Activists for peace have noticed that the large debate concerning the semisecret Institute for Statecraft‘s Integrity Initiative’s state-funded anti-Russian disinformation project have caused attention in Sweden in a different manner compared to the reactions in other countries. One of the reasons is that commenting on Integrity Initiative coincided with a similar debate on a new Atlantic Council report called Kremlin’s Trojan Horses 3.0 which contains a chapter about Sweden. A member of the Green party and blogger have pointed at the close connection in content as well as institutional and personal links between the author of the Swedish chapter in the Atlantic Council report and the alleged Nordic/Swedish cluster leader for Integrity Initiative.
The Anonymous leak of documents, confirmed by Integrity Initiative as coming from their computers, has initiated a large debate in 24 countries so far. There is, without counting Russian sources, a lot more than 100 unique articles and other digital material commenting the leak. The debate has primarily been concerned with interpreting the leaked material and how the official Integrity Initiative twitter account has been used for tweets primarily accusing the Labour party for being a Kremlin tool.
The Swedish comments although few, differ profoundly from comments in other countries. One main reason is that the way Integrity Initiative prescribes how journalists and researchers are supposed to work together was already last year exposed in a scandal in Sweden. Then Martin Kragh, the head of Russian studies at Uppsala University – the largest academic institution of its kind in Sweden – as well the head of the Russian and Eurasian program at Swedish Institute for International Affairs (UI), published an article in the Journal of Strategic studies together with Sebastian Ågren, also at UI with a MA in War Studies from King’s College London, UK.
The article ”Russia’s strategy for influence through public diplomacy and active measures: the Swedish case” drew strong criticism in the peace and environmental movement and among academicians and journalists. In total, the article is down loaded 36 000 times and has been mentioned in 100 primarily Swedish articles and radio programs.
In our next article, you can read more about the Swedish comments published in both a Center Party newspaper and a left wing weekly on Integrity Initiative, by an anti-imperialist blogger on Atlantic Council and by a Green blogger connecting Integrity Initiative and Atlantic Council.