Stockholm City Hall 03, by Stefan Lins

Russia's Active Measures: The Case of Sweden

Russia has increased its public diplomacy efforts in recent years. As Martin Krag and Sebastian Åsberg argue in a recent article for the Journal of Strategic Studies, not all of those efforts are benign.

The piece presents empirical evidence on Russia's use of "active measures"—an old Soviet term for covert influence activities—particularly in the wake of the 2014 Crimea annexation. Using Sweden, a small country in a geopolitically important region, as an example, the authors document incidents of forgery, disinformation, military threats, and other covert tactics. In short, Russian public diplomacy is increasingly giving way to "active measures."

The effectiveness of these tactics is debatable, but their use nonetheless signals Russia’s intent and strategic thinking. Overall, Russian objectives in Sweden and the Baltic Sea region are aimed at preserving the geostrategic status quo—meaning limiting NATO presence in the region.

The full article is available here.

Photo by Stefan Lins I CC 2.0

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