Finland’s accession to NATO is on the decline. Why is this so bad news for Putin? | World

According to intelligence north CNN This would be one of the worst consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine ever.

Following the Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee’s response to the government’s security report, an extraordinary debate will take place in the Finnish Parliament on whether to approve its recommendations.

At the moment, it is very likely that NATO will invite the country to negotiate accession. It is generally assumed that Finland’s accession would be very rapid, as it already meets most of the criteria, and it is very unlikely that any NATO member state would object.

Several recent opinion polls have shown that at least 60 percent of Finns now support NATO membership; this is a huge leap from the previous roughly 30 percent of public support for joining NATO in recent years.

If all goes well as expected, this country of less than six million people will redraw the European security map in a way that was previously unimaginable and which can have huge consequences for Russia.

Finland would be of benefit to NATO

Before Putin invaded Ukraine, he made clear his conviction that NATO was getting too close to Russia and that it should return to its original borders in the 1990s – some countries that had joined the military alliance, which either neighbors of Russia, or were former Soviet states.

According to the Alliance, Russia currently has a common land border of five NATO members, approximately 1,215 kilometers long. Finland’s accession would mean that a country with which Russia shares a 1,287-kilometer-long border would formally join the United States militarily.

Not only would this be bad news for the Kremlin, but the accession of Finland would also be of great benefit to NATO. Despite its relatively small population, Finland is an important military power that has been unofficially associated with the West for decades. The Finnish military has been using equipment purchased in the United States that is compatible with NATO allies for decades, which means it could easily engage in Alliance missions if it so chooses.

The Finns know that irrational Russia is a threat

Many believe that the only reason Finland did not join the Alliance before the Ukrainian crisis was simple pragmatism. “Finnish security has always been based on two concepts: first, geography and history, and second, idealism and realism,” said Alexander Stubb, a former Finnish prime minister.

“In an ideal world, we want to work with Russia, which we cannot avoid as our geographical neighbor. However, we also know from history that the biggest real threat to our national security is Russia. Over time, the reality that Russia is willing to create more chaos in our region has become even clearer, so joining NATO is becoming a pragmatic option, “he added.

Historically, Finland has come to terms with these conflicting facts by simultaneously meeting Russia’s security concerns, however irrational, while maintaining high defense spending and a standing army that is compatible with the Western Allies.

“It has always been a crazy idea for a Western country to invade Russia, but we have tried to minimize these (Russian) concerns by boosting trade and working together in other areas,” said Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a leading global security researcher at Finnish Institute of International Relations.

He added, however, that in addition to politics such as conscription – all Finnish men can be called up for military service – and high defense spending, Finnish politicians consistently communicate to the public the idea that the way of life that has been established in Finland over the years must be maintained at all costs.

“Finland’s underlying ideology is survival. Over the last hundred years, we have become a strong, sovereign country with a high standard of living. We had to sacrifice part of the territory to keep the peace, “said Salonius-Pasternak. “It is therefore vital that our way of life survives, whether through pragmatic diplomacy or a tougher attitude towards our greatest threat.”

Strengthening NATO in the North

There is no doubt that Finland’s accession to NATO would be a big blow to Putin. Not only would this mean the next almost 1,300 kilometers of the common border with NATO, but symbolically it would further unite the anti-Putin coalition formed after the invasion of Ukraine.

Countries that were once neutral now provide Ukraine with funds and weapons, and Putin is an international outcast with fewer allies day by day.

NATO’s influence in northern Europe would also extend to the Arctic; an area that is increasingly important from a geopolitical point of view due to its natural resources, strategic location and numerous territorial demands – including those of Russia, Finland and the USA.

Sweden, which borders Finland to the west, is also considering joining the Alliance – and Finland would be all the more likely that the two countries have taken a similar path since the beginning of the Ukrainian crisis.

Of course, there are concerns about how Russia might react to Finland’s desire to join NATO. Martti Kari, who previously served as deputy chief of Finnish defense intelligence, told CNN that Russia was already launching a disinformation campaign against his country.

“The main issue is that Finland is a Nazi country because we fought against the (Soviet) Union during World War II alongside Nazi Germany,” he said. According to his predictions, Russia could disrupt Finland’s airspace and its activities at sea, including shipping, and also intensify its intelligence operations against that country.

Nothing is certain yet until Finland takes the first step and announces its intention to join NATO. But given public support, political support, and the fact that Russia is giving another of its neighbors every reason to join its hated rival in the form of the North Atlantic Alliance, there is no doubt that Putin’s gambit has turned in order to reduce NATO influence in Europe. against him.

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