The increase is largely blamed on Russia's "aggressive" behavior, an expert panel from the University of Gothenburg and the Chalmers University wrote in a debate article in Dagens Nyheter. Remarkably, support for reestablishing compulsory military service has also been on the rise (51 percent in favor, compared with 40 percent in 2013).
"Together we can put a stop to the scare-mongering policy and ensure we have a safe Baltic Sea Region and a secure Scandinavia. The US remains present in this area, and we will ensure that NATO stands as strong as possible," US Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work said last week during a working visit to Sweden, which was marked by unity and mutual praise, whereas the sensitive issue of Swedish membership in NATO was avoided altogether.
At the same time the researchers witnessed a tendency for all Nordic countries except Denmark to increase their defense spending. According to the report, Finland feels it is necessary to fight off "a full-scale invasion" (no less!), while Sweden and Norway are planning for "an armed attack." Denmark, on the other hand, being geographically less open to the Russian threat, is instead planning to reduce its defense spending in the coming years.
At present, only the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) still participates in multilateral activities with Russia, such as the Barents Rescue international exercise. However, bilateral contacts have virtually ceased. According to Communications Director Svante Werger, the aim is to avoid becoming a pawn in the Russian information war.
"We think it is important not to risk situations where Russia can benefit from cooperation with Sweden from a propaganda perspective. This can be used to create legitimacy in other dubious contexts," he told Swedish Radio.