A neutral country for decades, Sweden is edging ever closer toward NATO.

In 2018, the Swedish government sent a booklet to almost five million families. Titled If Crisis or War Comes, the brochure included information and instructions on basic wartime survival and “total defence.” It also informed Swedes of other threats like climate change, cyberattacks and terrorist strikes. Cold War bunkers, moreover, have been getting upgraded.

The last time Swedes got a similar booklet was in 1961 during the Cold War.

“A modern version of total defence must be able to protect from external attempts to influence democratic society,” said Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven. He also announced the creation of an agency focused on countering psychological warfare and disinformation propaganda — both of which Russia has been accused of practising, namely on the U.S. elections and Brexit, Scottish and Catalan referenda.

“All of society needs to be prepared for conflict, not just the military. We haven’t been using words such as total defence or high alert for 25-30 years or more. So, the knowledge among citizens is very low,” added Christina Andersson, of the Swedish civil contingencies agency, regarding the booklet.

Although not a member of NATO, Sweden shares close ties with the alliance. Sweden has already signed a cooperation agreement that allows NATO troops access to Swedish territory in the event of war. Swedish soldiers have been deployed to Afghanistan and, reportedly, to Africa. Swedish special operations forces (SOF) have been quite active in Afghanistan. Moreover, conventional Swedish forces are increasingly participating in NATO exercises. For example, Swedish forces participated in Trident Juncture exercise, the largest NATO exercise since the end of the Cold War, which took place in October and November of 2018.

Sweden is at a crossroads. Faced with a resurgent Russia, the Nordic nation is rethinking its defence and strategic approach. Sweden is contemplating NATO membership, with all of Sweden’s centre-right parties agreeing to pursue membership. (The Social Democrats disagree — they argue for closer ties with NATO, but not membership.)

Swedish society is divided. If you argue for joining NATO, you’re seen as a nationalist warmonger. If you’re against NATO, you’re seen as a dove. A poll conducted by the Dagens Nyheter newspaper shows this division: 44 percent against NATO, 31 percent for NATO. It should be noted that Swedish society greatly values debate and consensus. Thus, the decision to join NATO will probably take the form of a referendum.