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NATO

Russia smears Pippi Longstocking author as Nazi in propaganda posters

Russia has launched a poster campaign in Moscow featuring ostensibly pro-Nazi quotes from the Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, the film-maker Ingmar Bergman, and the Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad. "We are against Nazism, but they are not," the poster reads.

Russia smears Pippi Longstocking author as Nazi in propaganda posters
The poster was put up at this bus stop outside the Swedish embassy. Photo: Google Maps

Oscar Jonsson, a researcher at the Swedish Defence University, tweeted out a picture of photograph of a Moscow bus stop carrying the propaganda poster, which has the word ‘they’ written in the colours of the Swedish flag. 

Another poster accuses King Gustaf V of being a Nazi. 

Jonsson told The Local he was certain that the posters were genuine, but suspected that they were intended for Swedish consumption, as at least one of them had been placed outside the Swedish Embassy in Moscow. 

“They’re more of a provocation to Sweden than something for the Russian people,” he said. 

Mikael Östlund, communication chief at Sweden’s Psychological Defence Agency, argued the opposite case, that the posters were primarily designed to justify the war in Ukraine to Russia’s own population. 

“Accusing western countries of Nazism is a part of the justification for their own war,” he said. “This is probably directed towards its own population. This has been one of the justifications for the war in Ukraine as well.” 

Others even suggested they might even be a preparation for military action .

“Are there any limits to these guys? Or are they preparing a ‘denazifying’ operation against Sweden as well?” tweeted Sweden’s former prime minister Carl Bildt

The Swedish foreign ministry said it was aware of the posters, but refused to comment. 

“We have no intention of engaging in a public polemic with the Russian organisation ‘Our Victory’, which is reportedly behind these posters,” a spokesperson told TT.  “In Russia, smears about ‘Nazism’ have been used repeatedly against countries and individuals who are critical of Russia’s actions.” 

At a press conference in Germany, Sweden’s prime minister called the campaign “completely unacceptable”. 

“But it is important to say already right now that Sweden could become the target of an influence campaign by foreign powers,” she said. “It’s important that all Swedes, and not least those of you in journalism, recognise that there is a risk that foreign powers will try to influence the Swedish debate climate.” 

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NATO

Finland hopes to join Nato with Sweden despite Erdoğan remarks

Finland still hopes to join Nato together with Sweden, the country's foreign minister said on Monday after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's weekend remarks that Turkey could accept Finland without its Nordic neighbour.

Finland hopes to join Nato with Sweden despite Erdoğan remarks

“Our strong desire in Finland has been and still is to join Nato together with Sweden,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters in Helsinki, adding: “our position remains the same.”

Erdoğan has refused to ratify the two countries’ Nato membership bids, primarily because of Sweden’s refusal to extradite dozens of suspects that Turkey links to outlawed Kurdish fighters and a failed 2016 coup attempt.

Sweden has a bigger Kurdish diaspora than Finland and a more serious dispute with Turkey.

Turkey has also reacted with fury to a decision by the Swedish police to allow a protest at which a far-right extremist burned a copy of the Koran outside the Turkish embassy in Stockholm earlier this month.

It has also been outraged by a Swedish prosecutor’s decision not to press charges against a pro-Kurdish group that hung an effigy of Erdoğan by its ankles outside Stockholm City Court.

Erdoğan on Sunday drew a clear distinction between the positions taken by Sweden and Finland in the past few months.

“If necessary, we can give a different response concerning Finland. Sweden will be shocked when we give a different response for Finland,” Erdoğan said.

But Haavisto, who said he held talks with his Turkish counterpart following Erdoğan’s remarks, rejected that option.

“Sweden is our closest ally in defence and foreign policy”, he said. “I still see the Nato summit in Vilnius in July as an important milestone when I hope that both countries will be accepted as Nato members at the latest.”

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