Military Review

Finnish presidential candidate pulls the country into NATO

Talk about joining NATO began again in Finland. One of the presidential candidates, Niels Torvalds, calls for joining the North Atlantic Alliance.

“Fearful of Russia” Finns look to NATO again. Writes about this in the journal "Politico" Reed Standish.

For decades, Finland has "delicately" built relations with Russia, avoiding any steps that could provoke a "sleeping bear," the article notes.

However, now the picture is changing. A well-known diplomat (retired) pushes the country to an obvious risk - that very “threatening beast,” that is, a bear sleeping on the other side of the border.

Hannu Himanen, the Finnish ambassador to Russia before 2016, believes that Finland should join the NATO military alliance. He says: "This country [Finland] deserves open discussion when it comes to foreign and security policy."

Khimanen, who lived for four years in Moscow, convinces his compatriots of the following: it’s time to stop worrying about Russia and start thinking about ensuring our security. To do this, join the Western military alliance.

In a recent book, West or East: Finland and the Return of Geopolitics, Finn criticized domestic leaders, who, he said, avoid outright public debate on foreign policy or are dragging them off. This argument "reinforces the contradictions before the presidential elections, which will be held in January," the article says. And there are signs that Finland is already quite ready for such a debate - not least because one of the candidates supports joining NATO.

Nils Torvalds of the Swedish People’s Party (Swedish People’s Party) is the only candidate who has openly supported the idea of ​​joining NATO. There are seven candidates for the presidency in Finland.

Torvalds previously worked in journalism and was a member of the European Parliament. Now he is determined to declare in a loud voice about the “controversial step,” indicates Standish. He is ready to withdraw his homeland "from behind the fence." Finland must become a "true member of the Western military alliance."

“Any discussion of the foreign policy issue in Finland will concern NATO,” Torvalds is sure. “If we do not discuss this now, we will not be able to prepare for this in the future.”

And these are not random words. Finland is slowly drifting towards the NATO membership debate. Voices for the country's entry into the alliance first gained strength "after the annexation of Crimea by Moscow in 2014 and the outbreak of war in Ukraine," writes Standish. Since then, tensions between NATO forces and Russia in the Baltic Sea have only increased. Finland’s neighbors have repeatedly said that their region could be subjected to “regular” aggression on the part of Russia.

And it’s not for nothing that Sweden, the closest military ally of Finland and another non-NATO country, "re-militarized" the remote island of Gotland in the Baltic Sea. This was done for the first time since the end of the Cold War. In addition, Sweden conducted large-scale military exercises with NATO in September.

As for the alliance itself, it deployed four battalion battle groups in Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania to contain the Russian military machine, the author points out.

Finland, also thinking a lot about defense from its “eastern neighbor,” has invested heavily in defense. Her army is quite large (280.000 people) and is built on a draft basis.

The president in the Finnish state system is not an empty place at all. It is he who, along with the government, is responsible for foreign and defense policy.

And yet, despite heightened security concerns, the public debate on NATO membership cannot be called so broad. The above-mentioned Mr. Himanen attributes this to what he calls the “darkness” of the debatable culture in Finland: when it comes to national security issues, the period is “difficult” stories»Finland with the Soviet Union. After the “two bloody wars with Moscow”, the Finns went through a cold war between East and West, observing a policy of neutrality. This allowed the country to balance integration with Europe and build good relations with Moscow. Such a policy often led to the fact that internal political debates were simply suppressed in Helsinki in order to "satisfy the wishes of a larger neighbor in the east." But after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Finland “turned sharply” toward the West, joining the European Union and introducing the euro currency.

Alpo Russia, which in 1994 — 1999. served as adviser to the President of Finland, said that at that time NATO membership was discussed. But decision makers believed that they did not need to join the alliance, because the cold war was over, and a new, more secure era had arrived.

Himanen hopes that the current cold relations between Moscow and the West will contribute to more active discussions.

Nevertheless, the overwhelming majority of presidential candidates reiterates previous theses, focusing on Finland’s traditional foreign policy.

Pekka Haavisto, a Green candidate, said he did not support NATO membership. True, hinting at the openness of this idea, he said that Finland would still have to think about membership if Sweden decided to join the alliance.

Laura Huhtasaari, a right-wing candidate, stands for Finnish independence in defense matters. In an e-mail to the correspondent, she wrote: "At the moment, given the current information, I do not support NATO membership."

The support for the country's entry into NATO among the Finns remains low: about 25% were in favor of this at the end of 2016. At the same time, the number of Finns who have not decided on the issue of joining NATO has increased since the war in Ukraine.

В other material R. Standish indicates that “against the background of concern about Russia,” the Finns are conducting “large-scale military exercises.”

Finland and its neighbor Sweden have focused their defense strategies on neutrality for decades, refusing to participate in major military alliances, reminds the journalist. However, the “annexation of the Crimea and the war in Ukraine in 2014” changed their attitude towards Russia in Northern Europe. Now, watching the “changing environment”, the Finnish Minister of Defense is promoting plans for large-scale military exercises for the 2020 year. And he has already invited to participate in the maneuvers of US forces. Mr Jussi Niinistö said: “In recent years, Finland has been involved in all types of maneuvers. It's time to host your own! ”

Niinistö suggests conducting exercises on Finnish territory. The maneuvers will resemble the Aurora exercises, which took place in Sweden in September, where 19.000 Swedish soldiers were recruited, more than a thousand troops from the United States, France, and the Nordic and Baltic countries. If the plans of the Finnish maneuvers come true, they will become the largest military exercises ever carried out in this country.

“Sweden has stated that it is ready to participate,” said Niinistö.

His statements coincided with the visit of US Secretary of Defense James Mattis to the Finnish capital for a series of bilateral meetings and a two-day summit of the Northern Group (the multilateral defense forum of twelve European countries: Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom).

During discussions of future military exercises and other areas of cooperation at the summit, questions were raised about how to better “respond to Russia's behavior”, which, “besides the war in Ukraine, causes its neighbors to be disturbed by their provocative actions”, including “airspace violations disinformation campaigns and cyber attacks. ” In 2015, the defense ministers of the Northern Group called Russia "the biggest European security issue."

D. Townsend, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for European and NATO Policy, believes that Mr. Mattis’s visit and meeting with the Northern Group provide a “clear signal” indicating the growing importance of the alliance. “For many years we tried to convince the US Secretary of Defense to go to meetings of the Northern Group,” said Townsend. “And Mattis [in Helsinki] is a sign that now it really matters, and mainly because of the Russians.”

“This is a sign for neighbors, for Russia, and also for the Finnish people, that everything is changing,” added Townsend.

* * *

So, Finland, like Sweden, today is increasing defense spending and expanding cooperation with NATO. Both countries have privileged relations with the alliance, including conducting joint military planning and exchanging intelligence. Their armed forces have the technical capabilities to cooperate with NATO.

At the same time, the overwhelming majority of the Finns are not eager to not only join NATO, but even to debate on this topic. The long policy of neutrality has borne fruit: despite the relatively large army, the costs of which are now growing, Finland is used to living in peace with the "bear."

The catalyst for debates about joining NATO can only be a change of sentiment in Sweden: if that state takes a decisive step, then the mood in Finland can also change.

Observed and commented on Oleg Chuvakin
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  1. bandabas
    bandabas 10 November 2017 13: 05
    I never considered the Finns to be enemies. But as they say, "all flags are visiting us." Insanity grows stronger. Well, let them learn Russian again. Useful.
    1. Reserve officer
      Reserve officer 10 November 2017 13: 59
      My wife's classmate, a Finnish mother, now lives in Helsinki for over 10 years. Often comes to visit us in St. Petersburg, so I know a lot from first hand. They simply hate us there, and stupidly, in a childish way. For example, they rent cottages on lakes for Russians in the summer, so the favorite pastime is to give a shit on the porch so that when you go out, you get into a mess. This is not fantasy, it is true.
      When our hockey players won the world hockey championship in Finland, she drove in a car, sticking out a hand with our flag out the window. At the traffic lights a crowd of Finns ran up and bit their hand.
      And with what pleasure they follow the families of Russians in order to select a child according to juvenile justice. Now another topic has been added - we are guilty of retaliatory sanctions that are ruining the dairy industry of their country. So good relations at the household level are a lie.
      But with all this, the rulers of Finland still have a head. In the right place. They live according to our saying - they are not looking for good from good. And they are unlikely to be in NATO.
      1. BAI
        BAI 10 November 2017 15: 15
        They simply hate us there, and stupidly

        Well, all this has been going on for a long time.

        A Finnish soldier sits at the bodies of killed Soviet servicemen, including a woman. Olonets Isthmus. (topwar)

        In the things of the murdered Finnish soldier, a letter was found with such a photograph and a detailed description of the execution and violence. These facts are included in the collection of documents.
        1. looker-on
          looker-on 10 November 2017 16: 57
          And give a link to the source? I read a lot about Russian-Finnish and have never come across Finnish atrocities. Especially considering the fact that they were defending. It looks like a throw at the fan. Google (it's easy) - The Red Army in Europe has distinguished itself by rape and murder, too, be healthy (until the officers began to shoot for it on the spot). So what? All Russian rapists ????
          1. faiver
            faiver 10 November 2017 18: 50
            probably read the Finnish authors?
          2. Awaz
            Awaz 10 November 2017 19: 09
            they defended ... The story there was not very simple. When Lenin granted Finland independence and made this territory a state in general, an anti-Soviet republic was immediately formed there, fueled by decaying whites and Western intelligence agencies. When the intervention began in Soviet Russia, this Finland tried to tear off from Russia the entire territory north of the 60th parallel to the Urals. If I’m not mistaken, they twitched twice and both times got good lyuley. After Soviet Russia coped with the civil war, Finland and Poland became the most difficult part of the borders of the RSFSR and the USSR until the end of the Second World War. Constant provocation of sabotage and sending saboteurs. These were the territories of terrorist states.
            Finland and Poland, before the war, were a source of terrorism in the USSR. After the war, work was done with the Finns, and even the term “Finlandization” was created on the basis of a treaty between Finland and the USSR, where the USSR guaranteed the security of this territory and Finland refused terrorism, and relations were established. This term is now used in the world system to establish relations between a small and gaddy country with a strong and large neighbor
          3. Cadet
            Cadet 10 November 2017 20: 22
            rape? in Europe? massive? so according to the stories of veterans when crossing the border with Poland, there was such a bl .... to that ours were just in shock, they themselves gave.
          4. Cossack 471
            Cossack 471 10 November 2017 20: 53
            I especially like the cartoon about it. how our army in Berlin raped 100 thousand Germans. There, along with the "bauchki" there probably were fewer. But even if it was. they weren’t killed. and ours were killed by millions during the occupation
            1. Cadet
              Cadet 10 November 2017 21: 24
              German peasants were probably very offended after the war, because ours didn’t rape the Germans, or just realized that our Germans didn’t like it and flooded the topic with blueness there)))
          5. Dmitry Konoplev
            Dmitry Konoplev 10 November 2017 22: 16
            Yeah, but in the domestic, apparently they were defending the same thing. And on the side of the Germans. In the Leningrad archives of museums that cover the Russian-Finnish war, such photos are enough.
      2. den3080
        den3080 11 November 2017 08: 48
        Reserve officer smile
        pretty dumb provocation.
        pass the cottage and do not give a shit on the porch ... they bit my hand with the Russian flag ...
        Goebbels stirs joyfully in the coffin.

        about Torvalds. The Swedish People's Party is a rather marginal party and expresses the interests of the Swedish minority in Finland, and even then a smaller part of the Swedish minority. There are about 200 thousand Swedes in Finland, a little more than 5%, about a third of them will go to the polls, and out of this third, God forbid half will vote.
        Count. Just don’t ask your familiar finca, because her hand is bitten
        1. Reserve officer
          Reserve officer 11 November 2017 13: 52
          den3080, in your language - a rather dumb perception of the comment. Wildly read what I have written? Does not fit into your mind? You are not alone, for any normal person this is unacceptable. But no matter how you try to ulcerate, this is true. And such manifestations of hatred towards us need to be known so as not to harbor illusions.
          By the way, all that does not fit into the created scheme of consciousness is almost all foreign media called provocation. True, and they do not fall to the phrase "stupid provocation."
          1. karabas-barabas
            karabas-barabas 13 November 2017 21: 02
            It’s just that all such tales turn out to be a banal nonsense, like “crucified boy”, “raped Russian Lisa in Berlin” and further down the list .. I don’t know how much Finns hate Russians, but there’s absolutely nothing to love. And if you read some comments, then why be surprised.
  2. Mih1974
    Mih1974 10 November 2017 14: 02
    There is a wonderful “cure” for this - you need to occupy (temporarily) any of the Baltic countries tongue . It is possible under the mutes of the "fight against the revival of fascism" just a day when they organize marches of fascists! good
    Suddenly send troops, with bombing and all sorts of obscenities, and after a couple of days, when the "dust settles" leave with the phrase "once again we hear about the SS marches - we will return."
    Just in these few days ALL NATO will cover the "global need for bricks", but much more importantly, it will show that "no one will save anyone from terrible Russia !!" tongue tongue
  3. solzh
    solzh 10 November 2017 14: 41
    Finland, like Sweden, will become full members of NATO. A generation has grown up in Europe, on propaganda, believing that Russians should be buried. In this regard, Russia needs an alliance with China. We just can’t stand alone.
    1. Winnie76
      Winnie76 10 November 2017 18: 34
      Quote: solzh
      Finland, like Sweden, will become full members of NATO. A generation has grown in Europe, on propaganda

      I doubt it. After the Second World War, everything changed. It will be necessary - we’ll kill rockets throughout Scandinavia. And NATO will confine itself to concerns. For article 5 is in favor of the poor.
  4. unignm
    unignm 10 November 2017 15: 04
    It’s interesting, and if they stop selling the forest to the proud fiyinnnnyy through how much will they be asked to join the Russian Federation?
  5. Settlement Oparyshev
    Settlement Oparyshev 10 November 2017 16: 33
    where do pawns like Finland? They only can sing: No Molotov, No Molotov ...
  6. faiver
    faiver 10 November 2017 18: 51
    they would have sat better exactly on the fifth point ....
    1. Cadet
      Cadet 10 November 2017 20: 17
      for sure, they would be sitting exactly, they were not threatened and were not going to threaten, all the more so they had good trade ties with us, I probably wanted adventure.
      1. karabas-barabas
        karabas-barabas 13 November 2017 21: 10
        Quote: Cadet
        full-time, they would sit straight, they were not threatened and were not going to threaten

        The Russian Air Force, over the past couple of years, violated the EU airspace several hundred times, mainly in the Baltic and Scandinavian directions, there were even cases of danger of a collision with passenger aircraft. All this somehow badly contributes to a relaxed and friendly relationship.
  7. albert
    albert 10 November 2017 20: 14
    They really want Karelia ... lol
    1. den3080
      den3080 11 November 2017 13: 12
      on the most Sestroretsk incidentally wink
    2. karabas-barabas
      karabas-barabas 13 November 2017 21: 11
      Quote: albert
      They really want Karelia ..

      Who?? Finns and Swedes? What hangover ?! Or just blurt out what?
  8. Dzafdet
    Dzafdet 14 November 2017 19: 54
    Quote: looker-on
    And give a link to the source? I read a lot about Russian-Finnish and have never come across Finnish atrocities. Especially considering the fact that they were defending. It looks like a throw at the fan. Google (it's easy) - The Red Army in Europe has distinguished itself by rape and murder, too, be healthy (until the officers began to shoot for it on the spot). So what? All Russian rapists ????

    In 1975, they sent us from school to interview an WWII veteran on the anniversary of the victory. He told us how they fought with dates. Of the two battalions captured, 12 survived. The rest of the cute Finns were cut with knives. Then the dates were gouged in 1944, but this was another war .. And the uncle's awards were a complete jacket ...
  9. looker-on
    looker-on 22 November 2017 01: 11
    Quote: Cossack 471
    I especially like the cartoon about it. how our army in Berlin raped 100 thousand Germans. There, along with the "bauchki" there probably were fewer. But even if it was. they weren’t killed. and ours were killed by millions during the occupation

    In war, violence is the norm. Soldiers of all countries have distinguished themselves from the beginning of time. Read historians and eyewitnesses