The “Russian threat” is driving countries in the Nordic-Baltic region to rebuild defense infrastructure that had been abandoned with the end of the Cold War, analysts acknowledge.
Frederik Lojdquist, director of the Swedish Institute of International Relations, explained that Sweden, from the moment Russia invaded Crimea in 2014, set out to rebuild most of the security mechanisms that had been dismantled with the end of the War. Cold, late 80’s.
“Finland maintained some of these infrastructures, but Sweden had to start rebuilding them. And that is a consequence of the recognition of the Russian threat, which was accentuated with the recent invasion of Ukraine”, said this Swedish diplomat today, during a virtual conference on the “Russian Hybrid War”, organized by the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA), in partnership with the US embassy in Sweden, which the Lusa agency attended.
For Lojdquist, the concept of hybrid warfare – a theory of military strategy that combines conventional warfare with cyber warfare and other modes of influence such as diplomacy and information manipulation – requires that national security policies involve both civil society and the State, especially when the threat comes from powers such as Russia.
Hana Shelest, Ukrainian researcher at CEPA and the second speaker at the conference, defended the idea that the Russian threat obliges neighboring countries, namely the Nordic and Baltic countries, to reinvent the concept of Total Defense (a defense policy that combines concept of civil defense and military defense).
“The war in Ukraine has proven that good articulation between the Army and civil society is essential. And, with regard to civil society, the essential concept is resilience. Given the hybrid war formula that we are experiencing in Ukraine, it is crucial that civil society is resilient”, explained this researcher.
Shelest recalled the example of restaurant owners in Ukraine who, faced with the absence of customers, in the midst of war, found a way to help the war effort by commanding from Kiev.
“The owners of these restaurants said: ‘let’s start feeding the population affected by the war’. And that is an example of resilience and Total Defense”, said the investigator, agreeing with Lojdquist’s thesis that, in current times, everything It’s a war scene.
For this Swedish diplomat, the Nordic-Baltic countries – a cooperation formation that since 1992 has included five Nordic countries (Finland, Sweden, Norway, Iceland and Denmark) and three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) – are recovering and to reinvent the Total Defense infrastructures inherited from the Cold War.
An example of this effort on the part of Sweden was the recent creation of a National Security Council, whose objective is to coordinate the efforts of civil society and military organizations, at a time when Russia is asserting itself as a threat.
However, this Swedish diplomat admits that these Total Defense efforts will never be effective in isolation, but rather recall the need for regional and international cooperation, which explains the intentions of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
The military offensive launched on February 24 by Russia in Ukraine has already caused the flight of more than 13 million people – more than six million internally displaced and more than 7.8 million to European countries -, according to the most recent data. of the UN, which classifies this refugee crisis as the worst in Europe since the Second World War (1939-1945).
The Russian invasion – justified by the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, with the need to “denazify” and demilitarize Ukraine for Russia’s security – was condemned by the international community in general, which has responded by sending arms to Ukraine and imposing it on Russia of political and economic sanctions.
The UN presented as confirmed since the beginning of the war 6,702 civilians dead and 10,479 wounded, underlining that these numbers are far below the real ones.