Olof Palme's lasting impact on Sweden

Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme was shot dead in Stockholm on 28 February 1986. Thirty years after his death the press discusses the social democrat's lasting impact on Sweden.

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Jyllands-Posten (DK) /

Sweden overestimates its importance

Double standards were Olof Palme's legacy to Sweden, the centre-right daily Jyllands-Posten rails:

“Under Palme Sweden raised the moral finger that it's been wagging ever since. In the Cold War he saw himself as an independent voice mediating between the East and the West. ... The farther away a conflict was, the more vehemently Sweden became interested in it. Attacks in the communist East on the other side of the Baltic didn't interest the country in the least. ... And while Palme championed disarmament on the international stage, Sweden's arms exports skyrocketed. Even today double standards are a Swedish speciality. Sweden's self-image, which has marginalised this country by means of a refugee policy that is as idealistic as it is unrealistic, goes back to Palme's days as prime minister.”

Göteborgs-Posten (SE) /

Neutral, shmeutral

Even today Olof Palme is wrongly considered a symbol of Sweden's policy of neutrality in the Cold War, the liberal daily Göteborgs-Posten believes:

“Sweden maintained good relations with the US and Nato during the Cold War. Palme placed much value on relations with Washington, even if his strong criticism of the Vietnam War provoked diplomatic crises. As he is rumoured to have said to then commander in chief Stig Synnergren, 'While I'm quarrelling with the Americans, you make sure we maintain good military relations'. Perhaps that's precisely why he should be seen as a competent prime minister: in security policy he was always guided by realism, his idealism and grandiloquent words about neutrality and international solidarity notwithstanding.”