I've been scratching my head over the Swedish scenario. For instance:
In the following months the odd missile came down, with Stockholm and Gothenburg being hit by multiple Soviet strikes. The nukes caused massive damage to the Swedish infrastructure and food riots became common.
The first winter after the big wheels stopped turning made it very clear that without electricity, central heating and trucks to deliver groceries to the grocery store, Sweden was not built for close to 9,000,000 people. On top of that, the winter of ‘98–’99 was horrible and brought sub-zero temperatures for three months in most of the country, and –40 degrees Celsius for weeks in the north. The cold restored the natural balance, so to speak. And it did not take sides. It killed anyone.
For those who followed the Swedish setting thread
months ago, and/or are intimately familiar with Swedish conditions, the evolution of this scenario should come across as a bit odd.
To begin with — in the 90's (unlike now) Sweden was 100% self-sufficient on vital foodstuffs, with production taking place in large parts of the country. There was some concentration, but there were few populated parts of the country that didn't have any
agriculture. You find rural regions with active agriculture within a 30min car ride even from central Stockholm.
Couple that with the stockpiles of strategic consumables — e.g. fuel — dispersed around much of the country, all road transport (and thereby food distribution, which, as noted, wouldn't even need long haul transports) stopping dead seems less than plausible. The system was intentionally designed to be resilient specifically
even in a scenario of a few nukes dropping on the country.
So in the end, food riots, widespread famine, tons of people dying of starvation ... are all a bit difficult to see happening.
Furthermore, Swedish houses are — unlike e.g. British homes — extremely well insulated, and far from all of them reliant of central heating even today, even less so in the 90's. Many have wood burners of some kind installed.
And up in the far north, where the temperatures would creep to -40°C, the infrastructure would be even more resilient, with many homes possible to warm with wood (a plentiful resource) plus
about half of the country's electrical power generation just around the corner. It would take a very great, highly concentrated effort to knock this out.
So, with sub-zero temperatures for months on end, sure, home temperatures may creep below the comfort level for many, forcing people to put on thicker clothes than normal and snuggle into blankets, but lethal...?
We've had occasions with weeks-long power outages in the dead of winter in some outlying regions. People didn't die en masse
from them, either.
Again, I see that the setting's basic premise poses certain requirements, for certain. I get that.
But, again — surely that basic premise should be possible to fulfil here, as well, with a back story that doesn't break with plausibility too