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21 Aug, 2009 01:11

War that united: Russians and Swedes celebrate 200 years of peace

Russian diplomats have been invited for the first time to commemorate the last war between Russia and Sweden.

he Russian delegation visited the place where the final shots of the Russian-Swedish war of 1808-1809 rang out, and laid flowers on Russian soldiers’ graves.

Aleksandr Kadakin, the Russian ambassador to Sweden, said that the end of the war marked the beginning of fruitful bilateral cooperation between the two countries.

“This celebration in the north of Sweden is a symbol of a peaceful epoch in our bilateral relations after 34 wars, symbol of our hopes for tighter cooperation, especially in the political sphere,” he said.

In the war Russia conquered the territory of present-day Finland, which was then part of the Swedish empire. However, Sweden still celebrates the battle they lost because it was the final conflict the country was involved in.

“For us, the last Russian–Swedish war is the beginning of 200 years of peace and neutrality,” said Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf, who attended the ceremony with the queen.

“The celebration allows us to get together and think and contemplate about what is happening now,” he added.