Hundreds of local election workers have been trained to spot and resist foreign influence. The country’s biggest media outlets have teamed up to combat false news. Political parties scour their email systems to close hacker-friendly holes. The goal: to Russia-proof Sweden’s political system so that what happened in the United States in 2016 can never happen in this Nordic country of 10 million people. Although the general election isn’t until Sept. 9, officials say their preemptive actions may already have dissuaded the Kremlin from interfering.
“It would be very risky for a foreign nation to do this now,” said Mikael Tofvesson, who heads the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency’s effort to safeguard the elections from malicious foreign influence. “It could risk a backlash. It would be an exposure of their methods.”
The efforts, which are supported by parties across the political spectrum, contrast with the bitterly partisan discussion in Washington about Russia’s behavior during the 2016 election.