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What's motivating Sweden's new military conscripts?

Published fredag 13 oktober 2017 kl 09.00
Psychologist: They want to do something else after school.
(1:57 min)
New recruit Pontus Malmsten tests his strength, with help from nurse Anna Engblom.
New recruit Pontus Malmsten tests his strength, with help from nurse Anna Engblom. Credit: Loukas Christodoulou/Sveriges Radio

Sweden's first military service recruits since 2009 are this week taking tests to see whether they are fit to serve.

Ninety-thousand people, born in 1999, filled in questionnaires sent by the Swedish Defence Recruitment Agency, and over 6,000 of them are being called in. The Swedish military has 4,000 places to fill each year, from a combination of these conscripts and those who apply for the job voluntarily.

This means that only those Swedish teens who have rated themselves highly, and perform well in the tests, will be accepted into basic training.

This mix of compulsory service and professional army was created in response to a worsening security situation in Sweden's area, since the Russian occupation of Crimea.

Psychologist Heidi Sahlén says to Radio Sweden that those who come in to do the tests are motivated by a desire to defend Sweden, but many are also planning on careers that focus on helping others, like medicine, and they see military training as part of that personal journey.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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