Military Review

"When the war starts." Swedes are preparing to confront Russia


The Arctic has become a cornerstone of Swedish foreign policy. Photo: © Försvarsmakten

"Neutral" Sweden

Until now, Sweden has positioned itself as a neutral country,

"Free from alliances in peacetime in order to maintain neutrality in the event of a conflict in the immediate environment."

And Stockholm, indeed, has not formally entered into any unions for several centuries.

The last time the Scandinavians entered the Russo-Swedish War of 1808-1809 extremely unsuccessfully, after which they became almost pacifists. The "peace-loving" character of Swedish policy does not prevent the development of a sufficiently powerful military-industrial complex. This allows you not only to provide your own army weaponsbut also to trade in foreign markets, while maintaining formal neutrality.

Currently, Sweden is not included in the NATO military bloc, but is already seriously enough integrated into it. In addition, the Swedish army is involved in military operations under the auspices of NATO, the EU and the UN.

Photo Shoot: Guillaume Baviere / Stockholm. På Saltsjön

In accordance with the decision of the Parliament (Riksdag), Sweden has the right to send up to 2000 troops abroad. The main goal is to participate in joint military operations with other countries. The Swedish army does not work independently outside the country - only in close cooperation with NATO, the EU and the UN.

A small addition - recently, Stockholm has clearly gravitated more towards the forces of the North Atlantic bloc and the European Union than to the peacekeeping operations of the United Nations. Here we can see the usual pragmatism associated with the declining role of the UN in the modern world.

Over the past decades, the Swedish army has contributed to the peacekeeping operation in Mali, participation in the destruction of chemical weapons in Syria (provided by the transport C-130) and joint work with NATO in Afghanistan and Kosovo. And let the participation be limited to only a few dozen military personnel (most of all there were in Afghanistan - 195 people), but who now believes in the neutral status of Sweden?

It is a country oriented towards the North Atlantic military bloc, which undoubtedly poses a threat to Russia's interests.

As an example, the major NATO exercise "Triple Fusion", which took place in Scandinavia in 2018. In total, about 50 thousand people took part in the war games, of which 2 thousand, in accordance with the Riksdag quota, are Swedish soldiers. After that, timid voices were sounded in the local parliament against the build-up of military cooperation with NATO, so as not to become a battlefield in a future potential war.

Capacity building

After the end of the Cold War, Stockholm was given the impression of a lasting European peace. In 1997, the Riksdag decided to reduce the armed forces altogether, assuming that there was nowhere to wait for a threat.

In accordance with the strategy of the Swedish leadership, the aggressor will need at least 10 years of preparation to attack the country. By 2004, the army was reduced by 6,5 thousand to 29 thousand people. At the same time, 8 thousand from the composition were civil servants. Infantry divisions were reduced from 6 to 3, brigades from 16 to 13, and instead of 17 squadrons, 13 were left.

There were attempts to abolish universal military service, but among the Swedes there were not so many who were ready to serve their homeland on a contract basis, and in 2017 the compulsory conscription was returned. Women can also serve on a voluntary basis. Until 2021, up to 4 thousand people were drafted into the army annually.

Growing tensions in the Baltic region (this is the official version), as well as the Crimean история forced Stockholm to reconsider their pacifist plans. And to date, the Swedish army has again been expanded by 55 thousand people. At the same time, the Swedes manage to spend surprisingly little on defense - no more than 1,1% of GDP.


The turning point occurred in 2020, when the Riksdag realized the growing military power of Russia and believed that in the next ten years Moscow would be able to capture part of Scandinavia.

It is not entirely clear why Russia needs this, but let us leave such conclusions on the conscience of military analysts in the Swedish leadership.

The new strategy envisages an increase in the number of troops to 90 thousand people by 2030. For this, it is planned to draft up to 8 thousand recruits into the army annually. Naturally, the volume of purchases of military equipment and weapons will increase. Sweden's new military budget, adopted at the end of last year, will be the largest in 70 years!

Such a military-financial maneuver can be viewed in different ways.

On the one hand, this is unconditional support for the domestic military-industrial complex. A multi-year recession is expected in the pandemic world, and extra military orders for Swedish companies will not be superfluous. Moreover, they can cover the needs of the army almost completely, with the exception of individual positions.

For example, the Swedes seem to have finally and irrevocably buried their own tank building - the main strike force of the ground forces has to be purchased from Germany. IN aviation the situation in the industry is rather positive. The Saab concern is assembling the JAS-39 Gripen multi-role fighter, for which they even learned how to make jet engines on their own (not without the support of General Electric).

In general, the expansion of defense spending in the next decade will have the most positive impact on the Swedish industry. It is also important to double the draft to the army - up to 8 thousand people a year. This will make it possible to level out the decline in production and inevitable unemployment to some extent.

The second reason why the Swedes are digging up the hatchet is the country's Arctic ambitions, which are pushing Stockholm and Moscow against each other.

The Swedes can't do without the Arctic

New political realities - military departments announce their strategy on YouTube. This is exactly what the Swedish Ministry of Defense did when they posted five ominous videos at once under the general title

"When the war starts."

For a country that has not seriously fought for more than two hundred years, this is more than a provocative event.

The short films are divided into five thematic blocks

"Uncertain Future"
"Gray zone"
"Battlefield of the Future"
"Universal protection" and
"What is worth protecting?"

In short, the message is the following - the ice is melting, and the importance of the Arctic region is increasing every year.

For a long time, Swedish efforts in the Arctic have been limited to research and conservation. It was not possible to save the region from global warming, then we will have to get our hands on it. At least partially.

It is worth remembering that Sweden has no outlet to the Arctic waters. And on what basis, in general, it claims to influence in this region, it is not known for certain. Nevertheless, for Stockholm, Russia is a real troublemaker.

However, not only for Sweden. There are enough people who disagree with Russia's behavior in the Arctic waters and ice.

On what basis does Moscow require special permits for the passage of ships along the Northern Sea Route, as well as the presence of its pilots on transit ships? Or why on earth is Russia conducting exploration for minerals on the Arctic shelf?

All these absurd questions are posed to Moscow, first of all, by Washington, and NATO friends, as they can, echo it. Sweden in this story takes the most convenient side from the point of view of national interests. And he tries not to be late for carving up the big Arctic pie.

The fact that Russia has the Arctic is seriously annoying Sweden. Photo: Christopher Michel

There is nothing criminal in this situation - Sweden is a sovereign state, free to choose its own path of development.

But the local Ministry of Defense in its propaganda videos chooses the Russian army as the main horror story for its own people. Let not directly, but numerous hints point to this fact. There is no other way to explain the increase in military spending to its own electorate - there are not even potential enemies around Sweden.

The Russian Foreign Ministry, represented by Maria Zakharova, has already reacted to such propaganda:

"These fictitious anti-Russian phobias are in no small measure related to deliberate external pressure on Stockholm, primarily from the North Atlantic Alliance."

Militarily, Sweden has never been an adversary to Russia - all sane people understand this.

Nevertheless, in the fall of last year, the soldiers of the Gotland regiment on the island of the same name simulated a triumphant battle with wooden soldiers, depicting ... soldiers of the Russian 76th Guards Airborne Assault Division. The division is based on the border with Estonia and (according to the legend of the exercise) quickly landed on the island of Gotland.

What the Swedes will not come up with to justify new military spending.
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  1. Pessimist22
    Pessimist22 19 January 2021 05: 27
    I think that medium-range missiles will be a good pacifier for all Swedes and Romanians in Europe.
    1. Uncle lee
      Uncle lee 19 January 2021 05: 39
      Quote: Pessimist22
      medium-range missiles

      This is a policy of intimidation ... Of course, missiles are needed, but I would prefer friendly relations between peoples. It was not in vain that the USSR fought for world peace!
      1. Pessimist22
        Pessimist22 19 January 2021 06: 18
        I agree with you, wrestling is a forceful action and I also think that a kind word and a pistol have a much better effect than just a kind word.
        1. Uncle lee
          Uncle lee 19 January 2021 08: 03
          Igor hi
          Quote: Pessimist22
          kind word and a gun

          It was clear for a long time ... It's just that Al Capone formulated this postulate.
      2. Pravodel
        Pravodel 19 January 2021 07: 09
        I would prefer friendly relations between peoples. No wonder the USSR fought for world peace

        World peace is a great idea! But it can be realized only when the Swedes have another Poltava, the Poles - another capture of Warsaw by Suvorov, the Frenchman - another Borodino or Maloyaroslavets, well, but about the Germans, you know yourself ... Yes, I almost forgot, the most important thing, the British must must have another Balaklava ... Then there will definitely be peace in the whole world and even on the Moon and on Mars, where aliens can land, but without war ...
      3. Machito
        Machito 19 January 2021 12: 23
        Quote: Uncle Lee
        Quote: Pessimist22
        medium-range missiles

        This is a policy of intimidation ... Of course, missiles are needed, but I would prefer friendly relations between peoples. It was not in vain that the USSR fought for world peace!

        The Swedes supplied Hitler with ore and volunteers for the front.
      4. Gato
        Gato 20 January 2021 15: 33
        friendly relations between peoples

        Only the strong and the rich are friends. The weak and the rich are cynically robbed, the strong and the poor are cynically bought, the weak and the poor - well ... there are no options
      5. Nazar
        Nazar 25 January 2021 03: 41
        Uncle Lee - Quote: "It was not in vain that the USSR fought for world peace!" - Colleague, please remind me of how this struggle ended for the USSR - eh?
    2. Lipchanin
      Lipchanin 19 January 2021 06: 27
      After all, they got carried away. They sat like mice under a broom, and gave a voice. Now it is not clear why Russia began to threaten them
      1. novel66
        novel66 19 January 2021 07: 59
        triumphant battle with wooden soldiers

        I immediately remembered

        hello, Seryoga! hi
        1. Lipchanin
          Lipchanin 19 January 2021 08: 05
          Quote: novel xnumx
          I immediately remembered

          Zdarova Roman hi
          And for urfin Dzhusa they now have a biden? laughing
          1. novel66
            novel66 19 January 2021 08: 57
            biden they have here =
            1. Lipchanin
              Lipchanin 19 January 2021 09: 12
              more like biden with trump laughing
            2. Egoza
              Egoza 19 January 2021 17: 47
              Quote: novel xnumx
              they have biden here

              Well, you flattered Biden. And where is tolerance? It is necessary to repaint this nibbles in an African American.
              1. novel66
                novel66 19 January 2021 19: 57
                he is ebony and his behavior shows - from gays
    3. iouris
      iouris 19 January 2021 14: 27
      Quote: Pessimist22
      I think that medium-range missiles will be a good suppressor

      I also thought so when I was small and made a geographic map out of the globe with one hand. So where are these SS-20s? Where are the tank armies in the center of Europe? Where is the terrible space station that was urgently flooded in the South Atlantic? The entire Soviet people tensed for decades, people fell down from fatigue, but what was the bottom line? That's right: thrown into the abyss.
      In the meantime, it turns out that the Russian Federation is paying tribute to the West (and Sweden). They are not going to fight. They have an ironclad scheme. And "it reminds me a lot of the Indo-Pakistani incident." Toli Rust has already returned, or the Ayatollah has arrived.
      So it's not about missiles. More precisely, not only in rockets.
  2. Mykhalych
    Mykhalych 19 January 2021 05: 42
    "... Moscow will be able to capture part of Scandinavia ..."
    - and these are there, but no one can answer a simple question - why should Russia, with an area of ​​more than 17000000 square kilometers, with huge reserves of minerals, oil, gas, still grow in territories with a hostile population. request
    1. Lipchanin
      Lipchanin 19 January 2021 06: 28
      Quote: Mykhalych
      and these are there, but no one can answer a simple question

      Maybe we have nowhere to ski? request
      It looks like there is not one coronavirus walking, but one more, Russophobic
  3. Far B
    Far B 19 January 2021 05: 44
    Sweden has no outlet to Arctic waters
    Finland too, nevertheless, is officially present in the Arctic Cloud.
    Moreover, they can cover the needs of the army almost completely, with the exception of certain positions
    Slightly enviable, yes.
    Why do they need it? So the author himself answered this question:
    A multi-year recession is expected in a pandemic world, and extra military orders for Swedish companies will not be superfluous.
    1. Crowe
      Crowe 19 January 2021 06: 11
      Quote: Dalny V
      and extra military orders for Swedish companies will not be superfluous

      Yes, here is the notorious dog and rummaged.
      What the Swedes will not come up with to justify new military spending.
  4. Konstantin_S
    Konstantin_S 19 January 2021 06: 11
    History, the Swedes have forgotten, meatballs, Breivik, a fellow Norwegian Viking brother, in the fjerds, they wear clothes with a gym, ... they should stock up on warm diapers, you can also read Astrid Lindgren, on vacation, ... serious Sweden, national treasure, destiny ...
  5. parusnik
    parusnik 19 January 2021 06: 14
    Back in Soviet times, the Swedes in the Gulf of Bothnia "caught" Soviet submarines and increased the military budget for this business, now there are other pictures. smile
    1. odometer
      odometer 19 January 2021 06: 41
      So the Soviet Navy gave rise to hysteria.
      1. novel66
        novel66 19 January 2021 08: 00
        never found submarines?
        1. odometer
          odometer 19 January 2021 09: 14
          We found ourselves, got lost and ran aground. Don't you remember?
          1. novel66
            novel66 19 January 2021 16: 10
            to be honest ... somehow ... no
          2. Gato
            Gato 20 January 2021 15: 39
            We found ourselves, got lost and ran aground. Don't you remember?

            I remember something ... But it seems that it was not in Sweden laughing :
            1. odometer
              odometer 3 February 2021 15: 55
              Why bother? Online info. Not the intrigues of enemies, but just the alignment, for how much ... I don't voice my point of view ...
  6. Alien From
    Alien From 19 January 2021 06: 22
    The Swedes' map is somehow wrong ...
  7. tihonmarine
    tihonmarine 19 January 2021 06: 30
    The growing tension in the Baltic region (this is the official version), as well as the Crimean history, forced Stockholm to reconsider its pacifist plans.

    But the Crimean War of 1864 did not alert Sweden, the First World War generally slipped past the ears, the Second World War frightened the king that he even wanted his niece, the Norwegian Queen, to give to Hitler, if only he did not touch him.
    And now the Swedes fluffed up their feathers, oh, they played with soldiers together with Nata.
    Tsar, flashing ...
    We are close to the Swedes for the army;
    The glory of their banners darkens,
    And God by grace in battle
    Our every step is captured. ...
    Dreams spare the peace of the hero,
    He forgot the damage of Poltava.
  8. samarin1969
    samarin1969 19 January 2021 06: 44
    The author presented a fairly reasonable policy of the northern kingdom. Savings are combined with good manufacturability. And Sweden was lucky not to have the draft canceled.
    But this is unnecessary.
    But the local Ministry of Defense in propaganda videos chooses the Russian army as the main horror story for its own people.

    Any self-respecting country motivates the army and the people by this. This is a more sane policy than imposing on everyone as "partners".
    Well, and the author's passage about "Arctic claims" is meaningless .... Any country that builds its policy on such ephemeral principles as "justice" and "legality" will be beaten by unprincipled "partners". And the whole story is an example of this!
  9. rotmistr60
    rotmistr60 19 January 2021 07: 12
    who now believes in the neutral status of Sweden? ... a country oriented towards the North Atlantic military bloc, certainly posing a threat to Russia's interests.
    So there is no doubt about this, especially after the bellicose statements sounded from this country recently. It's bad when Western politicians and the military have completely disappeared from their heads, not quite distant by historical standards, and so they want to go to Russia that they cannot eat. This is a sin not only of the Swedes, but also of the Germans, who, after 1945, should generally be silent in a rag and pray to Russia (USSR), the French, for whom 1812 is completely forgotten.
  10. Cowbra
    Cowbra 19 January 2021 08: 31
    Everything is simple - the crisis of "Scandinavian socialism" has come, in order to distract from internal problems, we must look for external ones.
    On the contrary! - Izya exclaimed. - Now the hottest days will begin for all of us! Since there is no real enemy, it is necessary to come up with one. And as world experience shows, the most terrible enemy is an invented one. I assure you it will be an incredibly creepy monster. The army will have to be doubled.
  11. svoit
    svoit 19 January 2021 10: 20
    The enemy of many countries in the world, and Sweden is no exception - this is the United States, a country with significant military potential and, moreover, not small, even global, ambitions. Sweden, of course, is lucky in something - its oil and gas is not enough.
  12. Vadim Golubkov
    Vadim Golubkov 19 January 2021 11: 53
    Old, but in the subject
  13. Ros 56
    Ros 56 19 January 2021 12: 43
    Lived about 200 years in peace, live on and remember sometimes the sad experience of your Carlos on the 12th.
  14. uralant
    uralant 19 January 2021 13: 02
    Well, the rigstag was indignant that Carlusha's roof went off and he was going on a campaign. Does it mean that the parliament is flowing now? Don't want to return Peter's money? Will they have to fix the roof again?
  15. Dymik
    Dymik 19 January 2021 15: 07
    We will beat gently but hard !!))))
  16. yehat2
    yehat2 19 January 2021 15: 45
    there is a big split in Sweden. On the one hand, they understand that butting with our country can go very sideways, and on the other hand, the military-industrial complex and industry are pushing in every way to increase defense spending at the expense of other government costs. I think Sweden will soon completely lose the balance that was once called Swedish socialism. In principle, this has already been lost and the Swedes themselves are talking about it, but soon the last traces of that prosperity will go away and the split of the population and its income will increase.
  17. Yuriy71
    Yuriy71 19 January 2021 15: 51
    Many commentators write that Nuclear missiles "will be a good accelerator for Swedes and Romanians, and Poles ...". There is one catch in this matter - NATO stores nuclear weapons NOT directly at military bases! For example, atomic bombs in Germany are stored directly at airbases - hitched on - and fly to Moscow! And in Russia - nuclear weapons are stored at the Storage Bases! If we assume that the first disarming blow will be delivered to Russia and, knowing our slovenliness, hardly anyone will reach these bases under fire and bring them to the already destroyed airfields .... Sad story! Everything is being done to repeat 1941 !!!!! It is necessary to shout about this and change approaches! Otherwise - a pipe !!!!
  18. kursovik
    kursovik 19 January 2021 20: 02
    "When the war starts." Swedes are preparing to confront Russia

    Who else would doubt .. Over the past 30 years, Russia has once again made sure that its main allies are the ARMY AND THE NAVY! And "allies" "brothers" are those who come and go in our great history .. hi Let's break through! soldier
    And what to do and who is to blame? This is already in the past ..
  19. Zug
    Zug 19 January 2021 20: 19
    Triple Splicing-Scream. Triple Splicing Sounds Better!
  20. TOR2
    TOR2 19 January 2021 20: 37
    Several times in different sources came across information that Sweden is one of the first plans to abandon cash and switch to electronic. One blow to processing centers and instant paralysis of their entire economy. And how are these warriors going to fight in such conditions.
  21. Semenov
    Semenov 19 January 2021 21: 37
    the local Ministry of Defense in propaganda videos chooses the Russian army as the main horror story for its own people

    It would be better to choose some kind of Poland or Denmark. Your height. There is at least a chance to win. And let them come up with an excuse - now it is in the order of things.
  22. Diviz
    Diviz 20 January 2021 00: 47
    Generally, before the St. Petersburg era, Scandinavians lived in this city.
    And in Astrakhan, perhaps a fortress was built by the great Mughals. Why are they not included in NATO? Answer: How can you go there if the West unleashed a war with them, 300 years ago. If the Swedes are aware of this and know that respect for them.
  23. Andrey Krasnoyarsky
    Andrey Krasnoyarsky 20 January 2021 15: 26
    A paraphrase of a famous anecdote: To raise the morale of the Swedish army, it was sent to fight with wooden Russian soldiers. - And what is the result? - The Swedes lost again.
  24. prior
    prior 20 January 2021 16: 31
    The maidan of the brain is sweeping across the planet. I also looked at the Swedes.
  25. Viktor Afanasev
    Viktor Afanasev 31 January 2021 15: 39
    All such actions of neighboring countries, be it Estonia, Sweden or others, are just a political move, nothing more. As a rule, the task is to get subsidies from the EU or the United States, or to increase the military budget within the country, or to distract people from real problems, perhaps this is a move in some kind of election campaign ... And if we take, for example, the Baltic region , then Sweden has very serious forces. For example, they have 5 non-nuclear submarines (we have one diesel-electric). But if there is a need to whip up a false threat from Russia, then of course this will continue, the media in all countries work very efficiently.