an intelligence person is about being able to hold information to yourself, not to become a Big shot, but because you cannot find listeners to your all-wise conclusions. At least that is what you think if you are an intelligence person like me. Remember, you are in training, that means that you are not required to criticize sources. Concentrate on causality and cohesion!

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden

Liberal decadence; Putin. Lesson twentyone

At the end of June and the beginning of July 2015, Putin put in a higher gear and was accusing the West again for depraved liberal decadence. Putin claims that he and Russia maintain a kind of moral conservatism, that contrasts with the western countries’ depraved lifestyles with gay rainbow parades and all that nonsense. But this moral conservatism is obligatory for the individual in Russia. It is not possible to talk about Russian freedom anymore.

Interestingly, Russia, after 2011, according to Russian academy member Vadim Pokrovsky, head of the Federal Center for the Fight against AIDS in Russia, has withdrawn all state funds for HIV/AIDS prevention in the country. This resulted in that the number of HIV-infected Russians increased by ten percent in just one year, and the increase continued. 90,000 new infected people were discovered in 2014 and Pokrovsky said there would be one million HIV-infected Russians by the end of 2015. The medical specialist Pokrovsky expected the actual number to be much higher, perhaps as much as seven times higher. In 2014 alone, 190,000 Russians died of AIDS or AIDS-related diseases. Almost half of those infected with HIV in Russia are drug addicts, but those who catch HIV increasingly acquire it through heterosexual contacts. 3 percent of all Russian men are infected.

Vladimir Putin thus believes that the West is depraved. But at least classic Americans and Swedes believe that we have got a free will, of which we are meant to use. We have the God-given right to choose God or to reject Him, man as well as woman. One cannot force anyone to choose heaven, it does not lead to the heavenly kingdom either for the coercer nor for the coerced!

Therefore, it is we who are right, who let every man and woman decide for themselves how to live their lives, without reprisals from a hypothetic state church or from the politicians. Freedom of agency is so important to God, because God wants you to seek him up of your own free will.

If it then would turn out that we are the same scrap of iron as the Russians, then we at least are only coercive to a much lesser degree, and we are supported by God unlike Putin’s Russia. Those who are the least wicked are also those who are commissioned by God to lead the free world. Traditionally, the Americans have been the only ones who have been able to do so. Therefore, Putin’s new-Roman ambitions will fail, for he does not have God on his side.

Putin’s Russia is more like a corrupt kleptocratic central African country with a consolidated and stable post-colonial rule than it is like America. And I have been so keen on that the United States does not deviate from the straight path, because then it would be all over for everybody. And it appears like it is going to be over soon.

 

Homework:

It is time to confess color. What do you think of the following statement:

”One cannot force anyone to choose heaven, it does not lead to the heavenly kingdom either for the coercer nor for the coerced.”

You might think the above sentence to be unrelated to strategy. But it is not unrelated at all. The manner in which we answer this question says everything about everything. Your answer reveals more about your implied strategy and also tactics than anything else you can say or do. If I know that you are the kind of person who disagree about this statement I also know that I can beat you. You wouldn’t know what hit you if you were a foreign statesman and I would decide that my country should attack your country or your country’s interests! Smack.., you are dead!

Roger M. Klang, defense political Spokesman for the Christian Values Party (Kristna Värdepartiet) in Sweden