In an attempt to further increase the anti-Nazi sentiment in the country, Russia has produced billboards where it accuses three prominent Swedish figures of supporting Hitler.
Featuring Ikea founder Ingvar Kamprad, film director Ingmar Bergman and children’s book author Astrid Lindgren, the poster located at bus stops in Moscow reads: “We are against Nazism, but they are not.”
The billboard features a phrase by the late Astrid Lindgren, the world-famous Swedish writer whose famous works such as “Karlsson on the Roof” were turned into a popular Soviet cartoon, that reads: “Furthermore, I’d rather scream “Heil Hitler” for the rest of my life than have Russians here, in Sweden. I can’t think of anything more repulsive. June 18, 1940”
The late Kamprad, whose chain of IKEA stores left Russia after it invaded Ukraine, is also quoted: “….I admired Hilter!” and “…I was a Nazi!” Meanwhile, Bergman is featured saying, among other things: “for quite some time, I was Hitler’s supporter.”
While these utterances do indeed belong to their authors, with both Bergman and Kamprad acknowledging in the 1980s-1990s that they were once sympathetic to Nazi ideas, they have also been taken out of historical context and placed into an entirely new one.
Sweden which remained officially neutral during WWII feared a potential invasion of the Soviet Union after it had struck the land-grabbing Molotov-Ribbentrop deal with Hitler in August 1939 and subsequently went on to occupy half of Europe after 1945. Bergman, however, later revealed that when the truth regarding concentration camps came out, he was in “a hideous shock”.
Lindgren’s granddaughter has already commented on the campaign launched by an organization called “Our Victory,” saying “as everyone knows, Astrid Lindgren was a committed anti-Nazi. The posters are part of a deliberate disinformation campaign and have nothing to do with the truth.”
While IKEA has refrained from commenting on political propaganda, Bergman’s foundation wrote that “it is so obvious that Russia is grasping at straws. They have tried to legitimize this whole war with some kind of alleged anti-Nazi stance and call God and the whole world Nazis.”
Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the country’s prime minister Magdalena Andersson have already reacted to the campaign she has stated that it is a “completely unacceptable way to act.” Moreover, the Ministry underscored that “in Russia, they repeatedly use accusations of “Nazism” against countries and individuals who direct justified criticism of Russia’s actions.”
The campaign comes at a time when Sweden and Finland have begun eyeing NATO’s membership, with the Alliance promising to expedite their bids.
In response, Moscow has already threatened the two Nordic countries with a nuclear build-up. It also violated Sweden and Denmark’s airspace on April 29, prompting Copenhagen and Stockholm to summon the Russian envoys.
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