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Russian Federation in Sweden Spreads Putin Propaganda Despite State Subsidies and ABF Agreement

The Russian Federation in Sweden (Rurik) advertises exhibitions with Russian needlework and storytimes for children on its Swedish-language website. The purpose of the activity is to preserve the Russian language and popularize Russian culture in Sweden, according to their own description.

For several years, the Russian Confederation has been cooperating with the Workers’ Education Union (ABF), and is financed, among other things, via state grants. Over the past ten years, Rurik has received close to four million kroner from the Agency for Youth and Civil Society Affairs. At the latest in January this year, the association was granted SEK 375,000 in support to organizations formed on an ethnic basis.

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However, according to a review by DN, the association’s chairwoman Lioudmila Siegel has repeatedly spread propaganda from the Kremlin. DN has, under a different name, joined the association’s channel on the social media platform Telegram and followed how Lioudmila Siegel communicates with hundreds of followers. The first posts were made after Russia launched the large-scale invasion of Ukraine last year and the communication is in Russian.

Each week, Siegel publishes several new posts that, among other things, deal with Russian culture and language competitions. But she also publishes uncommented official statements from the Russian regime. Several times she has shared communiqués from the Russian Consulate General in Gothenburg, which together with the embassy in Stockholm is the Kremlin’s extended arm in Sweden. The posts reproduce, among other things, speeches by President Vladimir Putin – who is wanted internationally for war crimes – and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

In other posts Lioudmila Siegel shares, followers are encouraged to apply to the Russian music competition Road to Yalta. The name refers to the Ukrainian city on the Crimean peninsula that was illegally annexed by Russia in 2014. She also shares the application to something called the Moscow Media School for Young Patriots.

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