Sweden is on guard. On May 28th – the citizens of the Scandinavian country will receive precise instructions or training in case of crisis situations that could lead to “a war”, according to the Government itself. 

Led by the Social Democrat Stefan Lofven, who has decided to send all households (4.8 million) a brochure presented on Monday and entitled “If the crisis or a war comes.” In the booklet, which can be downloaded already on the Internet, indications are given so that citizens can continue to supply water , heating “in case things don’t not work in a normal way,” explains the Swedish Contingency Agency (MSB,. 

The last time this practice was carried out in the Scandinavian country was in 1961, during the Cold War, and the first one, during the Second World War

“All [Swedish citizens] must know how crises can affect society, what responsibility individuals have and how people can prepare themselves to face difficult situations,” says Christina Andersson, head of the awareness campaign. The pamphlet of 20 pages in A5 size which states that in case of crisis citizenship must face it as a resistance, includes information and tips on how they can -and should – protected and location of bunkers and protective spaces as “tunnels and basements”. Also indications to deal with false news in cases of crisis and war.

The MSB describes the general security situation as “unstable” and “unpredictable”, so the Government is willing to inform its citizens in “emergency situations, peacetime crisis and at the end of the war”, Andersson says by email. One of the points will be directly aimed at combating propaganda and false information in a pre-election context.

The country – which is one of the few communes with a left-leaning majority executive – holds general elections in September in a context of social instability in which the extreme right grows as a spurt in part as a reaction to the open-door policies maintained by the government.

Swedish executive during the refugee crisis of 2015.

Sweden then became the second most popular destination reached by some 160,000 asylum seekers, according to Eurostat. 

The first was Germany.

Disasters derived from climate change, terrorist threats, computer attacks, and the deterioration of security are some of the threats that the Government wants the residents of the country to know about. 

Although the folklore describes no specific war threat from Russia, it is clear that one of those possibilities of invasion places the accusing finger directly on Moscow. 

Since the annexation of the Crimean peninsula by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, in 2014, Sweden – and in general the Baltic and Eastern European regions –  has been gradually removing military muscle. 

Last year, the Nordic country sent  troops to the island of Gotland (in the middle of the Baltic Sea), and in 2016 agreed to re-establish compulsory military service for men and women. 

At the end of the year, NATO will start military exercises in Norway with 35,000 soldiers in the Arctic.

Military expenses

Sweden, along with Finland, is not part of NATO, and maintaining balance with the Eastern giant is a task that requires solid diplomatic expertise. And despite the relative good relationship between Moscow, Helsinki and Stockholm, more than 50% of Finns rejected a membership of NATO, according to the latest surveys. 

In the Swedish case, however, the acceptance of the Atlantic Alliance is greater: 47% of the population views the adhesion to the Atlantic Alliance with good eyes and 39% rejects it, according to a survey published by The Economistin September. 2017

Be that as it may, Sweden’s cooperation with the Atlantic Alliance and with the Baltic republics (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) is getting closer. 

And although everything points to an increase in the tension in the environment, the truth is that Swedish military spending – 1% of GDP in 2017, according to SIPRI  (the International Institute for Peace Studies) – has never been so low . 

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