Sweden to resume publishing Cold War guide in case Russia invades

An extract from If War Comes, the 1961 edition.
An extract from If War Comes, the 1961 edition. Photo credit: Wikipedia/file

Sweden is preparing for war with Russia.

Not by mobilising its armed forces, but by teaching its people how they can survive a Russian invasion.

A leaflet titled If War Comes is to be distributed to the Nordic country's 4.7 million households. It's a modernised version of a pamphlet that was first issued in 1943, and contains instructions about civil defence measures, which belongings to take in an evacuation and how to use gas masks, among other vital information.

"People need to learn and know about how to deal with it," Christina Andersson of the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency told local media.

The new version will also contain tips on how to survive during terror attacks and pandemics, as well as how to get by in the age of climate change and misinformation.

The pamphlet was discontinued in 1991, as the Cold War came to a peaceful end. Ms Andersson says it's back partly due to "the current security situation" and the fact few Swedish households have phone books anymore, where civil defence information used to reside.

Russia annexed Crimea in 2014, a move condemned by the international community. The Vladimir Putin-led superpower is also widely believed to have interfered in the 2016 US presidential election in favour of eventual winner Donald Trump, as well as votes in other countries, such as Brexit.

In September, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko claimed Russia and its allies had been preparing for war in eastern Europe.

"There are no signs at the moment that Moscow would be ready to pull back from [eastern Ukraine] or leave Crimea," Mr Poroshenko said. "In fact, there is more and more evidence for its preparations for an offensive war of continental proportions."

Sweden and Russia last went to war in the early 1800s. Russia won.

To invade Sweden, Russia would need to go through Finland. Sweden is an 'affiliate' member of the NATO military alliance. Finland, though not a member, has good relations with NATO.

The new version of If War Comes will be printed and distributed later this year.