Updated January 21st, 2022 at 19:29 IST

Swedish people and political parties divided over joining NATO amid Russian scare

As the perennial NATO debate rages on in Sweden, a poll shows that the population is split on whether the country should join the alliance.

Reported by: Aparna Shandilya
Image: AP | Image:self

As the perennial NATO debate rages on in Sweden, a poll shows that the population is split on whether the country should join the alliance. In a poll conducted by pollster Novus, little over a third of respondents, 37%, responded yes to NATO membership. Only 35% of those polled said no. However, there were as many as 28% who were undecided.

"The yes side has progressed strongly compared to 2017, so now there are about as many who are for NATO membership as against. But about a third cannot answer the question, that is really where this question is decided, "Torbjorn Sjostrom, CEO of Novus, informed national broadcaster SVT.

While there were slightly more persons in favour of joining the alliance in the survey, the difference was statistically insignificant. However, when compared to a previous study conducted in 2017, the difference is significant. At the time, 32% of people said yes to NATO, while 43% voted no.

Sweden's most political parties in favour of NATO

The majority of the country's legislative parties are currently in favour of the theoretical NATO option, while opinions on actual membership are split evenly. The ruling Social Democrats, the Left, the Greens, and the national-conservative Sweden Democrats are in favour of NATO, while the Moderates, the Centre, the Christian Democrats, and the Liberals are against it. 

The most recent round of the NATO debate comes amid unprecedented fearmongering about a war with Russia. While the media portrays Russia as an "aggressor," prominent politicians and military officials, like Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist and Supreme Commander Micael Byden, have made aggressive statements describing Russia as a "danger." Furthermore, earlier this week, Hultqvist stated that a strike on Sweden could not be ruled out.

The arrival of armoured troops on the streets of Gotland, Sweden's largest island, was attributed to a number of factors, including Russia's recent movement of ships in neutral Baltic Sea waters. As a result of this scaremongering, a huge majority of people, 59%, stated they are terrified of Russia as a superpower in a Novus poll. Only a third, or 29% of those polled, were fearful of the United States. As anti-Russian emotions reached a fever pitch, the Russian embassy in Stockholm had to reassure ordinary Swedes that Moscow has no ambitions to attack the Scandinavian country. 

(With inputs from agencies)

(Image: AP)


Published January 21st, 2022 at 19:29 IST