Numerous Swedish politicians and public officials want their country to join NATO. They try to push through the decision, which is not supported by the majority of nation, by creating an image of a powerful adversary threatening Sweden. As is often the case lately, they've chosen to present Russia as a potential threat to their country.
Despite these efforts, many Swedish public figures, diplomats and experts see Moscow as a partner, not an enemy.
"Those who think that [Russia poses a threat to Sweden] point to the Ukrainian crisis. But I think that conflict has specific causes. Sweden has lived in peace with Russia for 200 years and I don't see" any danger emanating from Russia now, former Swedish envoy to Moscow Sven Hirdman told the daily newspaper.
The diplomat has been following developments in Russia for more than half a century and is convinced that "Russia does not want a war with NATO or the EU. Nor do I believe that NATO wants a war with Russia."
Hirdman also warned that Sweden's decision to join NATO (if it comes to this) would significantly alter the country's place in and relations with Europe and beyond, as well as increase tensions in the region.
The move "would tie Sweden to a completely different foreign and security policy than the one we had during the past 200 years and it would change our relationship with Russia," Sweden's ambassador to Moscow from 1994 until 2004 asserted.