According to Dagens Nyheter, The Swedish Skeptics Association (Vetenskap Och Folkbildning) are currently reviewing their decision to present Sabaton with their “Public Educator” award. The honor may be revoked due to past comments bassist Pär Sundström made about Crimea.
The review started after Sabaton’s “Carolus Rex” was pulled from a Spotify playlist that was created to represent Sweden as they hold the presidency of the council of the European Union. The track was removed due to the band playing a concert in the Crimean Peninsula shortly after Russia illegally annexed the territory. That show was “organized by the Russian biker gang Nattvargarna, who are close to Vladimir Putin.” Sundström said the following in 2015:
“[Sabaton] play for fans, regardless of where they are. We were there to spread our music, as we always do. We do what we do, we sing about history and we play heavy metal. I know people want to politicize us, but we don’t actively want to do that.”
He also added the following in a 2016 interview with Sweden Rock Magazine:
“If you go to Sevastopol, you hardly feel that they feel occupied — quite the opposite. They have been occupied for years only because they ended up on the wrong side when the border was drawn between the Soviet Union and Ukraine. All these years they have felt like Russians but treated like a small piece of Ukraine.”
Sundström has since clarified his comments:
“My quote was how I experienced the situation there and then on site and the impressions I took home with me. That someone invades or occupies another country is against international law, which I think should apply instead of someone resorting to armed conflict as has now happened in Ukraine. Our catalog of songs is proof that there has been enough fighting.”
[via Metal Injection]