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War Warning: Sweden issues its people with booklet on how to cope with crisis

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SWEDEN’s just a small country. It’s relatively isolated. It also hasn’t fought a war in 200 years. But it’s getting ready for one now.

The government of the chilly north European nation has begun a mailout to every one of its 4.8 million households.

It’s not an election campaign. It’s not spruiking a spending campaign. It’s not telling you to brush your teeth.

Instead, it is describing to its citizens how to resist an invasion.

The 20-page booklet, titledWhether Crisis or War Comes, explains the basics. And more.

Do you have enough food? Water?

What do all the different warning siren sounds mean?

Where are the bomb shelters? How can you build your own?

What would you do if there was no food in the shops? No electricity? No gas?

How can you fight an enemy occupation?

If Sweden is attacked, it says, “resistance is required”.

In the event of invasion “everyone is obliged to contribute and everyone is needed (for) total defence. All able-bodied citizens can be called to assist in the event of the threat of war and war.”

It paints a bleak picture. But the booklet is intended to help its citizens confront any crisis, including “serious accidents, extreme weather, IT attacks or military conflict”.

“Although Sweden is safer than many other countries, there are still threats to our security and independence,” the booklet reads. “If you are prepared, you are contributing to improving the ability of the country to cope with a major strain.”

Russia’s growing belligerence on Sweden’s doorstep isn’t the only thrust of the pamphlet, though it is obviously the main one.

One page is devoted to the effects of climate change.

The rest focus on issues such as identifying the propaganda in ‘fake news’ attacks and how to cope with cyber disruptions.

But even these come back to the looming threat of Russia.

Sweden’s Social Protection and Preparedness Agency director general Dan Eliasson told local media “society is more vulnerable to digitisation, globalisation and climate change. So we need to prepare ourselves as individuals and as residents in this country.”

He went on to add: “here is a thirst for information, we have listened to many focus groups and found that there is an information deficit on solid advice and we try to provide it in this brochure.”

The world is changing around Sweden.

The Baltic nation has been contemplating joining NATO in response to an increasingly hostile Moscow, its invasion of Crimea and Ukraine, as well as its aggressive stance towards other Baltic States such as Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland.

Russia has been using its own Black Sea enclave — Kaliningrad — to stage aggressive air and sea manouvers near the territories of Sweden, Norway and Denmark. It’s also been actively engaged in misinformation campaigns targeting the social and news media of these nations.

“States and organisations are already trying to influence our values and how we act,” the booklet reads. This threatens to “reduce our resilience and willingness to defend ourselves”.

This, the booklet says, is propaganda.

“We will never give up. All information to the effect that resistance is to cease is false.”

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