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Danish business authority reports Russian organisations to police

The Danish Business Authority (Erhvervsstyrelsen) has reported two government-controlled Russian organisations in Denmark to the police.

Danish business authority reports Russian organisations to police
Danish police outside the Russian embassy in Copenhagen in February 2022. Photo: Bax Lindhardt/Ritzau Scanpix

The Business Authority suspects the two organisations of skirting EU sanctions, it confirmed to newspaper Jyllands-Posten.

The two organisations, which operate in Denmark, have had their assets frozen in the Nordic country.

The Business Authority told Jyllands-Posten that it had undertaken investigations following reporting by the newspaper on the Russian organisations.

Both organisations – Rossotrudnichestvo and Russkiy Mir – are on the EU’s sanctions list.

The EU and experts say that Rossotrudnichestvo is part of Russia’s “soft power” apparatus and part of Moscow’s information war against the West. The organisation has offices in 79 countries.

“This organisation plays a quite special role as the extended arm of the Kremlin and is very visible in several EU countries where in can act to undermine,” senior researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS), Flemming Splidsboel, has previously told Jyllands-Posten.

Rossotrudnichestvo is part of the Russian interior ministry and its Danish office is based out of the country’s Copenhagen embassy. Its official purpose is related to cultural, educational and social activities.

In its justifications for sanctions against the organisation, the EU states that it “funds various public diplomacy and propaganda projects, consolidating the activities of pro-Russian players and disseminating the Kremlin’s narratives, including historical revisionism”.

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TERRORISM

Swedish security service warns of increased terror threats after Quran burnings

Sweden is the target of an increased number of threats against the country following far-right activist Rasmus Paludan's burning of the Quran in Stockholm according to Säpo, the Swedish Security Service. Paludan has also recently burned the Quran at demonstrations in Copenhagen.

Swedish security service warns of increased terror threats after Quran burnings

“Recent developments with threats directed at Sweden and Swedish interests is serious and affect Sweden’s security. The security service is seeing an increase in the number of threats of attack in our intelligence flow,” read a statement by Säpo on Wednesday.

It comes two days after the US embassy advised its citizens in Sweden to use caution in busy public venues, gathering sites such as places of worship, and diplomatic facilities, warning of possible terror attacks in retaliation of the recent Quran burning incident.

Far-right activist Paludan, who holds both Danish and Swedish citizenships, last month burned the holy book of Islam outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm, causing Turkey to suspend NATO talks with Sweden and Finland and provoking outrage and demonstrations in many Muslim countries.

At the end of January, Paludan said he plans to burn a Quran in front of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen every Friday until Turkey agrees to Sweden joining NATO. He has followed up on that plan in each of the last two weeks.

On January 27th, Turkey summoned the Danish ambassador in Ankara to protest Denmark’s “unacceptable” attitude towards Paludan’s actions.

More than half of Danes responding to a survey last week said they were in favour of banning far-right activist Paludan’s Quran-burning demonstrations in front of the Turkish Embassy in Copenhagen, due to national security concerns.

Some 56 percent answered in the survey that they “strongly agree” or “agree” with the statement that Paludan should be banned from burning the Quran in front of the Turkish embassy due to concerns over Denmark’s security.

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Far-right provocateur Paludan came to prominence in Denmark in the late 2010s through his anti-Islam demonstrations in areas with sizeable minority ethnic communities. The main feature of the demonstrations is the burning and desecration of the Quran.

He has a conviction for inciting racial hatred, upheld in 2019 by a Danish high court, and failed in a bid to be elected to the country’s parliament in the same year.

After being granted Swedish citizenship through his father’s nationality he moved his demonstrations to Sweden, resulting in violent riots in April 2022 and disruption in January of the Swedish bid to join NATO.

Säpo said that the reactions after, among other things, the latest Quran burning, had been “significant” – especially in light of deteriorating global security and incidents such as last year’s disinformation campaign against the Swedish social services.

It said it considered Sweden to be “in greater focus than before for global violent Islamism”, adding that “the situation after recent events is problematic”.

Sweden’s terror threat level remains at three on a five-point scale, where it has been since 2010, with the exception of a period in 2015 when it was briefly raised to four.

“The terror threat level is based on a long-term assessment, which means that if this development continues for some time, the terror threat level may be raised,” said Säpo.

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