-- A Swedish Peace group is installing an unconventional underwater sign in the archipelago outside Stockholm, hoping it will deter anti-LGBT Russia from entering its waters.
The sign, dubbed "The Singing Sailor," features a sailor waving a white flag saying "Welcome to Sweden -- Gay since 1944," a reference to the year Sweden legalized homosexuality. The neon-lit soldier in his underpants also emits the phrase "This way if you are gay" in Morse code.
While the sign could appear to be a promotional stunt ahead of the Stockholm Pride Parade on Aug. 1, its message is political. The Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, which is behind the project, is a nonprofit group that aims to speed up military disarmament and forward the transference of resources from defense to development.
The sign’s purpose, the group writes on its website, “is to urge the Swedish government to think in new ways instead of falling back on territorial defense, conscription and rearmament."
“In times of unrest, love and peace across boundaries is more important than ever. We want to break-up with the violence. Our invitation is also extended to Swedish subs and military personnel and all others that want to join us,” Daniel Holking, communications and fundraising manager with the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, said in a statement.
Security has become a main focus in Baltic countries amid increased tension with Russia, and Sweden underwent its largest mobilization since the Cold War last fall, during a hunt for an underwater vessel in the Stockholm archipelago.
Regarding the effectiveness of this campaign however, Oscar Jonsson, a Swedish expert on Russian warfare, told ABC News that the logic was flawed.
"The group is notable for not speaking against Russian repression or aggressiveness in any way, even if their campaign is actually targeted against that," Jonsson said, adding that the submarine from last fall's incident was confirmed to be Russian, "in which case it's ironic to put the blame on the Swedish Armed Forces and not on the aggressor instead."