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Could Sweden be the latest country to receive a dose of Russian vitriol? Moscow is upset at a new Swedish Internet law, which the Kremlin says is directed against Russia. The law, which will go into effect in January, gives Sweden the right to monitor all international phone calls, e-mails, and faxes going through its territory.

Sweden is one of Europe's largest Internet hubs and an estimated 80 percent of Russian Internet traffic goes through the county. According to a recent RIA Novosti report, the chairman of the Federation Council's International Affairs Committee, Mikhail Margelov, has said Europe is planning to steal Russians' commercial and personal information:

"Some kind of a new, modern Berlin Wall, without bricks or cement, is being built in Europe on the borders with Russia.... That's Europe for you -- to steal and resell while observing political correctness."


The Russians aren't the only ones annoyed by Sweden's new law. Denmark, Finland, and Norway have also voiced concern and one Finnish-Swedish telecoms operator has decided to move its servers to Finland.

Not entirely clear what the Russians will and can do, apart from directing their traffic elsewhere (probably not easy) or boycotting the emerging essentials of Russia's new middle class: Volvo and Ikea.

And it's difficult for Russia to take a moral high ground when it's been "spying" on its own citizens for years through SORM.

-- Luke Allnutt

About This Blog

Written by RFE/RL editors and correspondents, Transmission serves up news, comment, and the odd silly dictator story. While our primary concern is with foreign policy, Transmission is also a place for the ideas -- some serious, some irreverent -- that bubble up from our bureaus. The name recognizes RFE/RL's role as a surrogate broadcaster to places without free media. You can write us at transmission+rferl.org

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