Russian posters accuse some of the most famous Swedes of the 20th century of supporting Nazism.
Posters accusing some of the most famous Swedes of the 20th century of supporting Nazism have appeared on the streets of Moscow in a sign of worsening relations between Russia and Sweden, and as the Nordic country contemplates joining NATO.
Outside the Swedish embassy, two posters posted at a bus stop displayed photographs of Swedish King Gustaf V, writer Astrid Lindgren, film director Ingmar Bergman and IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad, with the message: “We are against of Nazism, they don’t.
The Reuters news agency saw a third billboard with the Swedish figures, all of whom are now dead, posted on a major thoroughfare in central Moscow.
When asked about the posters, the Swedish Foreign Ministry press office said in a statement: “Sweden has no intention of engaging in a public controversy with the Russian organization ‘Our Victory’, which is allegedly behind these posters. .
“In Russia, accusations of ‘Nazism’ have been repeatedly deployed against countries and individuals who express justified criticism of Russia’s actions,” the ministry added.
The Russian Foreign Ministry did not respond to a request for comment.
Three commuters from Moscow at the bus stop near the Swedish embassy said they were in favor of the anti-Swedish posters.
“I think the posters are timely in light of recent events,” said Alexandra, 47.
“If Europeans consider themselves to be democratic countries, then I think it is completely democratic to express an alternative point of view and show people a different opinion,” he said.
Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and its invasion of Ukraine on February 24 have prompted Sweden and neighboring Finland to rethink their security policies, with NATO membership looking increasingly likely.
Sweden’s defense minister said last month that a NATO request could trigger a series of responses from Russia, including cyberattacks and hybrid measures such as propaganda campaigns.
Moscow says its military campaign in Ukraine is designed to demilitarize and “denazify” the country, something kyiv and the West have dismissed as an unfounded pretext for waging an unprovoked war of aggression against a sovereign democratic state.