A majority of Swedes are prepared to fight to defend their homeland if faced with an invasion, but the enthusiasm to take up arms differs significantly based on the respondent’s political party affiliation, new polling has revealed.
On average, six out of 10 of those asked would be willing to defend the country, according to an opinion poll conducted by Novus and published by the newspaper Fokus.
This figure, however, rose to 73 percent of respondents who support the conservative Swedish Democrats party, and dropped to 55 percent among left-wing Social Democratic party voters.
When split by age group, the willingness to defend the Swedish border is unsurprisingly the lowest among those of fighting-age, with just 44 percent of those aged between 18 and 29 years old willing to defend the country.
“I think it has to do with the fact that conscription has not existed for a long time,” said Novus CEO Torbjörn Sjöström.
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“You have no idea what it’s about,” he explained in reference to the younger generation. “If you have done the dirty work, you have at least got a feeling a little more concrete about what it is about.”
The reality of an invasion of Sweden, a previously unthinkable prospect, was questioned last week following Russia’s warning that the country would face “serious military and political repercussions” should it choose to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
“Their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences,” warned Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson for the Russian Foreign Ministry during a press conference on Friday.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson responded strongly to the thinly-veiled Russian threat, stating: “I want to be extremely clear. It is Sweden that itself and independently decides on our security policy line.”