Now the risk of foreign influence on the election is increasing – News

Do you think migration or Sweden's relationship with NATO is one of the most important questions of the elections? Does the size of the defense budget, the problem of the free abortion or the rights of HBTQ people determine which party will receive your vote?

Then do the best to look carefully at your sources. These are the issues where foreign government actors have been trying to influence Swedish opinion for several years, according to the Swedish Social Protection Agency (MSB).

Since 2015 we have been able to see that foreign power has an impact on Sweden and it clearly plays a role in the election, "said Mikael Tofvesson, deputy department head at MSB's operational department, and added:

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ÖB Micael Bydén (right) and the armed forces participated in Europride Parade via Stockholm. Both HBTQ questions and defense problems are common in attempts to influence public opinion in Sweden. Stock Photography.

We do not currently see a specific and coordinated campaign aimed at the election.

Critical time

However, the three weeks prior to the election day MSB see as criticism. Now the risk is greatest for targeted effects, not least in the case of smuggling by individual politicians or other spokespeople. The goal is to directly influence the election results.

This has been seen in many other countries and the method is often effective. With a short time left to the election, it will be difficult to get a legitimate story about a story and find out what is true, says Mikael Tofvesson.

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Sweden's relationship with NATO is sensitive, and according to MSB, foreign power affects Sweden to influence Sweden's perception of the Defense alliance. Stock Photography.

Säpo also sees such a risk.

We look at other countries and what it has looked like. What we know is that the importance of an actor of the state to act at elections has been there. That is something that we are following and we estimate that this can happen, "said Susanna Trehörning, Säpos's chief executive officer for the election.

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Refugees and migrants are lined up to be taken to northern Greece. Migration is one of the issues in which MSB warns that other countries are trying to influence the Swedish debate. Stock Photography.

Strong feelings

The form of impact that MSB has already experienced in Sweden is aimed at slowly changing the perceptions of people on specific issues.

Only that the problems evoke strong emotions makes them interesting in an impact campaign. One tries to strengthen negative images. When it comes to migration, for example, it raises social concerns, crime and violence, he says.

Björn Palmertz, senior analyst at the Defense College, gives a similar picture of how the incident works.

One tries it in fertile soil and places his opinions in different directions to questions where contradictions exist in society. At the moment there are crimes and punishments, migration and other broad social problems that evoke strong emotions, "said Mikael Tofvesson.

"Foreign Power"

First of all, Russia has consequences for Sweden.

But it is not only about Russia, but also about a number of domestic groups, mostly extreme right, who try to influence the debate with the help of the network, "says Björn Palmertz.

According to Mikael Tofvesson, Islamic organizations also have an influence on Sweden. For example, he takes the group Hisp ut-Tahir who has urged Muslims in Sweden not to vote.

If you can lead people to not use their democratic rights, then of course that is not good. It creates imbalance in society, he says.

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