• Sweden's news in English
 
app_header_v3
Russian spies pose as diplomats in Sweden
Russia's President Vladimir Putin (left) and Sweden's capital Stockholm. Photos: Sergei Chirikov/AP/TT and Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden

Russian spies pose as diplomats in Sweden

TT/The Local · 17 Mar 2016, 13:16

Published: 17 Mar 2016 11:16 GMT+01:00
Updated: 17 Mar 2016 13:16 GMT+01:00

Säpo, which last year concluded that the biggest intelligence threat against Sweden came from Russia, has once again detailed how its eastern neighbour is using a range of aggressive tactics designed to rattle residents.
 
The security service's report, first seen and reported on by Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, argues that Russia is carrying out various forms of psychological warfare via "extreme movements, information operations and misinformation campaigns" designed to target both policy makers and the general public.
 
It also states that around a dozen diplomats are operating as spies and confirms that some Russian embassy staff were asked to leave Stockholm in 2015, amid an uptick in tensions between the two countries, as The Local reported in September.
 
Other spies are understood by Säpo to be working for airlines and businesses operating in Sweden.
 
"We see intelligence activities in all these different areas. In the political, economic, military, and so on. The overall picture is very disturbing," says Wilhelm Unge, one of the counterespionage researchers who worked on the report.
 
After Russia, Iran and China are viewed by Säpo as presenting the biggest intelligence threats to Sweden.
 
 
The report also singles out attempted acts of terrorism from extremist groups such as Isis as a major potential danger, arguing that efforts to radicalize young people in the Scandinavian country have reached unprecedented levels.
 
The security service's document states that more than 300 people have so far travelled from Sweden to fight in Syria and Iraq. Of these, 135 have since returned while 44 have lost their lives.
 
However, Säpo argues that record asylum applications in Sweden in 2015 did not drive up criminal activities.
 
"Säpo sees very few crimes in Sweden that can be linked to the large refugee reception," says Ahn-Za Hagström, another of the report's core researchers.
 

Refugees arriving in Malmö in southern Sweden last year. Photo: Stig-Åke Jönsson/TT
 
But she points out that the tone of debates is shifting, with racist extremists and vigilantes in Sweden spreading increasing amounts of anti-immigration rhetoric.
Story continues below…
 
"The current refugee situation, migration flows, is a driving issue for the white power movement," she says, noting that far-right radicals are increasingly accusing asylum seekers of being terrorists.
 
These allegations have led to closer cooperation between Säpo and Sweden's Migration Agency Migrationsverket over the past 12 months, according to the report.
 
"The numbers themselves are a challenge for us in the security service, not least from a resource perspective," says Malin Fylkner, the report's security analyst.
 
Last November a 22-year-old Iraqi man was wrongly arrested by Säpo for plotting a terror attack in Sweden. He later launched legal proceedings seeking one million kronor in compensation from the Swedish government.

For more news from Sweden, join us on Facebook and Twitter.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Today's headlines
Ibrahimovic makes United debut in front of Swedes
Ibrahimovic endured a terrible Euro 2016. Photo: TT

”Everybody has been waiting for this,” says Mr Modesty.

Sweden to investigate citizens' sex lives
It has been 20 years since the last in-depth study of the sex habits of Swedes. Photo: Tammy McGary/Flickr

The Swedish government is to launch a major study of the sex lives of its citizens after reports that lovemaking is on the wane.

Russian 'terror suspect' held at Swedish airport walks free
File photo of Arlanda Airport. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

UPDATED: A 35-year-old man has been released from police custody after being arrested at Arlanda Airport in Stockholm on Friday morning.

Northern Dispatches
'Moving to northern Sweden was the best thing we've done'
Photo: FB

In his farewell column, The Local’s northern Sweden correspondent, Paul Connolly, looks back at his first four years in Sweden.

Bear family just hanging out on Swedish golf course
Not the bear cub in question. But isn't he cute? Photo: AP Photo/Alexander Zemlianichenko

A bear family has been roaming a Swedish golf course, and the best thing of all is that no one cares.

The Local investigates
What do we actually know about the violence in Malmö?
Police investigating an explosion in Malmö on Thursday. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

International media have presented a "distorted" view of a spate of Malmö shootings and an explosion, a senior police boss has told The Local.

The Local List
Reasons why Stockholm Pride is simply awesome
Photo: Annika af Klercker/TT.

Stockholm's Pride festival culminates on Saturday with a parade – and more than a few parties. Here's why we think it's pretty amazing.

Cashless Swedes sitting on old bills worth billions

Old Swedish bank notes worth 1.4 billion kronor are still circulating, according to the country’s central bank, despite them having been declared invalid a month ago.

Homes
In pictures: Why is Nordic design so hot right now?
Scandinavian design. Photo: House of Beatniks

Design agency Studio Esinam investigates together with Houzz.se why the world is falling in love with Nordic style.

Stockholm one of world's best places to live: magazine
Living the dream. Photo: Hasse Holmberg/TT

Stockholm is the tenth best city in the world to live in, reckons this British magazine.

Sponsored Article
Why Swiss hospitality graduates are in demand
National
Swedish cop makes arrest of the year
Sponsored Article
Five easy ways to travel more often
National
Anyone for a bite of 340-year-old shipwrecked stinky cheese?
Gallery
People-watching: July 27th
Blog updates

26 July

A summer of change; a summer of beauty (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"You would have had to try hard to miss the political upheavals in the UK after…" READ »

 

22 July

After the horror, carry on regardless (Globally Local) »

"This time last week, we were just digesting the horror of the Nice killings, in which…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
Why you need a EuroBonus American Express Card
Politics
Why Sweden's high taxes are not as high as you think
Sponsored Article
What can newcomers learn about Sweden at Almedalen?
National
What's haggis in a condom doing on Swedish children's TV?
National
Meet the northern Swede who is the world's best mosquito killer
National
Sweden's Hollywood star Alicia Vikander puts her pen in the bottle
Sponsored Article
Gran Canaria: Where Swedes go to work (and play)
Gallery
People-watching: July 22nd-24th
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
The Local Voices
The Jewish Syrian who dreams of rebuilding his country
National
Watch this Swedish weather host leave his fly open... on live TV
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
The Local Voices
'I fled war in Syria. I never expected to be beaten in Sweden'
Sponsored Article
'Sweden's Lauryn Hill' touches the country's musical soul
National
WATCH: Asylum seeker brutally beaten by Swedish bus driver
Technology
Why everyone is talking about Sweden's GTA pride parade
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
EU hits truck cartel with record price fixing fine
Sponsored Article
Local guide: the best of Berlin
Society
OPINION: Why Sweden is the most extreme country in the world
The Local Voices
'There is equality in accommodation in Sweden: Everyone is suffering'
Gallery
Property of the week: Gräsö, Östhammar
Gallery
People-watching: July 15th-17th
National
How to make sure you're not caught out by Sweden's old bank notes
Business & Money
Why Sweden has been named the most innovative country in Europe
National
Terror attack: what should you do?
National
French expat on the moment he was assaulted by a Stockholm bouncer
Technology
Gunman? Nah, smartphone Swede
The Local Voices
'If the war in Syria ended today, would you go back?'
The Local Voices
‘I feel like I’m living in a grave!’
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Sweden's Princess Victoria celebrates 39th birthday
Gallery
People-watching: July 13th
National
Swedes discover surprise mountain
The Local Voices
'Even xenophobic Swedes can be polite’
The Local Voices
'The best time to be smuggled to Europe is August 20th, 2015'
The Local Voices
Swedes: Stop obsessing over your material life and start talking to strangers
3,390
jobs available