Finland’s insoluble dilemma

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Helsingin Sanomat

René Nyberg

Finland has experienced the full spectrum of relations with its Eastern Neighbor from belligerence to passive submission. Good times or bad, Russia always presents a security policy quandary for Finland. When confrontational threats from Russia emerge, as they do from time to time, they can often be managed through skillful diplomacy, but we always have to be prepared for the worst.

Destabilization of the European security system is unacceptable. Chancellor Merkel has said as much to President Putin. It also threatens Finland’s security.

Finland cannot afford to turn its back on Russia. Even when provoked, we must not allow ourselves to be provoked. Finland instead has to filter out the excesses of Russian nationalist propaganda through our own cultural experience.

Finland should, however, strengthen its resilience and readiness for a situation where the war in Ukraine continues and the consequences of escalation remain unpredictable. Dealing with this environment will require strengthening of our defense capabilities and improving our intelligence capacities. Deeper cooperation with NATO and tighter military cooperation with Sweden are appropriate under the circumstances. The emergence of an intensified security co-operation between Finland and Sweden is a historical achievement. On the other hand, NATO membership would raise more issues than it could ever resolve. Russia remains Finland’s insoluble security dilemma.