Finlands Russia policy since the end of the Cold War has been labeled by many as naive, where risks and unpleasant facts were completely ignored. NATO has repeatedly stressed that it is solely a defensive alliance and does not threaten Russia. "For almost 75 years, this great alliance has shielded our nations and continues to do so today," NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg declared at the ceremony. Of course, they can move missile defenses and so on, weapons systems close to our border. The construction of such a fence is expected to take three to four years and it can endure for roughly 50 years, according to the Finnish Border Guard. And if you go down souththat is where the major Baltic Sea forces of Russia are, at Kaliningrad, close to Poland. The Iranian national flag flies at half-staff atop the Iranian Embassy in Moscow, Russia, January 5, 2020 (AP) The Iranian Ambassador to Russia, Kazem Jalali, said Saturday that the bilateral relations between his country and Moscow have been reaching new levels in light of both countries having a similar and sometimes unanimous approach toward regional and international issues. They do have some bases and military installations there. The speeches by Finlands leadership reflected on how Russia's war and aggression had increased the threat to Finland's security, and with it, drove Finland to seek security under NATOs umbrella. [But] that might change now, because of the Russian point of view [according to which] NATO is the enemy, or at least on the opposing side. Having channels to Moscow has rather been about strengthening Finlands international position and having an ear on matters that have an impact on its immediate national security as well as keeping an eye on its neighbor. The Kennan Institute is committed to improving American understanding of Russia, Ukraine, Central Asia, the Caucasus, and the surrounding region though research and exchange. The industry leader for online information for tax, accounting and finance professionals. As such, the necessities brought about by geography and the effort to avoid escalation will be the core of Finlands relationship with Russia. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. If possible, verify the text with references provided in the foreign-language article. Now we have power also behind us, not just our own forces.". As of February 24th, Finland's Russia policy is radically shifting and is tied to the war in Ukraine. "We're talking about weeks or months rather than years when it comes to Finland," Prime Minister Sanna Marin said last month. We can't lower our guard. His writing has been published in various Georgian and international media outlets, including The Times, The Spectator, The Daily Beast, and IWPR. It marked the end of Sweden as a major power in Northern Europe. A similar echo of self-criticism was noticeable in Prime Minister Sanna Marins speech at the Heads of Mission meeting, where she stated how perhaps Finland should have listened more closely to the Baltic countries regarding Russia. Finlands national security will be linked to the common border and its stability, which create the need for some level of communication. Analysts say Finland is friendly with Russia but remains hard-headed and realistic. The statement added: Such a change in the countrys foreign policy could negatively affect Russian-Finnish relations, which had been built in the spirit of good neighbourliness and partnership for many years, and were mutually beneficial.. "Russia will be forced to take retaliatory steps, both of a. Finland shares a 830-mile (1,340km) border with Russia, the longest of any EU member. RFE/RL: Would NATO membership change in any way Finland's conscription system? Europe can't decide if it wants to punish ordinary Russians for Putin's war. - Finland had to also sign the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance with Russia in 1948, cementing a degree of economic and political dependency and isolating it militarily from western Europe. From midnight 1314 May 2022, Russia suspended electricity supplies to Finland. Pekka Toveri: The Croatian president, as I understand, has a special relationship with the Russians, but the Croatian government has a totally different view and the president is not the one who determines things. [12], Finland imports a large number of goods and basic necessities, such as fuel, from Russia. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty 2023 RFE/RL, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Exclusive news, data and analytics for financial market professionals, Reporting by Anne Kauranen, Tom Little and Essi Lehto in Helsinki; and Andrew Gray, Kate Abnett, Jan Strupczewski and Sabine Siebold in Brussels; writing by Angus MacSwan, Mark Heinrich and Patricia Zengerle, editing by Nick Macfie, Richard Chang and Rosalba O'Brien, Air defences shoot down 15 of 18 missiles launched at Ukraine in dead of night, Oil depot fire part of Ukraine's preparation for counter-offensive - military, Ukrainian defenders oust Russian forces from some positions in Bakhmut - Ukraine general, Pope says Vatican involved in secret Ukraine peace mission. Reuters, the news and media division of Thomson Reuters, is the worlds largest multimedia news provider, reaching billions of people worldwide every day. A pilot section will be built in Imatra starting in spring 2023. - Sweden and the Soviet Union had several diplomatic skirmishes throughout the Cold War, often involving alleged or proven submarine infringements of Swedish waters by the Soviets. Of all the continental European nations combating, as part of World War II, Helsinki and Moscow were the only capitals not occupied. [21][22] On 18 May 2022, Finland formally applied to join NATO, simultaneously with Sweden. Exports from the United States to Finland include chemicals, electronics, machinery, instruments and apparatus, road vehicles and transport equipment, coal, medical equipment, food and beverages, metals and metal products, crude minerals, and metalliferous ores. Paraguay's President-elect Santiago Pena: puppet or pragmatist? And that means we still need the conscription system, for sure -- even as a NATO member, the responsibility to defend Finland lies 99 percent with the Finns. In turn, Alexander I granted Finland, for the first time in Finnish history, a statehood as Grand Duchy of Finland and gave Finnish language an official status (prior to 1819 Swedish was the only official language in Finland). Of course, we will participate in the Baltic Sea maritime surveillance. Finland has had an exceptionally frequent and penetrating access to the highest echelons of Russian power. Finland's era of strategic non-alignment began after the country repelled an attempted Soviet invasion during World War Two and opted to maintain friendly relations with neighbouring Russia. The discussion [with Putin] was straightforward and unambiguous and was held without exaggeration. So it's not just the bunkers; conscription is still mandatory for men, and the country has about 900,000 reservists. In 1948, the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance was signed between the Soviet Union and Finland, providing a key basis for relations between the two states that was to last . A prime example of this is how between 2012 and 2022, the President of Finland, Mr. Sauli Niinist has either met or held a telephone meeting with his counterpart Vladimir Putin over 40 times. It is noticeable how the Finnish-Russian relationship is living through a historic breakdown as diplomatic engagement has been reduced to a minimum, economic relations have been severed, and cultural and civic interaction has dwindled. Norwegians laugh at new fence on Russian border, Nato sends 'alive and strong' message from Estonia. Toveri: That is a difficult question to answer. Read more, One Woodrow Wilson Plaza1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NWWashington, DC 20004-3027, The President of the Republic Sauli Niinist spoke at the ambassadors' meeting on August 23, 2022, Foreign Policy Advisor for the National Coalition Party in Finland, 2023 The Wilson Center. All rights reserved. However, regardless of the result in the battlefields, it is certain that these relations will not return to the way they were before. [14], However, on 1 January 2022, Finland's president, Sauli Niinist, reasserted Finnish sovereignty by stating that the Finnish government reserved the right to apply for NATO membership. World Food Programme lifts suspension of operations in Sudan, King Charles' coronation to feature historic chairs, Australia to reveal huge budget rebound, pledge restraint in response, Head of Mexican migration authority charged over deadly Juarez fire. Russian President Vladimir Putin is travelling to Finland at a symbolic time: the country is celebrating its 100th year of independence from Russia. Although the effort by Helsinki to actively build predictability and interdependencies between Russia and the West has been noble, in the end the time turned out to not be right. RFE/RL: Did Putin's December statement tip the scales in NATO's favor in the minds of the Finnish government and society? For years, Russia has said Finland shouldn't join NATO, but it's Finland's decision, [and that has] been good enough for Finland. Flashpoints include the country's purchase of an S-400 air defence system from Russia, armed offensives against American-backed Kurdish insurgents in Syria, accusations of American support for a . Access unmatched financial data, news and content in a highly-customised workflow experience on desktop, web and mobile. RFE/RL: Prior to the war, a model was offered to settle the conflict between Ukraine and Russia and this was unofficially dubbed "Finlandization." The US president, Joe Biden, held a joint call on Friday with Niinist and Andersson where, according to a White House statement, he underscored his support for Natos open door policy and for the right of Finland and Sweden to decide their own future, foreign policy and security arrangements. () And of course, we need to consider which is the best way to ensure that the same will never happen to Finland," Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin said ahead of Finland's NATO decision. HELSINKI/BRUSSELS, April 4 (Reuters) - Finland formally joined NATO on Tuesday, its flag unfurling outside the military bloc's Brussels headquarters, in a historic policy shift brought on by Russia's invasion of Ukraine that drew a threat from Moscow of "counter-measures.". Finland operates the 1 GW Loviisa Nuclear Power Plant with Soviet technology, and (until May 2022) planned the 1.2 GW Hanhikivi Nuclear Power Plant with Russian technology. A recent survey found that just 21% of Finns support joining Nato, while 51% oppose it, with the rest not giving an answer. Yet at the same time "Finnish leaders and our current president want to keep dialogue with Russia, even through difficult times, and the dialogue is quite open and direct" including on the subject of Ukraine, says Ms Turtiainen. "[The] wide consensus between leading politicians is that it is not timely to discuss this issue," he says. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. VideoThe secret mine that hid the Nazis' stolen treasure, LGBT troops take love for Eurovision to front line, Why an Indian comedian is challenging fake news rules. Toveri: The thing is that 90 percent of that border is wilderness, it's just forestno road, no network, no anything. So we will establish the northern flank of NATO in the future, and I think there are enough tasks for the Finnish defense forces. Furthermore, Russia sees Finland's inclusion in NATO as a threat to Russian national security since the United States would likely be able to deploy military equipment in Finland if the country were to join NATO. Russia occupied Finland several times: The lesser and greater wars respectively saw a Russian occupation of Finland. But despite its namesake, the term does not apply to the Finland-Russia relationship of today. 2. Stoltenberg earlier noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin had cited opposition to NATO's eastward enlargement as one justification for invading Ukraine. - Joseph Stalin's Red Army attacked Finland in 1939, starting what became known as the Winter War in which Finland fought off the Soviet invasion attempt on its own. A first obvious answer is Russia. People hold a giant Ukrainian flag as they take part in an ecumenical prayer moment in support of Ukraine amid Russia's invasion in Helsinki on April 18. U.S. Marines participate in a military exercise called Cold Response 2022, gathering around 30,000 troops from NATO member countries, plus Finland and Sweden, amid Russia's invasion of Ukraine, near Bjerkvik in the Arctic Circle in Norway on March 24. RFE/RL: How would Finland's NATO membership change the security paradigm in the region, especially with regards to Russia? On September 29, some 8,583 Russian citizens crossed into Finlands eastern border from Russia. By joining Nato, Finland will strengthen its own security and assume its responsibilities. They had some sort of a good relationship with Ukraine before 2014, and now the situation is what it is -- and that's why our citizens have changed their minds. The most comprehensive solution to manage all your complex and ever-expanding tax and compliance needs. All Rights Reserved,, Smart Take | Finland Joins NATO Security Alliance, China-Russia Relations in the Shadow of the Invasion of Ukraine, Security in the High North: Deterring Russia, How Georgia and Ukraine Are Bolstering Their Chances to Join NATO, Latvia and the United States: Bringing Friendship into the Next Centenary, If Finland joins NATO, it needs a new nuclear weapons policy, Finlands Contributions to NATO: Strengthening the Alliances Nordic and Arctic Fronts, UK Shadow Secretary of State for Defense Announces NATO Test on Defense Projects in Landmark US Speech at Wilson Center. Certain realities, however, will not change. - Eventually the end of the Cold War allowed Finland to step out of Russia's shadow and join the European Union in 1995 as well as the eurozone in 1999. Finnish president Sauli Niinist offered one illustration of Russia's approach in an interview in February 2022, recalling Vladimir Putin's warning from 2016: "When we look across the border now, we see a Finn on the other side. We moved our forces back [from the border], 1500km away. The inevitable conclusion is that Russia is a recurring threat to Finland and the latters security policy has revolved around this question for almost a hundred years. - Russia's invasion, which it calls "a special operation", of its sovereign neighbour Ukraine, resulted in a U-turn among Finns, with around 76% of Finns in favour and only 12% against NATO membership in the most recent poll by public broadcaster YLE. In Helsinki, there are no hopes for a quick change in relations nor a need to strive for special attempts at dialogue. We've seen in Finland that the most important part of our defenses is building willingness to defend the country among the population. Paraguay's President-elect Santiago Pena: puppet or pragmatist? But now the Russians have showed that it doesn't matter. We also examine Europes relations with Russia and Eurasia, China and the Indo-Pacific, the Middle East and Africa. And we've seen that when the Cold War ended, many countries [abandoned] the conscription system and went for a professional force [and in those countries] the willingness to defend the country went down drastically. What Threat Does Russia Pose To Finland? With the Russian Empire's collapse during World War I, Finland took the opportunity to declare independence, which was accepted by the USSR "in line with the principle of national self-determination that was held by Lenin. So where does Finland stand vis--vis its giant neighbour next door? People in Finland's emotions have included a combination of fear, anger and, above all, disappointment towards Russia. And there is a sense among Finnish people, that this balance - despite regional geo-political events - is working well. Nato jet 'approaches' Russian minister's plane before being chased away by escorting jet, Russian media say (21 June). Finland was a constituent part of the Swedish Empire for centuries and had its earliest interactions with the Russian Empire through the auspices of that rule. During these years Karelia was a highly Russian occupied military ground; the operation was led by Russian general Waltteri Asikainen. On Tuesday, member of the Russian State Duma, Alexey Chepa, issued a stark warning, saying that if NATO. Barring nuclear weapons, in conventional terms, they don't have anything with which they could seriously threaten Finland's independence and existence in such a way that they could force our hand, especially now that the United Kingdom and some other NATO countries will give us some assurances of military support if we are attacked. ", [1/7]Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto gestures as German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Norway's Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt attend a roundtable discussion during a joining ceremony at the NATO foreign ministers' meeting at the Alliance's headquarters in Brussels, Belgium April 4, 2023. Eventually, in the distant future, there will likely be a time when Russia and the West will have to sit down, and when that happens, there might be a demand for practicality. "I congratulate all the people of Finland," President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in his evening address. All quotes delayed a minimum of 15 minutes. - Sweden and Russia have not been at war against each other since 1809, when Sweden lost Finland to Russia. This does not mean Finland would no longer oppose Russias imperialism or stop supporting Ukraine by all possible means. All Rights Reserved. Will we keep our forces there?" It's not nothing, but it's not as serious as it sounds. That comes through general conscription because, that way, every family more or less is tied up in the [country's] defense. Finland played a difficult game during that period, acquiescing to the Soviet Union in many respects and not challenging it but maintaining its independence and political system. In Finland, people said their country's entry into NATO made them feel more secure. Hungary cites grievances over Swedish criticism of Prime Minister Viktor Orban's record on democracy and rule of law. Population migration from other parts of Russia to Finland was de facto prohibited until early 1900's. Contrary to the idea that Helsinki was afraid of Russian military action against Finland, the decision to apply for NATO membership in May was based above all on proactive risk management. [9], During the period 198891 when the Baltic states were pursuing independence from the Soviet Union, Finland initially "avoided supporting the Baltic independence movement publicly, but did support it in the form of practical co-operation." Additionally, he believes that transatlantic cooperation is needed for the maintenance of sovereignty and security of some EU member states, including Finland. "We used to consider it a brotherly country of the capitalist world, the closest to us in spirit, in mutually beneficial economic relations," said Nikolai, a St. Petersburg resident. It is whole new border infrastructure and new approach to border surveillance. Attacking with land forces across the border is mostly impossible. [23] Finland formally became a member of NATO on 4April 2023 during a scheduled summit,[24] finalizing the fastest accession process in the treaty's history.[25]. After decades of neutrality, Finland has now formally applied to join NATO. The response came after Niinist told Putin in a phone conversation that the militarily non-aligned Nordic country, which has a complex history with its eastern neighbour, will decide to apply for Nato membership in the coming days. Can the United States persuade them? The Global Europe Program addresses vital issues affecting the European continent, U.S.-European relations, and Europes ties with the rest of the world. We are sure that history will judge this hasty step," a ministry statement said. The phone call was conducted on Finlands initiative, Niinists office said. Russia has slammed Finland's announcement that it could apply to join the Western military alliance NATO in a matter of days. Relations between Moscow and Helsinki have soured after Finland said it would apply to join NATO in reaction to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But all that is a matter of the negotiation process with NATO. Russia has a couple of 100 kilometers of shoreline in the Baltic Sea, which is 98 percent surrounded by NATO countries. Marins governing Social Democratic party approved the application on Saturday, paving the way for a parliamentary vote next week to endorse the move. (modern). Unfortunately, even NATO membership does not offer Finland security vis--vis Russia. - The most serious incident of the 50s came when Soviet war planes downed two Swedish aircraft, one military and one civilian, within a few days of each other over the Baltic Sea in 1952. Relations since then have been both warm and cool, fluctuating with time. Turkey says Stockholm harbours members of what Ankara considers terrorist groups - which Sweden denies - and has demanded their extradition as a step toward ratification. RFE/RL: There might be possible stumbling blocks along the way to Finland's NATO accession. What NATO military infrastructure do you expect to be introduced in Finland, in terms of bases, air-defense systems, for example? There's been discussion between the Finnish political leadership and Turkey already beforehand about this thing. Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks. - Up until 2020, only around 20% of Finns wanted Finland to join NATO in polls, with most people believing peace was best kept by maintaining friendly relations and economic ties with Russia. The current war waging Kremlin, on the other hand, compels Finland to invest in military deterrence nationally and in NATO. If Finland joins NATO, we will see an enemy." Then [regarding] military power, [Putin's] forces are tied up in Ukraine. Finns will go to the polls next year to elect a new president but the Nato debate, while always present, will not be a major issue, says Markku Kangaspuro, a Russia expert at the University of Helsinki's Aleksanteri Institute. Finlandisation is now commonly used to describe the situation when a small country allows its policies to be significantly influenced by a larger and more powerful neighbour. ", This page was last edited on 23 April 2023, at 20:25. in, Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic, even held new elections when the previous results were objectionable, "Here are the nations on Russia's 'unfriendly countries' list", MTV3: Large-scale network spying uncovered at MFA, "Russian energy supplier cuts off electricity to Finland amid NATO bid", "Russia warns NATO against inclusion of Finland, Sweden", "Finland says it could join Nato despite Russian pressure", "Nato-jsenyyden vastustus putosi enntyksellisen alas", At NATO's Door: Russia's invasion of Ukraine shifted the opinion of a majority of Finns in favour of NATO membership, "Nato-kannatus nousi enntykselliseen 73 prosenttiin", "Finns warm to NATO in alarmed reaction to Russian invasion of Ukraine", "Ylen kysely: Nato-jsenyyden kannatus vahvistuu 62 prosenttia haluaa nyt Natoon", "Finnish leaders confirm support for Nato application", "Finland must apply to join Nato without delay, say president and PM", "Finland and Sweden formally apply for NATO membership", "Live streaming: Meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs", "Finland joins NATO in the alliance's fastest-ever accession process", Embassy of the Russian Federation in Helsinki, Consulate-General of Finland in Saint Petersburg, Ambassadors from Finland (current and former),, Articles needing translation from Russian Wikipedia, Wikipedia articles in need of updating from April 2023, All Wikipedia articles in need of updating, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles with unsourced statements from January 2020, Articles containing potentially dated statements from October 2013, All articles containing potentially dated statements, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License 3.0. Neighbouring Sweden is expected to decide on its stance on Sunday in a meeting of the governing Social Democratic party led by the prime minister, Magdalena Andersson. If there would be air force or navy units arriving, they would probably use existing Finnish bases that could maybe be enlarged a bit if needed. Flickr/Office of the President of the Republic of Finland. They don't have anything. But now you are repeating the 1930s and joining the rest of Europe in its upteempth attempt to get rid of Russia. For decades, Finland opted not to join any military alliance in an effort meant to appease Russia's security concerns. Screen for heightened risk individual and entities globally to help uncover hidden risks in business relationships and human networks. Overall I don't think that there would be a need to permanently base NATO units in Finland, but [instead] to improve our capability to receive temporary reinforcement if needed.
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