Popular Culture Review 29.1 (Spring 2018) - Page 87

Ukraine and the increased military activity in our neighborhood” as some of the reasons for the return to conscription, a Swedish government report on defense priorities notes the need to boost Swedish military capabilities, including “the deteriorating security situation in Europe, particularly in light of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.” Sweden and Finland are not in NATO, but cooperate closely with the alliance (Nordic neighbors Norway and Denmark are in NATO). 4 The U.K. sent the first of 800 troops to Estonia last month to deter Russian aggression, so these concerns are contemporary and ongoing (BBC). In this context, it’s perhaps not so mysterious that a Finnish Goth-rock band would choose, on their eleventh album, to suddenly write a political song. Rock musicians are historically more dialed in to contemporary events – more informed, aware, and engaged in various types of social and political protest than are pop, country, and rap (generally). The lyrics to “Jet Fighter Plan” reflect this awareness, referring to Cold War policies resulting 4 Most of the 28 EU member states abolished military conscription; France and the UK have made their armed forces fully professional. Germany suspended conscription in 2011, but a constitutional provision remains; there is a current debate taking place about reintroducing some form of national service there. Finland requires all men from the age of 18 to serve up to 347 days in the armed forces; they are later counted as reserves and can be required to take military refresher courses. Russia requires all men to spend a year in the armed forces between the ages of 18-27. Ukraine brought back conscription in 2014. BBC News. “Sweden brings back military conscription amid Baltic tensions.” 2 March 2017. http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-39140100. 87