National Security Threats

A few days ago, I posted a story about Sweden. Although it’s notionally a neutral country, it contains a strong pro-NATO element which is quite vocal in playing up the threat that Russia allegedly poses to its national security. As part of this trend, the liberal newspaper Vestmanlands Lans Tidning was today in full ‘red scare’ mode, warning Swedes of the terrible dangers posed by a new building being constructed in the town of Vasteras. As you can see in the picture below, the building is scary indeed.

sweden church
A threat to national security

Vestmanlands Lans Tidning is glad to enlighten us on why this pile of Lincoln’s logs (TM) is so worrisome. As it says:

Last week, the Swedish Security Police (SÄPO) pointed out Russia as the biggest threat to Swedish national security. While this is being spoken from SÄPO, the construction of a Russian Orthodox church is in full swing at Hässlö in Västerås. The building is located a couple of hundred meters from Västerås airport, an object of strategic importance for Swedish total defense and the ability to receive and provide support to host nations in a time of crisis.

The construction of the church also fits SÄPO’s description presented with the Yearbook last week: ‘Russia establishes footholds and platforms in Sweden, both physical footholds on the ground and ideological or social footholds.’

Säpo also notes that ‘religious tools’ are used to influence Sweden.

I have to say that I’m somewhat at a loss as to what the Swedes are afraid of here. Do they imagine that the bell tower is going to be  turned into a secret surveillance and communication station? Do they think that there’s going to be some ammunition dump in the church basement? Or is that they’re afraid that the church will be filled with bearded Spetnaz infiltrators dressed in ‘Orthodoxy or Death’ t-shirts?


Back in my youth, I joined the army. My first posting was as an infantry platoon commander in what was then called ‘West Germany’. The threat we worried about (rightly or wrongly) was the whole mass of the Soviet Third Shock Army pouring over the Inner German Border and pummelling us into dust. Now apparently, the ‘biggest threat’ to national security involves a foreign power establishing ‘physical … and ideological or social footholds’ in our territory, in the form of churches. I can only shake my head in amazement.

Threats to national security sure aren’t what they used to be.





11 thoughts on “National Security Threats”

  1. Klaus Kastner/kleingut linked to a US vs UK tourist report on Mount Athos, while ago. US vs UK tourist perspective. Travel tourism cum popular financial science? Entertaining to read. Two articles. Part of the story circles around Mount Athos too. Beware of bond-carrying monks.

    Beware of Greek’s carrying bonds:

    Another bit of interest from closeby. Crazy Iwan,, the “oligarch”:

    Part of the new Silk Road Project? Tessaloniki port? I didn’t catch the Austrian/German sport news Klaus refers to here. Klaus Kastner spends his time between Austria and Greece in the same region. His wife is Greek. He is a retired banker that worked all over the world. Great teacher for economic semi-wits like me.


  2. Yes, it would be interesting to contrast the ‘moral superpower’s’ response to a new mosque being built, maybe sponsored by the Turkish government. Whereas I seriously doubt that the Russian Orthodox Church is sponsored by the Russian government. I’m guessing a similar tone would case the article’s writer to be fired and the newspaper would be closed in a week’s time after a giant scandal and lots of TV airtime.

    The Swedish Democrats are not an equivalent opposite example as they are vilified by the media and ‘polite society’.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sorry for the plug, but students of Russian history might be interested in my latest series on fake Ukrainian historian Viatrovych. In this section, the op-ed writer Bavyrin is attempting to recruit real historians to debunk Viatrovych. We’ll see how that plays out…


  4. The threat we worried about (rightly or wrongly) was the whole mass of the Soviet Third Shock Army pouring over the Inner German Border and pummelling us into dust.

    Yes, the famous Fulda Gap. …


    1. As I recall it, the Fulda Gap was south of the British area of deployment, so the Soviets coming through the Gap would have hit the Americans.


      1. Was there something like the Fulda Gap in the British Army’s threat assessment over the decades post 1945 analogous to the Fulda Gap?


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