What is primary for Finland’s elites: joining NATO or banning the Bible?

MOSCOW, 05 Jan 2022, RUSSTRAT Institute.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s speech on Finland’s “right to join NATO” is not the first statement of this kind heard from Helsinki. Earlier, President Sauli Niinistö questioned Moscow’s right to put forward conditions to the United States and NATO regarding Russia’s security guarantees.

How should these signals be understood?

On the one hand, we are talking about the geopolitical blackmail of our country by the West. It is obvious that Finland’s accession to the North Atlantic Alliance will dramatically complicate the situation in northern Europe, the last buffer zone between Russia and NATO will disappear. On the other hand, the course of joining the alliance is supported today by an absolute minority of Finnish residents. Although revanchist sentiments have been actively cultivated in the country in recent years, the mentality of Finns differs from the mentality of Poles in the direction of greater pragmatism. Most Finns are well aware of all the benefits of neutrality and are not ready to turn their country into a frontline state. It is quite natural that more than half of the participants in opinion polls oppose joining NATO and Finland’s loss of neutral status.

Therefore, today the topic of Finland’s involvement in NATO in a certain sense looks like a bluff. This is not possible in the near future, since the majority of the population is categorically against such a scenario.

At the same time, it should not be underestimate in the long term. The Russian factor and the topic of joining NATO are used in the internal political struggle. In three weeks, Finland will begin the trial of ex-Minister of Internal Affairs and MP Päivi Räsänen, who is being tried for criminal prosecution for quoting the Bible. As it’s known, she is being tried for referring to the statements of the Apostle Paul, which caused the rage of LBGT activists. In fact, we are talking not only about the reprisal of an objectionable politician, but also about a judicial precedent that creates prerequisites for the legislative prohibition of the Bible in the West.

Under these conditions, an attempt to shift the Finns’ attention to issues related to the country’s accession to NATO and the deterring of the mythical “Russian threat” becomes understandable.

It is obvious that Finnish society is going through a deep crisis today.  At the same time, the Finns have always had a reputation for rational, calm and prudent people. After all, Finland is not Ukraine. Therefore, today there is hope that common sense will prevail, and Finns will nevertheless refrain from making any decisions that destroy both the foreign policy and cultural traditions of their country.

Elena Panina, Director of the RUSSTRAT Institute

Institute for International Political and Economic Strategies – RUSSTRAT

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