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EU expresses Russia human rights concerns

AFP/The Local · 18 Nov 2009, 18:03

Published: 18 Nov 2009 15:43 GMT+01:00
Updated: 18 Nov 2009 18:03 GMT+01:00

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"We exchanged views on human rights, the rule of law and democracy in Russia, especially the situation for human rights defenders in Russia," Reinfeldt said.

"This is an increasing cause for concern," he added.

Medvedev did not respond directly to the EU criticism but said that on the Caucasus, "we have some differences here that should be acknowledged," notably on the situation in Georgia and the secession of its two pro-Russian republics, Abkhazia an South Ossetia.

"But we don't have to dramatise the situation, on the contrary we should discuss it," he said, reiterating his view that Tbilisi's actions during the 2008 war with Georgia over South Ossetia were an "aggression."

Medvedev stressed that talks were underway to resolve the Nagorno-Karabach conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

"This proves what we can do together, what we could have done if this aggression had not taken place last year," the Russian leader said of the Georgia war.

Human rights groups have accused Russian forces of committing abuses during the Georgia war, and have complained that many killings of Russian journalists and activists go unsolved.

Earlier on Wednesday, human rights groups including Memorial in Russia and Human Rights Watch had urged the EU presidency to pressure Moscow on human rights.

In a statement, they accused Russian authorities of neglecting to investigate recent killings and kidnappings in the Caucasus, allowing an atmosphere of "impunity" to flourish.

Story continues below…

Also on Wednesday, Russian activists bitterly accused Russian prison officials of neglect over the sudden death of a lawyer arrested in a major tax probe as officials refused to open a criminal investigation.

Sergei Magnitsky, 37, a lawyer for the Hermitage Capital Management fund which is under investigation in a criminal probe closely watched by investors, died on Monday of heart failure, the interior ministry said.

"This death will further compromise the standing of our judicial system," activist Lev Ponomarev, a leading defender of prisoners' rights in Russia, told AFP.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

16:33 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
What about all the Sami that Sweden sterilised under its national Eurgenics policy before it joined the EU? That policy officially ended in the 70's. Only Nazi Germany sterilised more people than Sweden. Most of the sterilisations occurred after WW2. The Swedish government fights all compensation claims for being forcibly sterilised and only pays out such small amounts as to be insulting.

During that sterilisation period, Sami, single mothers, poor people, etc were also sterilised. It was not about removing mental illness from society, otherwise they would have sterilised all of Stockholm, Småland, Dalarna and Skåne.

A discussion of the Eugenics centres that were in Lund and Uppsala universities until the 70's would be very interesting. They were almalgamated into the psychology departments, under evolutionary psychology.

What about all the Jewish families who from 1933 to 1945 had there business's stripped of them, so as to appease the nazi's? They were never compensated and they never got there business's back. Those Jewish families were originally from the Krakow region and were asked by the King of Sweden in the 18th century to open and develop the mines as Sweden had not got the technological ability at the time.

For those of you who do not believe that, the mines were stripped of Jewish ownership in 33 to 35 in Sweden, before Hitler even marched into the Rhineland. That early intervention against Jewish ownership of business's has never been adequately explained and is always glossed over in Sweden.

Why did Sweden not lift a finger when Finland was attacked on Nov 30 1939 for no reason by the Russians, before Norway or Denmark were invaded?

Why did Sweden do nothing when Norway and Denmark were invaded on April 9, 1940.

Why did Sweden gladly supply the Nazi's with Iron? It is obvious by taking ownership of the mines from Jews in 33/34/35 that was nothing to do with later events.

Hypocrisy can only be ignored up to a point. After that, it is obvious it is blatant bigotry.

Thankfully during World War 2 a lot of Swedes fought for the Finns against the Russians, many of whom paid the ultimate price. Quite a few took serious risks to help fellow Danes and Norse.

During the upcoming conference, I hope Medvedev will talk at length about some idiots from Sweden who joined the Waffen SS and fought on the Eastern Front, where they committed atrocities.

Almost every Russian family lost a relative in WW2. If the Russians explain that to the Swedes in undiplomatic terms at the conference, they will deserve it.

Maybe then the Swedes will learn not to mention the war.

In modern day Sweden, why are so many women raped and why are so few arrested and jailed for rape. Does Reinfeldt consider rape victims to be devoid of rights?

If Reinfeldt mentions Russian human rights abuses to Medvedev, he could get a history lesson regarding Swedish human rights abuses.
16:38 November 18, 2009 by livinginsweden
Cannot disagree with you there ......
17:05 November 18, 2009 by entry
...moving away from rants about Sweden's past and getting back to the Caucasus human rights concerns...

TheLocal.se news item really doesn't even touch on the issues.
17:14 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
@ entry

You are correct that the local does not touch on the issue. However the Causcus is also in the past.

A past that has never been properly acknowledged is a major problem.
17:50 November 18, 2009 by livinginsweden
Failure to admit past wrongs is itself a further abuse of HRs
17:55 November 18, 2009 by Celc
@Nemesis - Nobody is covering up those facts or saying it was okay in any way shape or form.

As for not helping Finland, Sweden is the oldest neutral country on the planet, that's why it didn't go to war. Neutrality does not mean you remain neutral until war breaks out and then pick sides, Sweden has taken a stance against taking sides.

Your points are just one long what-aboutery rant though and does not invalidate the criticism against Russia in any way. (http://www.johannhari.com/2009/04/09/how-to-spot-a-lame-lame-argument)
18:21 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Celc

In Sweden a lot has been covered up and swept under the carpet, particularly regarding the eugenics movement. Facts about that are still emerging.

Try getting a government official to admit they seized property from jews in 33 to 45. Name a school that is taught in. They are still in denial regarding that, at every level.

Swedens last official war was to invade and annex Norway in 1814. That was a good point to become neutral, after seizing another country, which had risen up to self determine.

Sweden is as hypocritical as Ireland which is the now the staging post for the USA military in the middle east. Switzerland is not much better and lauders money from conflicts, every chance it gets.

The Vatican made a point of laudering money seized from Jews in WW2, even though officially neutral under the lateran treaty. That money has never been recovered and the Vatican has refused to even discuss it with the fmailies involved.

Neutrality in Europe until recently has only mean't no war on our territory, but we will fund your war, train your army, arm your soldiers and profit from it.

If Neutral, a country should not be arming both sides in a conflict to the teeth, or allowing there country to be used as a transit point for entire armies, as happened in WW2.

Like it or not, Sweden claims to be neutral, but its arms have popped up in almost every conflict since it invaded Norway in 1814.

As for what I said, I was pointing out the hypocrisy of the Swedish stance, as I do with Ireland were I come from.

If Sweden wants to be honest, it needs to come out fom the shadows and join NATO, instead of being an unofficial member, so as to keep a few citizens happy in hipocrisy. Austria, Ireland and Switzerland should do the same.

Failing that it should remove itself from assisting in wars.

Closing the armements industry would cripple Sweden so they should just join NATO.

Your link actually applies more to yourself.
18:27 November 18, 2009 by GefleFrequentFlyer
I hope Fredrik feels better about him self that he "brought it up" in conversation.

That's just a free pass to buy some time.

In the meantime, Obama won't address this biggest issue with China on his trip for fear of "imposing" the will of the US, and upsetting the "reset" in asian relations.

What crazy times we live in.
18:45 November 18, 2009 by Celc

Yet that's still not relevant to this discussion, you are talking about something completely different. The criticism was also made on behalf of the EU so technically it's not Sweden that's making it, it's the EU.

To continue point out the absurdities in what you are spewing out:

"If Neutral, a country should not be arming both sides in a conflict to the teeth". I think you have to go look up the definition of "neutral" because that's exactly what being neutral means.

"It was not about removing mental illness from society, otherwise they would have sterilised all of Stockholm, Småland, Dalarna and Skåne." is an ad hominem, adorable.

I don't see what NATO has to do with any of this. You are just grasping for straws and trying to change the subject.

I do however agree that Sweden should remove itself from assisting in wars, no matter if we are in NATO or not and stick to peace keeping with the UN as long as the UN doesn't start another war.

Your last statement is ludicrous and makes me doubt you even looked at the link, either that or you failed to grasp the concept.
19:21 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Celc

Reinfeldt attacked the russians, not the EU.

Regarding NATO. Sweden is not officially a member, but is constantly on maneouveurs with them and acts like a part of NATO. Sweden is only outisde NATO in name only.

So you think Sweden should stay out of wars. That would mean literally shredding the economy in several parts of Sweden. Will you emply those people who are made unemployed? I think not.

Sweden claimed its eugenics program was to reduce the level of mental and physical disability in Sweden, yet it appears to have sterlised mostly healthy people, both mentally and physically from different ethnic groups.

Regarding your link, that is actually what you are doing. I read the article previously, including his Dubai article, which was interesting and I agreed with as I had been there.
19:26 November 18, 2009 by Kooritze
@ Nemesis

As a Brit living in Sweden, I as you have, read the real history of Sweden and I agree with all that you say.......you could,nt have put it better. Sitting on the fence while your neighbour gets invaded or even helping them to be invaded is just shameful.

Likewise, I recognise the hypocracy of Britain in it,s foregin policy of past and present....selling offence as defence, pro Israeli stance and grabbing resources where they can.

As for Medvedev.......I doubt if he was in any way concerned of the comments by Fred be it representing the EU or Sweden. The west needs Russian energy resources because we dont have any....they know that. Mere words dont hurt.
19:47 November 18, 2009 by Michael84
The russian president doesn't look so happy haha
20:00 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Kooritze

The first time I found out about the Sami sterilisation program was when I was in Kivik 20 years ago. I did not believe it when I was told and actually argued that it was impossible and they were lying. I got egg on my face over that one. I felt like a complete idiot.

The UK once had a eugenics program, but it was defeated in the mid 30's by human rights lawyers (barristers). That almost caused a rift between the legal and psychiatrict professions in the UK.

The USA, Germany and Sweden all had eugenics programs and Sweden was actually seen as the leader in the field and is still quoted today by Americans who are evolutionary psychologists.

Every country is hypocrites. No country is innocent on that one.

I just get angry with Swedes on that, due to there holier than thou attitute on that one.

So many Swedes know nothing about there own countries history, it really amazes me. Then again, the last few years most countries seem to be going the same way.

@ Michael84

He is never happy.

I wish spitting image were still around to cover these talks.
20:29 November 18, 2009 by Leprechaun .se
Nemesis? I find it hard to believe YOU wrote that..

The sami sterilizations.. Well I have my doubts and the fact that Samis are born every year strengthens those doubts quite a bit or at the very least that they were conducted to a small extent; what would help me a lot is to see the same proofs and hear the same testimonies that you've heard but otherwise I'm always going to have doubts that it has ever happened (and please notice how I use the word "doubts" which means that I'm not sure; that I don't know).

I need some hard evidence to even consider the possibility that our former social democratic government stole from Jews.

As for what I do know very well; Norway didn't help Finland when Finland was invaded; Norway didn't help Denmark when Denmark was invaded and none of those countries COULD help any other country; the Swedish army (just as all the others) was small, poorly equipped (it didn't even have enough rifles to all soldiers and most of them were old (the weapons I mean)), they couldn't even destroy a tank (well not in any other way than the Finnish way of running on top of a tank, opening the hatch and throwing down a molotov or grenade or whatever which isn't particularly.. safe or effective (well it's effective if you succeed).

The Netherlands, Belgium, Switzerland, France, Britain, the USA and Spain. Not one god damn single country helped (As you've pointed out yourself Norway was invaded long after Finland. Hell the US would have stayed out of the war too if it wasn't for the Japanese.

Sweden didn't help Denmark for the same reasons that Norway, NL, BE and Switzerland didn't help. All these countries were neutral (and their armies were insufficient to say the least) until they were attacked which is the ONLY reason that they ever got involved. They would have stayed out if the Germans had given them the chance.. as Switzerland and Sweden were given and did.

The only valid point I could find was the iron trade but even then I have comments, we didn't exactly have a choice and the Nazis didn't always pay but you are definitely right; the best things to do would have been to blow up the mines, bridges and railroads.. although that would only have slowed them down a couple weeks tops.. still that time might very well have saved lives and given people more time to prepare a resistance which might would have made the Nazi's approach in Europe go slower and so on and on. :/

I am ashamed of that but it happened 70 years ago and I know that we wouldn't make the same decision twice now when we know everything which is much more relevant (actually that's the only thing of any relevance at all).

What Russia has done in the past few years somehow seems more important but maybe that's just me; seriosuly, have Beynch or some other a§§hole hacked your account?
22:14 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
@ Leprechaun .se




According to the Swedish government it was 21000 who were sterilised. The sterilisations ended in 1976.

Ask any Sami and you will get a straight answer. A lot of them were sterilised. Sami are well versed on the subject. if they had not been sterilised, there numbers would be significantly higher now.

Some jewish families were forced to sell there properties and business due to the actions of local Landshövding who were nazi's. The government and courts refused to intervene out of cowardice and fear of Hitler taking offence. Local Nazi's took advantage of that in some parts of Sweden. Fortunately it was isolated, but no one got compensation after the war was over. Ask a jew and you will get a rant about it a week long. I did. It will never be talked about because there was no official policy and no government will allow itself to be blamed for local actions which it turned a bling eye to.

Every country has skeletons like that.

Both Norway and Denmark were invaded simultaneously on April 9, 1940 by Germany. My great uncle was involved in invading Norway for the UK in Narvik. He made clear to me that if the Swedes had intervened, which they were told to watch out for. Narvik would have been a disaster for both then UK and Germany.

Sweden was better armed than Finland in 1940. Finland held of Russia. If Sweden had mobilised when Norway and Denmark was invaded, both the Germans and Brittish would have been kicked back into the sea in Norway, although Denmark would still have fallen. Neither had enough to take on combined Swedish and Norwegian mobilisation in Scandinavia at the time. Both UK and Germany were severely stretched when Norway was invaded.

If Sweden had acted then, things would have been different. By 1941 it was to late, due to a massive increase in German strength and the Fall of France freeing up troops.

Regarding Russia, I know exactly what they did. I know about the pogroms, about the racist russification policies in Ukraine and Karolin peninsula, antisemitism, gulags, extermination of Kulaks, etc. What I was pointing out was the hypocrisy.

As I have previously stated every government are guilty of that.

I personally think Stalins extermination programs, should be taught in history class alongside what Hitler did.

Don't worry my account has not been hacked, although I am feeling a bit hyper after my flu vaccination today.
23:13 November 18, 2009 by entry
@ Nemesis In the past I have also heard it tossed around that the Sami were targeted for sterilization but other than that nothing solid. It might be possible that I missed it but I was unable to find any reference to a Sami specific sterilization program in the pdf link you provided or any of the other references in the wiki pages. There were lots of references to the medical eugenics programs. All of the references seem to have been for the sterilization of those with mental or hereditary disease.

Aside from that, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization article is in dispute for several issues, one being:

They sterilized loads of sami, I added it to the article. Source: A move we saw on a history lesson + Swedish wiki. --DerMeister 08:47, 1 November 2006 (UTC)
23:29 November 18, 2009 by Rebel
Are Jews safer in Russia or in Sweden:

23:30 November 18, 2009 by Nemesis
@ entry,



and contact them directly at


They will give you the full informaiton.

It definately did happen.
00:32 November 19, 2009 by entry
@ Nemesis

There is no reference to a Sami specific sterilization program in the pdf link you provided or any credible references in the wiki pages that you also cited.

Aside from that, the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_sterilization article is in dispute for several issues, one being:

They sterilized loads of sami, I added it to the article. Source: A move we saw on a history lesson + Swedish wiki. --DerMeister 08:47, 1 November 2006 (UTC)

ROTFLMAO@contact them directly at


They will give you the full informaiton.

It definately did happen.

I see no reason to chase your unsourced tangent, especially when it has no bearing on the OP, my initial curiosity as to the plausibility of a Swedish Sami sterilization program has been satiated.
03:20 November 19, 2009 by Davey-jo
OK Sweden's history stinks; what country's doesn't? (This is a side issue)

Sweden's present may not be too fragrant; again that is a different matter.

It's Russia's present that doesn't smell too nice (it stinks) ; and there is every reason to bring this to their government's notice.

You can lose yourself forever trying to right wrongs that are well past saving.
08:45 November 19, 2009 by Nemesis
@ rebel,

Sweden by far is safer for jewish people to live in.

Anti-semitism almost died in Sweden as in most west european countries, when the Nurnberg trials showed the world what happened in Nazi Germany.

It is only in ther last 15 years or so there has been a recent rise in anti-semitism, mostly from incoming immigrants and Swedish Democrat supporters, who seem to have the same ideas.

@ Davey-jo

I agree. I was just pointing out the hypocrisy.

As for a countries history stinking, try Ireland as an example. Ireland hid Nazi War criminals from justice after WW2, as did Spain. Any women who was a single mother or deemed to be unfit was worked to death in workhouses. For decades everyone turned a blind eye to the systematic abuse of children. http://www.childabusecommission.ie/

Every country has skeltons in its cupboards. Norway used to also have an anti-Sami policy before WW2, which was basically nazi, no matter how one dress's it up.


Russia is so far behind on human rights indicators, it is obvious to all, it needs to change in almost every single way.


Russia needs to find a way to move away from having to have a strong leader before it can stabilise.

Russia needs to fully embrace democracy, allow any candidate to stand for election, make its court independant and stop shooting journalists.

Part of a journalists job (well used to be, now it appears to be to quote people like paris hilton) is in effect to act as a highlighter of any abuse of democracy or abuse of power.

In Russia, any journalist who writes anything outside party lines and they are shot. When shot it is unoffical, but it is still a throwback to Stalin times when they do that.

Journalists outside Russia, should be taking a more active stance in holding Russia to account for that, but do not.

For more information on human rights abuses in Russia, this is an OK starting point.
10:22 November 19, 2009 by Rebel
Nemisis, give me one incident where a member of the Swedish Democrats has been involved in violence against a Jew in Sweden.
10:48 November 19, 2009 by Nemesis
@ rebel,

I will be having a chat with a friend of mine who is a journalist about that this weekend.

The turned a blind eye to it when it happened in the 30's and 40's. There was never an official policy.

The official policy of the time was cowardice.
13:32 November 19, 2009 by Rebel
Just as it is today -- read the article at the link I posted. I have heard of many instances where Jews have been harassed or attacked in recent years in Sweden. If the police could catch a white SD doing such things he would be in jail and the media would go after the story like a school of hungry parahnas. When a Muslim does it to Jews the police appear to take the "Just ignore it and it will go away -- no need to stirr up uneccesary trouble". The media, which is highly anti-Israel, is certainly not going to do much.

Oh, and before people mock Russia they should consider that Dmitry Medvedev and his wife are both Jews (by heritage) who are now Orthodox Christians. So in Russia people don't make an issue about it -- would Sweden elect a Jew to lead the country who actually practiced either Judaism or Christianity?
13:54 November 19, 2009 by jonathanjames61

why dont we forget all this past history,and face the feature with reality,why does swedes need to depend on Russian for energy,please Swedes try my country,we only need developments on good rail networks,schools,and effective accomodation,and you will see the difference,I will be a party to move the motions in Nigeria,honestly you will get every resourse you need to drive your economy higher,just be firm and fair,No bribes ,talk though when needed,we have it all but no development inteligent,so lets exchange some good ideas for the next century.
17:54 November 19, 2009 by Kooritze
References to Swedish racism and jews being at risk is cookoo land......this is not Nazi Germany rising in Sweden.........Rather most racism in Sweden is expressed towards the Arab and former Yugsalvian folk.

However, as every foreigner knows even if he is white european or North American..........there is a widespread judgmentalism and scorning of those of us who do not get fully assimilated and look up to everything Swedish.

Better get ourselves on that state run social orientation course quick!!!........on the other hand......nah!!!
20:15 November 19, 2009 by Rebel
{quote]However, as every foreigner knows even if he is white european or North American..........there is a widespread judgmentalism and scorning of those of us who do not get fully assimilated and look up to everything Swedish. [/quote]Amen to that. Experienced it many times. I will not say that all Swedes are like this though. There are a few insecure types. I was talking to a young woman at T-Centralen the other day and some middle-aged guy screamed out "F-ing Americans". Even if you work in an English speaking environment you can get administrators who will show how much they hate you for being American. So I do sympathize with regugees on this one -- Swedes are far less tolerant and accepting than Americans are.
22:05 November 20, 2009 by Uncle
Nemesis - finally you started to make sense. Support you here.
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