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Some people in Russia are clearly not happy with recent Swedish political statements, as these posters appeared in poster sites close to the Swedish embassy. "We are against nazism, but they are not" with photographs and quotes from Astrid Lindgren, Ingemar Bergman, Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA).
The ads could be seen as targeting the Swedes, considering their location. But Mikael Östlund, communication chief at Sweden’s Psychological Defence Agency, said in a statement to The Local that the posters were primarily designed to justify the war in Ukraine to Russia’s own population.
“Accusing western countries of Nazism is a part of the justification for their own war,” he said. “This is probably directed towards its own population. This has been one of the justifications for the war in Ukraine as well.”
The poster with Sweden's beloved Astrid Lindgren is a masterclass in propaganda, starting with the art direction in the headline. The word "we" has the Russian flag colors, while the word "They" has Sweden's. The "Nazi quotes" connected to each person are precisely edited to disregard all context, making them appear as sympathizers.
The Astrid Lindgren quote comes from her war diaries when Sweden feared invasion both from the Soviet Union and the Nazis. “And so I think I’d rather say ‘Heil Hitler’ my whole life than get the Russians on top of us. You can hardly think of anything so awful,” she wrote. But Astrid Lindgren was choosing between a rock and a hard place, she was a committed anti-nazi and in other parts of her war diary she said that Hitler was ‘his people’s nemesis and cultural destroyer’.
It's also worth noting that the diary entry was from June 1940, when the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany were both honoring the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, and our brothers in Finland had just ceded 9% of their landmass in the Moscow Peace Treaty to end the Russo-Finnish war.
Another poster in this campaign shows Gustaf V who was King of Sweden from 1907 until his death in 1950. He was a well-known Germanophile, his wife Queen Victoria of Sweden, was born a Princess of Baden and she was both the granddaughter of Emperor Wilhelm I as well as a cousin of Emperor Wilhelm II. Victoria died in 1930, but Gustav still traveled to Berlin in 1933 and 1939. I can't see what the quote is that they're attributing to him in this poster, but as he is our last "real" King, meaning he had power as one, and he's still seen as a controversial one I'd venture a guess his quotes from one of his letters to Hitler. Perhaps the one where he assures Hitler of Sweden's intentions to remain neutral (aka plz don't invade us ktx).
Put this in the context that unlike the Soviet Union, King Gustav V never signed any friendship treaty with Nazi Germany.
Former Swedish Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt predicts that this campaign will backfire. "Or are they preparing a ”denazifying” operation against Sweden as well? I think this will further solidify support for joining NATO"
Now there is a publicity campaign in Moscow 🇷🇺 saying that 🇸🇪 is a country of Nazis. Are there any limits to these guys? Or are they preparing a ”denazifying” operation against 🇸🇪 as well? I think this will further solidify support for 🇸🇪 joining @NATO. pic.twitter.com/n7RHJQRDjd
— Carl Bildt (@carlbildt) May 3, 2022
It's possible that the creators of this poster had seen the Swedish asylum legal firm's poster outside of the Russian embassy in Stockholm, and this is their reply.
Who is behind the Russian posters is difficult to decipher, I can only read наша at the bottom, meaning "our".