Russian media reported that the Russian Foreign Ministry had asked the UN Security Council’s so-called Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee to add Mikael Storsjö, Vice-Chairman of the Finnish-Russian Civic Forum (FINROSFORUM), on its list of international terrorists. According to the Russian statement, Britain, France, and Luxembourg blocked Moscow’s request, however.
Russia justified its request by referring to Mikael Storsjö’s activities in support of the Swedish-registered Islamic news agency, Kavkaz Center. Moscow contends that Kavkaz Center is part of the so-called Caucasus Emirate organisation, which is a party to the armed conflict in the North Caucasus. Swedish authorities have found no illegalities in Kavkaz Center’s activities.
The latest Russian request is a continuation of a long campaign of intimidation against persons that Moscow has linked in one way or another to Kavkaz Center. Russia’s Federal Security Service, FSB, has tried to intimidate Mikael Storsjö and his family by repeatedly breaking into his home and workplace, by sending death threats, and by following them on the street.
This intimidation has been accompanied by a campaign of libel waged by FSB’s local errand boys in the internet and through Russian media outlets. For years, a hate group led by one Johan Bäckman has spread malignant lies about Mikael Storsjö, his friends, friends of friends, and organisations they are associated with. For Mikael and his family, this campaign has not been harmless.
Espionage and intimidation by a foreign power has been criminalised in other Nordic countries. In March 2012, FINROSFORUM, the Finnish Refugee Council, the Refugee Advice Centre, Finnish PEN, and Kiila called for the criminalisation of this sort of activity in Finland as well. What we are witnessing is not a campaign of harassment against individual persons, but an attack against Finnish society as a whole.
Russian Foreign Ministry statement (in Russian):