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«European Union Sanctions Lists against Russian Citizens Have No Legal Basis»: Interview with Johan Backman, Finnish political and human rights activist

Mira Terada, head of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, interviewed Johan Backman, a public figure, representative of the LDPR in Finland, and founder of the Anti-Fascist Committee of Finland. The head of the Foundation found out from Backman why the Finnish secret services provide the mainstream media with almost all information about people and what this can lead to, why the whole world laughs at Finland’s plans to join NATO and who is behind the large-scale repressions against Russian-speaking citizens in the Baltic states.

«Санкционные списки Евросоюза против граждан РФ не имеют под собой никаких юридических оснований»: интервью главы Фонда борьбы с репрессиями с Йоханом Бекманом, финским политологом и правозащитником, изображение №1

Mira Terada: Hello, dear Johan! Thank you for agreeing to the interview. Please tell our viewers and readers about what you do?

Johan Backman: I am a Finnish political analyst, social scientist, book publisher, human rights activist and representative of the Donetsk People’s Republic and the Luhansk People’s Republic in Finland.

M.T.: You are known for your publications on Russian relations with Finland and the Baltic states. Please tell us, have you encountered restrictions on freedom of speech in your professional activities?

J.B.: Yes, it already started in the 90s, when the anti-Russian groups in Finland began to persecute me. In fact, they persecuted all the institutions with which I cooperated in Finland.

There was colossal persecution in the Finnish press and quite serious attempts to discredit me.

It was all unsuccessful, of course, but those activities against me still exist. Unfortunately, many of my colleagues, also political analysts, human rights activists who also protect the interests of the stability of relations between our countries, many of them were, unfortunately, actually destroyed, because if harassment and persecution continues for years… People react differently to harassment in press. Everyone has relatives who can also become victims of it. So this is a very difficult job. But I’m alive and well. Of course, thanks to you, because Russian journalists have always supported me, and this is very important. I also supported you, so I am very grateful to you.

M.T.: Thank you for your work. Please comment on how freedom has changed in the European media over the past year. What are the repressions and persecutions against independent journalists connected with?

J.B.: Yes, indeed, there is a very interesting split in our media in the West. They are divided into the mainstream media that support the liberal ideology, extremist liberalism of NATO, the European Union and other organizations. On the other hand, there are so-called alternative media that want to do normal journalistic work and just tell what’s going on. Such a split exists absolutely everywhere in the West: in America, in Germany, Finland, Sweden. Both mainstream media and alternative media can be found everywhere. The mainstream media is becoming even worse. This is actually some kind of totalitarian intelligence services. They are persecuting people. The big problem is that the mainstream media have the right to create colossal databases of people, which they can then exchange with the secret services.

For example, almost all state registries in Finland are open to mainstream media journalists. Journalists can take any information from there and then store it in their databases.

This is a very big problem. We all know about the Myrotvorets website. This is also a database. This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are a lot of such databases, and all of them are in the hands of the enemies of Russia, the enemies of democracy. Now we need to talk as much as possible about these databases and the misuse of this information.

M.T.: What do you think is the reason for the large-scale repressions against Russian-speaking citizens that have been taking place in the Baltic countries for several years now? Why are the rights of Russian speakers not protected in any way?

J.B.: Unfortunately, the persecution of Russians began in Estonia, Latvia, the Baltic States already in the 90s, when these new pseudo-states were created. Of course, they need a pseudo-history. Let me remind you how South Africa was created. It has its own pseudo-history. In South Africa, for many years there was a system of apartheid, that is, the actual persecution of black people. They had a very strange rationale for all this. They said that historically whites were the first inhabitants of South Africa, so they have the right to persecute black people. Imagine what a falsification of history. Whites are the first inhabitants of Africa.

Therefore, in the same way, the persecution of Russians was based on the falsification of history, the falsification of the history of the Second World War or the Great Patriotic War.

It started already in the 90s. Various methods are being used. First there were people deprived of citizenship. This is the first method. People were deprived of political rights. There is persecution by the secret services, bullying in the press. Although everyone knows that, for example, half of the population of Tallinn are Russians. Russians can live there normally, because in fact it is a Russian city. And at the same time, the country is pursuing such a painful policy. The methods of apartheid have evolved so that they wage war not only against the alive but also against the dead. They wage war against the graves, against the monuments of the war. The development of this apartheid was Ukraine, or what was left of it. There methods of persecution are much worse. There are Nazi units, national battalions, the cult of Bandera, the Right Sector, and so on. The European Parliament is now issuing absolutely impossible declarations. I recently read about the new sanctions list. You and I are not there yet, but judging by what they write there, we will soon find ourselves in it too. This list simply indicates the name and surname of the person, as well as a brief explanation from journalists about how bad this person is. No legal basis. Sanctions are also persecution. The European Union recently banned Russian tourists from entering. There is even a quote that Russian tourists are not allowed to walk around European cities. Who used to forbid someone to walk somewhere? Previously, the Nazis forbade Jews from walking in parks, walking on sidewalks, and visiting public places. Next, Russians will be banned from walking on sidewalks in Europe. So far, there are 10 categories of Russian citizens who can cross the EU border, that is, they have not completely closed themselves off from Russians. Now the Ukrainianization of the European Union is underway. Soon the European Union will become one big Ukraine.

M.T.: As a social scientist and publicist, you are also engaged in human rights activities. Please tell us what you are working on now and what the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee founded by you is doing?

J.B.: The Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee was established in 2007. Then our organization began to cooperate with the anti-fascist committees of Estonia, Latvia and other countries. Even then there was quite an active anti-fascist activity. By the way, we even visited Ukraine. I was there several times as a member of the anti-fascist movement. Finland is a small country, but we wanted to raise these topics. We wanted people to know what Estonian apartheid is. Our politicians behaved very cunningly. They either really did not know, or pretended not to know, that a huge number of Russians in Estonia and Latvia live without citizenship. These are people who were born in Estonia, who work there and pay taxes, but they do not have citizenship. It is a mockery. Russians are being deported from Estonia now. People are being deported for their opinions and Facebook posts. That is why the work of our committee is very important. Our committee is an influential political organization. We hold conferences, pickets and publish books. I’m a book publisher. I know the whole process, that’s why we’ve got so many books. By the way, a book recently published by a well-known journalist in Finland about the history of Estonian apartheid, about how it was created, who created it, and how it developed before the start of the civil war in Ukraine. It’s all one process.

M.T.: You founded the committee almost immediately after the publication of the book “The Bronze Soldier” about the events of the bronze night in Estonia. Please tell us what was the background of the conflict, and why did the Estonian special services declare you persona non grata?

J.B.: In fact, I was not declared persona non grata. They simply deported me twice and said that I pose a threat to the national security of Estonia. I added this to my CV. For me, this is an achievement. The deportation process itself was unpleasant. At the same time, I wrote the book “The Bronze Soldier”, which presents the prehistory of the bronze night. It talks about the Nazi occupation of Estonia and northern Finland. Since 2006 and 2007, we began to talk about the need to objectively describe the history of the Nazi occupation of Estonia, Latvia, Karelia during the Great Patriotic War, the system of concentration camps and the activities of German Nazis in Finland during World War II, about Finland’s participation in the blockade of Leningrad. Historians began to support me in this. More than 10 years have passed since then. A new generation of historians agree that Finland participated in the blockade of Leningrad. Before that, Finnish historians said that Finland never did anything wrong, was quiet and helped everyone. Unfortunately, Finland was an ally of Nazi Germany. The geopolitical position of Finland is very important. It is located north of Leningrad. Naturally, the Nazis used Finland.

M.T.: In your book, you stated that Estonia has no future as an independent state, which is why it has been criticized by a number of Estonian politicians. Justify, please, your point of view.

J.B.: Indeed, 12 or 13 years ago this phrase was discussed in the press. I do not understand why Estonia cannot accept all the inhabitants of the country as citizens of the state. Russians don’t mind living with Estonians. There are many mixed marriages. It’s the same in Latvia. What is the problem? Why not just live together? Why do they persecute someone? Why do they make unfounded accusations? Such a state has no future. Now there is Ukrainization.

Estonia fell under the occupation of America. Special services work there, NATO centers, apartheid centers have been placed there.

Now it is not clear whether Estonia is a state or something else.

M.T.: After the beginning of the special military operation, the Baltic countries began to ban the symbols of the great victory and began to deny the involvement of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazi Germany. What are they trying to achieve by demolishing monuments to the heroes-liberators and banning St. George ribbons?

J.B.: They are afraid of the living and afraid of the dead, who have long been in the grave. They are afraid of these monuments, so they want to destroy them. It is very strange to be afraid of the dead. In Tallinn, they wanted to dig up the graves and move them to another place. Finland has a lot of monuments of common history with Russia and the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, some of these monuments were dismantled. In the city of Turku, the bust of Lenin was removed. Many monuments were removed in the city of Kotka. There are many monuments left to our common emperors, for example, Alexander II in the center of Helsinki. This is a very large and beautiful monument. In Helsinki there is still a monument to Alexander the First. In Turku there is a monument of friendship between Finland and the Soviet Union. There are many such monuments. In the city of Kotka there is also a bust of Popov, the inventor of radio broadcasting. This is a Russian inventor who worked in Finland then. He lived in Kotka, and the first experiences of radio broadcasting in the world were carried out between Kotka and the island of Hogland. Therefore, in Kotka there is a bust of Popov. Therefore, I ask Russophobes why they listen to the radio, this is a Russian invention. They can remove the monument to Popov, but then they must stop listening to the radio.

M.T.: Is it possible to say that by canceling the joint Soviet past, the Baltic countries once again prove their commitment to Nazi Germany?

J.B.: This is an interesting point of view. They somehow show loyalty to Hitler all the time. This is very important from a psychological point of view. The Finns had it too. You need to understand that in the 30s and 40s the atmosphere was different. Everywhere they wrote that the end of the Soviet Union would come soon. The same thing is happening now. The European Parliament openly says that the end of Russia will soon come. Finnish MEP from the Swedish People’s Party Nils Torvalds gave an interview to the Finnish radio channel, in which he spoke about the imminent collapse of Russia. They act just like Hitler. In Finland, the situation is slightly different. Finland began to treat Russia better after almost 80 years of good neighborliness. We chose a different way after the war. Even during the war, after the Stalingrad, the Finnish leadership realized that soon Hitler would be defeated. After that, Finland became an ally of the USSR. We fought against the Nazis in Finland. After that, Finland and the Soviet Union established friendly relations. Now the Finnish government is behaving strangely, having decided to end all relations with Russia. There are still diplomats, of course. I think we will soon return to good neighborly relations, and everything will be fine. Now the most important thing is our civil diplomacy, our communication with you, and communication with Russian journalists in general, debates and tourism. Tourism is now of key importance. Recently there was a group of 50 Finnish tourists in St. Petersburg.

M.T.: Please comment on the events that are currently taking place in Serbia. Is this connected with the so-called Atlanticist terror against Serbia, which you consider one of the main threats to humanity?

J.B.: Yes, it’s connected. They implemented their plan in three stages. First there was the liquidation of Yugoslavia, then the collapse of the Soviet Union and the continuation of the collapse of the Soviet Union, that is, what they are doing now. One of the ideologists and initiators of all this was the American journalist Anne Applebaum. She recently published an article titled “Russia Must Die.” Can you imagine what things liberal journalists write? Russian journalists do not write that America must die. I have not seen this. There is criticism of America, but no one writes that it should disappear. In America, they write that Russia must die. They went crazy.

M.T.: In Russia, the American authorities are criticized, not the Americans themselves. With regard to American citizens, the Russian media simply cannot make such statements. The citizens of America have themselves become hostages of their current government.

J.B.: This is what I mean. Normal journalists would not write such things, but the American journalist Anne Applebaum wrote that Russia must die. This is the new Hitlerism. This is at the level of a new disease.

M.T.: At the level of genocide.

J.B.: Naturally, at the level of genocide. They are considering using nuclear weapons against Russia. They are trying to justify it. This is the dehumanization of Russians. So far, the Finns also believe that the Americans have gone crazy. Not ordinary citizens of America, but American elites.

M.T.: Many experts and geopolitical analysts agree that the aggravation of the situation in Serbia is directly or indirectly related to the intervention of the Americans, who are trying to force Belgrade to abandon its pro-Russian position. What do you think about this?

J.B.: The persecution of Serbs and Serbia is one of the main geopolitical projects of America. Previously, the most important goals were the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the Soviet Union. Now they are using Ukraine against Russia. Now the Americans are still continuing the Serbian project.

They are using the pseudo-state of Kosovo to put pressure on Serbia.

Something must be done about this. This cannot continue. A lot depends on the US elections. Although they want to jail Trump and open cases against him, I hope there is a chance that he can win the election. Trump was quite tough on Russia, but he did it differently. It is not certain that his victory in the elections will help, but there may be some changes in the situation. Trump wanted to negotiate. He said that the inhabitants of Crimea probably wanted to join Russia.

M.T.: In early December, the head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry submitted a draft law on the country’s accession to NATO to the parliament for consideration. In your opinion, will Finland join NATO and how will this affect the foreign policy of the Alliance?

J.B.: The whole world is already laughing at Finland’s plans to join NATO. In the news, almost every day they write that Finland is about to join NATO, but there are no results. In March it was said that Finland would join NATO in two weeks. Almost a year has passed, and Finland is still not in NATO. The Turks say that perhaps in a year.

M.T.: Turkey is waiting for the extradition of the Kurds, while Finland is reluctant to fulfill its promises.

J.B.: Finland cannot fulfill the condition about the Kurds. It is a fact. Our human rights activists who support the Kurds began to insult the Turks and Erdogan. Probably Turkey didn’t like it either. Why do they demand Turkey’s consent to join NATO, and at the same time insult the President of Turkey? So they don’t get anything. The decision to join the Alliance comes into force only after ratification by all NATO members. This is first. Secondly, the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty and the 1992 Treaty between the Republic of Finland and the Russian Federation on the basis for relations prohibit Finland from joining NATO. This is contrary to international law. It’s against the law. This project was invented by our Atlanticists. It’s a shame they forgot about the people. There was no referendum. They published fake opinion polls almost every day, where at first 50% were in favor of joining NATO, then 60%, then 80%. There is no threat from Russia to Finland. Everything is quiet. There is nothing at all on the border. This is the failure of the NATO project. Very ashamed. They should be ashamed. I’m talking about Sanna Marin and so on.

M.T.: During the conference of the Foundation to Battle Injustice, which took place in April this year, you spoke about false and fake public opinion polls, which became the basis for Finland’s entry into NATO. How has the attitude of the Finns towards joining the Alliance changed since then?

J.B.: I don’t know. Everyone here just laughs at it. How can you try to join NATO every week? Everyone is already laughing at Sanna Marin. Have you seen these dances? She has a very interesting position that she can do anything without consequences. Now they are looking for a new post for her, as a UN envoy, for example.