Swedes awoke this weekend and found a brochure in their postal box, entitled “If Crisis or War Comes”, featuring some 20 pages of what to do in case of a “serious accident, extreme weather, IT attack or military conflict.”
Although the Swedish government claims that the highly controversial brochures it has sent to the 4.8 million households in the Scandinavian country were planned long ahead, many believe that the debate on security (and the possibility of Sweden joining Nato soon) has intensified in their country after Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the recent incursions into Swedish airspace and territorial waters by both Russian planes and submarines.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Some outtakes from the pamphlet which being distributed to all 4.8 million homes I'm <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sweden?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sweden</a> by the government. <br><br>It includes info about Swedish armed forces as well as instructions in the case of air raids, a terror attack, and how to recognize "hostile propaganda" <a href="https://t.co/7Tprelv8r9">pic.twitter.com/7Tprelv8r9</a></p>— Thomas van Linge (@ThomasVLinge) <a href="https://twitter.com/ThomasVLinge/status/998615903947419648?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 21, 2018</a></blockquote>
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The brochure tells Swedes, who are very outgoing and sportive already, how to secure food, water, heat, and communications supplies when public services are not working correctly. There is also a section on how to help Sweden’s defense forces in case of war.
The pamphlet, illustrated with drawings of warplanes and tanks, stated: "In Sweden, there is a duty to contribute to total defense. Everyone from the age of 16 to 70 can be called to assist in 'the event of a threat of war and war'."
“If Sweden is attacked by another country, we will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.”
The government Ministry responsible for the send-out called a hastily convened press briefing after social media exploded over people’s reaction to the pamphlets. The service responsible for Swedish security, the MSB, reacted via its director Mr Dan Eliasson: “Even if Sweden is safer than most countries, threats do exist. The Swedish government believes that this information is important in the light of the deterioration in the security situation in the rest of the world."