Friday, July 24, 2015

Why Sweden and Russia are fighting over soil from Poltava region

July 22, 2015 (THE LOCAL) Both Russian and Swedish media have been debating whether the Nordic nation is set to seal a controversial deal to buy Ukranian soil. Russia analyst Elena Bazina shares her take on what the fuss is about.
While Ukraine is on fire, other countries are trying to benefit from it. Over the past week, Russian media sites have been discussing rumours that Swedes are set to buy a huge amount of Ukrainian black soil - a rich soil that contains a number of chemicals that help plants grow. It's been claimed that around 50-100 million tonnes of very fertile Ukrainian chernozem (the technical term for the soil) will be delivered to Sweden and used at a nature reserve in Dalarna.

The black soil in Poltava region
According to rumours, the soil will be taken mainly from Poltava region which is of historic importance when it comes to the relationship between the two countries. The area is well-known for hosting the Battle of Poltava, when Russia's Peter the Great defeated Swedish forces under Karl XII in 1709. So, the news that Swedes could end up possessing Poltava’s soil wounds the feelings of some Russians, who believe Sweden is still trying to get its revenge.
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My brief comment: Poltava was under German occupation from September 18, 1941 until September 23, 1943. Within this term many hundred of railway cars full of Ukrainian black soil have been delivered to Germany. Dozen of them were deserted by Germans on Poltava local railway on the eve of liberation. As many old local inhabitants assert the soil was collected not far from Poltava including Poltava Battle field.