Sweden Preparing Its People For Russian Invasion Through War Pamphlets

Kungliga Inrikesdepartementet/Wikimedia Commons

The war pamphlets were given to Swedes from World War 2 until the end of the Cold War.

From World War II until the end of the Cold War, Sweden kept on hand a stash of pamphlets to send its citizens in case the dangers of war crossed over its borders.

Now, after nearly three decades of stability across Europe, Swedish officials are bring the pamphlets back in an effort to educate their citizens once again in the face of rising tensions with Russia.

Officials intend to begin dissemination of the pamphlets in May, sending one to each of about 4.7 million homes.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency is organizing a reboot of the pamphlet, this time augmenting its advice on conventional warfare with tips on how to grapple with threats of this era: terrorism and cyberattacks, pandemics, misinformation campaigns and crises related to climate change.

In another indication of country's concern, Swedish forces met up with NATO late last year to stage military exercises, with Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist citing Russia's annexation of Crimea as a primary factor.

Sweden, which remains officially neutral, staged a massive collaborative military exercise with NATO powers last fall on Gotland, a large island just off the country's southeastern coast where it has begun to garrison troops in recent years. The weeks-long drills included troops from the U.S., France and Denmark, as well as non-NATO neighbor Finland.

Hultqvist cited similar reasons last year when the country declared it would be bringing back military conscription.

The pamphlets are the last line of defense should military action fail to thwart a hypothetical aggressor's attempt to breach Sweden's borders, and citizens find themselves on their own, Anderson said.

"When society is experiencing severe disruptions, or is being completely interrupted, people have the responsibility to handle their own and their nearest relatives' fundamental needs for a while."