Jan 3, 2022
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Hot Finnish Guys Give Piggy to Putin

Photo: President of Finland Sauli Niiniste

Photo: President of Finland Sauli Niiniste (Photo: imago images / Lehtikuva / TASS)

The bug is small, but it stinks. Such a ridiculous proverb can illustrate the position of some post-Soviet states that are trying to establish themselves on the world stage through not economic or political successes (due to the lack of them), but solely through scandals with neighbors. Unfortunately, this path is often followed by some of Russia’s northern European neighbors.

New Year’s populism: slogans instead of congratulations

President of Finland Sauli Niiniste stated that the “ultimatums of Russia” in the field of security were contrary to European principles. According to Niiniste, his country has every right to join NATO if it wants to. Thus, the Finnish president demonstratively rejected Russia’s official demands to end further NATO expansion near the Russian borders.

“Finland’s wiggle room and freedom of choice also includes the possibility of military association and applying for NATO membership if we decide so,” Niiniste said in his New Year’s address to the nation, quoted by the British newspaper The Telegraph.

Finnish president’s statement was an unambiguous answer Vladimir Putin, which last month demanded guarantees that NATO would stop the practice of expanding to the east, and that it would not use the military infrastructure of the states bordering with Russia, and that all offensive weapons would be withdrawn.

However, Niiniste didn’t think that much, according to The Telegraph.

In his New Year’s address, he said that the European Union should also be involved in the negotiations between Russia and NATO: “In this situation, Europe cannot just listen. The sovereignty of several member states, as well as Sweden and Finland, has been challenged from outside the European Union. This makes the EU an involved party. The EU should not be content with just the role of technical coordinator of sanctions. ”

It is amazing that the unfortunate Finns were obliged to listen to this tirade on New Year’s Eve instead of sincere congratulations and warm wishes. But populists in every corner of the planet are the same – whether it’s snowy Finland or hot Venezuela.

Evractive: half of the Finns are against their country’s joining NATO

Finland and neighboring Sweden are non-aligned countries, but they are stepping up military cooperation with NATO, and have also built strong bilateral relations with members of the alliance such as the United States, Norway and the United Kingdom, according to the Financial Times.

Why would Niiniste suddenly remember his desire to become a NATO member? Perhaps because the leader of the opposition National Coalition party Petteri Orpo is a long-term and aggressive supporter of Finland’s joining NATO, which supposedly will strengthen regional security.

They also cheat on Finnish oppositionists from other countries, whose leaders have an irrational hatred of Russia. The accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO “could make the whole of northern Europe much more stable and secure,” said the head of the Estonian parliamentary foreign affairs committee recently. Marko Michkelson

However, the Finns themselves will make a decision proceeding not at all from the “instructions” from Estonia.

In the meantime, opinion polls quoted by Euractiv show that 50% of Finns are against joining NATO, and only 25% are for. And the main fear of the inhabitants of Finland is that in the event of joining NATO, the northern country will become a springboard for the uncontrolled build-up of the military power of the alliance.

This has already happened with neighboring Norway, where recently an American nuclear submarine moored in the port of Tromsø for the first time since the end of the Cold War. The appearance of the submarine caused violent protests among local residents, who are accustomed to a calm and measured life instead of an endless series of military maneuvers.

Financial Once: Putin respects the Finnish president. Does he hit you in the back?

Finland has maintained close diplomatic and commercial ties with Russia, and security experts at The Financial Times state that Niiniste is the European leader most respected by his Russian counterpart Putin. All the more striking is the aggressive tone that the Finnish president used to address Russia in his New Year address.

International analyst for World Atlas Alice Mala points out that the Finnish president is well aware of the economic costs of joining NATO. On the one hand, Finland will have to increase its defense budget by about a quarter (now it spends about 1.5% of GDP on defense, and NATO requirements are associated with spending at least 2%).

In addition, there are strong tourist and business ties between Finland and Russia, millions of citizens of both countries traveled freely across the border before the pandemic. If Finland joins a hostile NATO, it can drastically spoil relations, says Alisa Mala.

Based on this, the expert makes a simple prediction: “Finland is satisfied with the unofficial support it receives from NATO states … Finland does not plan to become a NATO member, but it will continue to strengthen ties with the alliance.”

So, everything is simple: the Finnish president, apparently, just wants to get some preferences, making provocative – both in tone and content – statements. But Russia, as an older brother, must remain silent.

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