More debaters believe that the EU should stop importing Russian gas. Photo: Giorgio Galeotti. Source: Wikimedia Commons.

Current debate

Week 15: "Europe's oil and gas kill civilians in Ukraine"

The past week's debate and leadership pages have been dominated by discussions about how the Western world should handle trade in Russian goods. Debaters have also discussed the financial and food crises that have hit developing countries in the wake of the war in Ukraine.

For the Swedes, the freedom debate is no longer about open borders and the dismantling of the welfare state, as it did in the 90s, when Russia continued to exercise its power over Eastern Europe, despite the fall of the Soviet Union. Now the struggle for freedom is at stake instead about coping with a threatening crisis, about having food, a roof over your head, and avoiding being killed.

- We must realize that dictators' threats are more than just empty words, writes DN's lead writers.

That conclusion should have been drawn by the world's political leaders for the past thirty years, during which Russian leaders have continually been arming themselves and talking about Russian spheres of interest, the writers say. Fear, however, drowned in the anticipation that arose before the dissolution of the Soviet Union and the conviction of the victory of liberal democracy.

How, then, will Europe deal with Putin's authoritarian and ruthless aggression?

- Political leaders must dare to do uncomfortable but oh so necessary sacrifices, something that unfortunately has seemed far too little of so far, writes Emma Hoen Bustos in DN.

She is referring to an end to the import of Russian gas to the EU, which will certainly have effects such as continued increased prices for food, heat and transport in the importing countries. However, uncomfortable adjustments as a result of political stances have been accepted by Swedes before, including during the oil crisis of the 70s.

Kenneth Rogoff in Sydsvenskan agrees that a boycott of Russian gas is one reasonable sacrifice for Europeans. Only 35 percent of Europe's imported natural gas comes from Russia. Rogoff believes that caution among Europe's leaders may be due to the intensive work of lobby groups. Energy exports make up almost 40 percent of Russia's treasury, and every day Europe pays half a billion euros to the Russian Federation to cover energy needs.

To cope with one immediate boycott of Russian oil and gas The think tank RePlanet proposes, among other things, a limited heating of private homes and households and a ban on flights within Europe and driving in major cities. The think tank's opinion poll shows that a majority of Europe's population is prepared to make extensive sacrifices in order to end the brutal Russian war.

We do financial assistance to developing countries will need to be increased. The financial consequences of the invasion have hit the developing countries hard, with government debt being pushed up during the pandemic. To counteract this effect, international organizations will need to strengthen support for those countries. In addition, all countries must avoid export restrictions, writes DN's editorial board.

What Europe should not do, however, is that, as called for by the Ukrainian Institute, stop consuming Russian culture such as Tolstoy and Dostoevsky, says DN's lead writer Isobel Hadley-Kamptz. According to her, this would rather give Putin water on his propaganda mill, since Russian culture is sometimes just as much Ukrainian.

Trade in Russian goods

If Putin is to be stopped, we must be prepared to sacrifice some of our own convenience 

Emma Høa Bustos, Dagens Nyheter

Can the sanctions against Russia give an indication of what an interruption in trade relations with China would mean? 

Kenneth Rogoff, Southern Sweden

Europe's oil and gas are killing civilians in Ukraine 

Filippa Ronquist, Aftonbladet

War of aggression leads to famine on the other side of the globe 

DN's editorial staff, Dagens Nyheter

Russia's invasion of Ukraine

It's over now, the second interwar period 

Susanna Popova, Svenska Dagbladet

The dictator reveals his plans - we must believe his words 

DN's editorial staff, Dagens Nyheter

No, we are not to blame Tolstoy and Tchaikovsky - they all belong to us 

Isobel Hadley-Kamptz, Dagens Nyheter

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