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JohanBäckman: Pandemic shows that European political system does not work

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JohanBäckman: Pandemic shows that European political system does not work


Svetlana Smetanina

The well-known Finnish political scientist asks the question: why the leadership of the EU and the NATO were helpless in front of the coronavirus. He also commented on the demolition of the monument to Marshal Konev in Prague, which the local authorities carried out on the eve of the Victory Day. According to Bäckman, this glaring fact deserves not only condemnation, but also legal prosecution.

- We see that the situation with coronavirus is the worst in Italy and Spain today. The leadership of these countries accuses the European Union of not providing them any assistance. What problems did COVID-19 help to reveal in Europe?

- Europe is now in a deep crisis. And first of all, it is a management crisis. The Europeans are very upset that the EU authorities and the NATO, which must be able to withstand crisis situations, on the contrary, seem to have disappeared. There is no support either from the leadership of the European Union or from the NATO. There is not even moral assistance - no comment in support. The only one who will help us is Shoigu (Minister of Defense of the Russian Federation). And I'm not joking. As you know, the Russian Ministry of Defense sent 15 military planes with doctors and medical equipment to Italy.

Johan Bäckman. Photo credit:

We see that the pandemic is posing a mortal threat for older people. In Finland, we now have the same situation in nursing homes, where many elderly people die. I have just checked the latest statistics, and it shows that, in relation to the number of people, the mortality rate from coronavirus in Finland is 14 times higher than in Russia. Almost 6 million people live in Finland, 48 died as of April 11, compared to 106 deaths in Russia, where 146 million live. That is, we see that the death rate in Finland from this disease is relatively high, but it is even higher in Sweden, Italy, Spain.

The pandemic has shown that the political system in Europe is not working. We see that complete chaos reigns in European governments. The Finnish government is also unable to cope with the situation. It is filled by inexperienced people who fail to work in such conditions. And the gender of these people doesn’t matter. Only the result matters. And today in the political sphere of Europe there are a lot of people who are interested only in self-promotion.

I myself got stuck in Moscow and cannot return to Finland because the borders are closed. But I have nothing against it, because I feel safe in Russia.

In Moscow and the Moscow Region there are clear instructions on how to observe the self-isolation regime. Russia has the coronavirus operational headquarters, which constantly provides complete information about what is happening. In Finland, there is no centralized source of information about what is happening in connection with the pandemic. And the big problem is that the population is not given clear instructions on how to behave so as not to get infected and sick. On the contrary, the President of Finland recently tweeted that he walked around the city. But why did he go for a walk if an infection spreads in the country? By age, he is at risk - he is 71 years old, such walks can be dangerous for him. I dont understand this. The president of the country, on the contrary, should give an example to citizens on how to behave in this situation.

No quarantine has been announced in Finland. Photo credit:

- There is no self-isolation regime in Finland? What do authorities say to the population - how should they behave?

We have no clear instructions. Firstly, the self-isolation is Russias peculiar feature. This term cannot be translated into Finnish or English. This is neither a quarantine nor curfew. At the same time, this is a clear recommendation to people on how to behave. As for Finland, it falls somewhere between the self-isolation of Russians and the absence of any restrictions of the Swedes. In any case, everything is very confusing. Finns, like Russians, also love to live in the countryside. Therefore, many fled to the countryside during this time. Our authorities now prohibit living in summer cottages. They explain that this can be dangerous due to the coronavirus. But many left for their cottages anyway. And the residents of rural areas began to protest.

Later the authorities decided to isolate the capital. The army and police set up roadblocks at the entrance to Helsinki. But as a result, no full isolation happened, because there was a constant movement. That is complete chaos. And no one understands what is really happening. Authorities sent letters to all citizens regarding the fight against coronavirus. But they only talked about the conditions under which a person can become infected, and it was not written there that the most important thing now is to stay at home. Therefore, people until recently walked freely, and bars and restaurants worked - they were closed only a week ago.

In addition, at the height of the pandemic, the Finnish government decides that it is imperative to accept the refugees who are now in Greece, and who got there from refugee camps in Turkey. That is, this decision is now a priority - to accept refugees when their own people die.

A monument to Marshal Konev was demolished in Prague. Photo credit:

- It was at the height of the coronavirus epidemic in Prague that the city authorities decided to demolishthe monument to Marshal Konev- the Soviet commander who liberated this city from the Nazis. And they did it on the eve of the 75th anniversary of the victory in the Great Patriotic War. How to explain such a step?

- They wanted to use the occasion - the anniversary of the victory - in order to carry out their provocation. They had planned this for a long time. As an assistant professor of criminology and as an assistant professor of the sociology of law, I can analyze this situation from the point of view of legislation. Firstly, this is a gross violation of international law and an insult to monuments. This is not permitted by international standards. Secondly, this is the theft of property - they do not have the right to steal the monument and just transfer it to some private museum. Thirdly, it is inciting hatred against Russians. Moreover, everything was done in the most mocking way. For example, Finnish law very strictly regulates all kinds of actions related to public incitement to hatred against national minorities.

This also a gross violation of author's rights. The authors of the monument created it for certain purposes. Copyright law states that it is impossible to distort the initial idea and mock monuments. And copyrights are also very strictly observed in Europe when they want to use art objects for some mocking purposes. This way, through the demolition of the monument, the memory of the person himself, Marshal Konev, is also insulted. Konevs relatives can go to court in this regard.

- The head of the local council mockingly declared that the monument was demolished because it was without a mask ...

- In many countries there are laws that strictly prohibit in any way mocking the dead, insulting them. This is a very arrogant and rude provocation by the Czech authorities. And it must be prosecuted legally.


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