we have talked to our trusted contacts in Swedish security institutions and here are the main takeaways about Russian strategy in Sweden:
- The Russian strategy seems to be clear. Moscow probably realized that going in with direct aggressive activities would backfire due to Swedish government preparedness and it would undermine the strategic objective – keeping Sweden out of Nato.
- Therefore, direct interference action wasn’t the main tactic – as it was for example in the 2016 US presidential elections or 2016 Brexit campaign with use of massive disinformation and political influence methods. Russia would have probably chosen a more aggressive approach if the Nato-membership question was one of the main campaign topics, but it wasn’t.
- The Russian playbook used in Sweden resembles the 2017 Bundestag elections in Germany. Moscow apparently expects the main targeted outcome will play out naturally. While German Social Democrats already played an important role for the Kremlin’s strategy by pushing for Nord Stream 2, as a Russian tool of geopolitical blackmail, Moscow will clearly try to cultivate the far-right in Sweden as the potential future blocker of Swedish accession to Nato.
- For this, you don’t need aggressive hack-and-leak tactics which Russia deployed against Hillary Clinton. You simply amplify the migration-related narratives and keep cultivating the far right which is already quite strong.
Full analysis: https://www.thelocal.se/20180914/opinion-how-to-counter-russian-interference-like-a-swede
Yours from Prague,