Moscow reviews its stance on Sweden's NATO accession
By Fatima Davis
Until recently, it was confidently asserted in the Russian press that Sweden's accession to NATO was indefinitely postponed. For instance, as early as October 21, giants of the Russian Media "Izvestia" and the RIA Agency, among others, engaged in discussions with various experts.
They concluded that Turkey had not ratified Sweden's application to join NATO. Ankara was expected to delay the ratification until it received assurances from Washington regarding delivering F-16 fighter jets and other related matters.
Notable individuals who shared this perspective included military expert and reserve colonel Victor Litovkin, Alina Sbitneva, and Razil Guzaerov from the Near and Post-Soviet East Department of the Institute of Scientific Information of Social Sciences Russian Academy of Sciences.
There was also consideration of a potential ban on the ratification of Sweden's NATO application in the Turkish parliament, with the head of the "Vatan" party, Dogu Perincek, rejecting Sweden's NATO membership and even proposing a withdrawal from NATO altogether.
Two days after these statements, on October 23, Andrei Kortunov, the Russian Council for International Affairs scientific head, related the NATO membership application to Turkey's trade relations with the West. According to Kortunov, President Erdogan received something from the US and the West, although the specific details of this exchange remained undisclosed since the negotiations were held in secret.
For the Russian Federation, the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO is a matter of great emotional and economic significance. This expansion effectively doubled Russia's border with NATO, posing additional border protection challenges.
However, in light of the events that have already transpired, Russia now faces the challenge of reconciling its earlier stance. As early as May 16, 2022, Russian President Vladimir Putin declared that Russia had no issue with Finland and Sweden's NATO membership. Nonetheless, he emphasized that the expansion of NATO's military infrastructure would inevitably provoke a reaction from Russia.