- Project Runeberg -  Diplomatic Reminiscences before and during the World War, 1911-1917 /

(1920) [MARC] Author: Anatolij Nekljudov - Tema: War, Russia
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Full resolution (JPEG) - On this page / på denna sida - XIX. Sweden in 1915

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The construction of the railway line connecting St.
Petersburg with the Murman coast and its ports, which
are never ice-bound, was the first fact that I proclaimed
loudly in Sweden in order to prove to what extent the
tales about our supposed craving for Narwick and
Trondhjem were devoid of foundation. For a long time
the Swedes remained sceptical with regard to my
efforts; a deep-seated prejudice cannot be uprooted in
a moment. Had the line to Murman really been laid?
Did it really lead to open ports? The old story of
the village scenery placed by Potemkin along the
Empress Catherine’s route reappeared in the columns of
the Scandinavian newspapers: perhaps the Murman
railway line was only scenery destined to put Swedes
off the scent? But in the end they had to yield to
evidence: the railway line, laid in a hurry and
somewhat primitive, was nevertheless open towards 1917,
and conveyed to St. Petersburg guns, ammunition and
other goods indispensable for the prosecution of the
war which our allies unshipped in the open and
well-sheltered ports of Kola and Alexandrovsk.[1] Once the
war was over it would be easy to improve the line,
and then Russia would have undisputed and ice-free
outlets to the sea, outlets situated about 1200 kilometres
from the capital.

Another consideration which helped to calm Swedish
minds was the intention, which soon became known,
to hand over to Russia Constantinople and the Straits
by her allies and chiefty by England. Henceforth, if
the Entente succeeded in beating Germany, the whole
attention of the mighty Russian Empire would be
directed towards the south beyond the Black Sea. The
Baltic problems would then be of secondary importance,
and the Scandinavian countries—beginning with Finland
and continuing with Sweden—would no longer have to
fear that the giant’s hand would turn towards the

Amongst the new elements which helped me to

[1] Called Murmansk since the Revolution.

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