MUSKO – After 15 years of disuse, Musko Naval Base, 70 km from Stockholm, is once again part of the Swedish Armed Forces, writes Svenska Dagbladet.
The Swedish Navy’s triumphant return to the Cold War-era fortress fits in with the ongoing pattern of militarization in the country, characterized by increasing investment in defense and frightening rhetoric.
On Monday, the base’s reopening ceremony was held with a band and Navy parade, 50 years after the original inauguration of the Musko Naval Base in 1969.
Försvarsminister Peter Hultqvist deltog på den högtidliga invigningen av Marinstaben och på 50-årsfirandet av Musköbasen. pic.twitter.com/4sLPxXvgZ7
— Försvarsdep (@ForsvarsdepSv) September 30, 2019
Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist called the return of the navy base a sign of security policy.
“It is probably the largest underground base in the world. Here we have a very important and unique resource that we can develop in different ways,” explained Hultqvist while addressing the reopening.
Initially, 100 military personnel will be relocated to Musko Naval Base, which was decommissioned in 2004; The base yard was sold to the German industrial group ThyssenKrupp.
Navy Commander Rear Admiral Jens Nykvis Nykvist stated that “the goal is to increase safety within the mountain, which is an impressive facility to use.”
“It is important, it is an important thing for us. It is a great advantage not to mix with urban areas,” said Nykvist, suggesting that the decentralization plan “reduces vulnerability” and “increases tactical possibilities.”
The base reopening plan was put together by the Swedish Parliament about a year ago. In addition to the Navy’s move to Musko, Swedish Army troops will be deployed in Enkoping and the Air Force in Uppsala. The installation of Swedish military troops in different positions has been described as “widespread management”.
Other experts, however, were more specific about the need to revitalize the underground fortress.
“The move is based on the calculation that Russians could use powerful weapons that require a level of protection that only Musko can provide,” deduced Niklas Granholm, senior analyst at the Swedish Defense Research Agency, as quoted by The Guardian.
It is noteworthy that the fanciful “Russian threat” has become a pillar in Swedish media outlets. Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist himself and other Swedish officials pointed to Russia as a justification for investing more and more money in the country’s defense.
Although Musko has ceased to play a central role in Swedish Defense for decades, the Swedish Navy has never left the island. Last year British and Belgian tourists tried to infiltrate the base, but were hit by warning shots before they were finally arrested.
It really doesn’t get more #ColdWar than this. #Sweden built itself a huge underground naval base at #Muskö in the 1950s. Pure #JamesBond & parts still remain in use today. If you struggle to park a car, like I do, it’s scary to think of manoeuvring warships through these arches. pic.twitter.com/wmEeip1uh8
— Timothy Phillips (@TSJPhillips) April 18, 2019
The new commissioning of the Musko Naval Base fits in with the ongoing militarization pattern in Sweden, which has already drastically increased the defense budget , re-recruited military personnel and deployed military personnel in Gotland, previously identified as a likely point of entry.
To calm Sweden’s population, hundreds of thousands of leaflets were handed out explaining how to survive a nuclear attack.