Russia has been repeatedly accused of interfering in recent elections. But Sweden is determined it won’t fall victim to any such meddling – with millions of leaflets being distributed and propaganda-spotting lessons for students. As campaigning intensified in the French election, the team of now President Emmanuel Macron said it was a target for “fake news” by Russian media and the victim of “hundreds if not thousands” of cyber-attacks from inside Russia. In Washington, sanctions were recently imposed on 19 Russians accused of interference in the 2016 US election and “destructive” cyber-attacks.
While the Kremlin denies interfering in foreign elections – with Vladimir Putin saying there is “nothing to discuss” – concerns remain.
With a new prime minister and parliament to be elected in September, Sweden is already working hard to make sure its polls are free from any meddling.
If successful, its efforts could serve as a guide for other elections, including the US mid-terms in November.