I subscribe to posts from the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, and its chair, Anna Ek, runs a blog in Swedish. Her latest post, in Swedish, is http://svenskafreds.wordpress.com/2014/10/19/under-och-ovan-ytan/ (above and below the surface). I rarely bother to re-blog posts in foreign languages, but anyone who can read Swedish will understand that this is about the foreign submarine that fills Swedish media in these days, with press conferences given by the military, and reports by almost hysterical newspaper reporters from the nearby archipelago coast.
This is not a new phenomena, it happens every time the Cold War returns, a classic case of the Thomas Theorem. Russian warplanes have been flying close to Sweden and so no doubt in the media hysteria people begin to look out for Russian submarines.
And the rumours are often quite wild. Anna Ek opens with the following:
“A childhood friend shows me a text message from a worried husband. We are on Öland over the weekend and warned to be cautious. I wonder what to do then. Bunker preserves? Do not go too close to the water in Trollskogen? Scouts for mysterious men at the Oktoberfest on the golf course where we live?
I go into one of the major news sites and met with alarming headlines. Anti-submarine warfare, black-clad men, tracking and intelligence operations. In social media, rumours spread rapidly: signals from Russian submarines, mini submarines, perhaps. Speculation is relentless. Then encrypted distress signals, and then dismissed as unconfirmed. A few hisses “Who the hell is responsible for these leaks?” A twitter account called RyskaUbaten is started and generates giggles. A former employee of the Armed Forces called Svenska Dagbladet‘s reporter Mikael Holmström as a case of the Princess and the Pea (from the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale) and emotions rise. It is debatable whether the submarines is believed to be Dutch or Russian, based on what seem to be unclear images.”
There is more in this tongue-in-cheek vein, so if you know Swedish, read the original.
The Western media rarely report on events in Sweden – for them it is a faraway country of little consequence. But this became a news item in other countries too: The Guardian, New York Times, suddenly the opportunity for anti-Russian reporting becomes world-wide. The Moscow Times article is particularly interesting.
Despite the hysteria, no-one who has booked a trip to Öland need cancel their holiday for fear of Russian invasion. Even if there is a submarine for real, nothing dangerous is going to happen to put Swedish security in jeopardy. For that, we should await the nuclear holocaust should this be the result of the EU’s attempt to recruit Ukraine or Belarus.