In early February, Fredrik Hagberg stood at the rostrum in Kiev’s City Hall, offering fraternal and comradely greetings from Sweden to the sweaty, bruised, and exhausted Ukrainian insurrectionists scattered throughout. The place was festooned with flags—some celtic crosses, a stray Confederate banner, a standard for the political party Svoboda, whose members essentially controlled the building—reflecting the dubious politics of its occupiers.
Revolutionary tourists, thrill seekers, and parachute journalists suffused Kiev. Sen. John McCain, actress Hayden Panettiere, and French intellectual Bernard Henri-Levy roused massive crowds with paeans to freedom and national sovereignty, while offering moral support to the opposition forces led by former boxing champion Vitaly Klitschko.
But Hagberg, a square-jawed and baby-faced member of the Swedish armed forces, had a darker message.