In Finland, NATO is not a hot political topic. Politicians seem to word their thoughts carefully, or not at all. And Russia is always listening.
But when I asked about it on Twitter, I got a lot of responses, including the one above
. The “suppressed spouse,” here, is Finland. And Russia is the “aggressor.”
Finland has a long history of defending its freedom from Russia. After World War II, we were mocked for our “Finnlandisierung,”
– seemingly independent, but in many ways still under the influence of the Soviet Union. The 1948 Friendship Agreement allowed the USSR to supervise Finnish society from all different angles.
Depending on whom you ask, this was either a pitiful crawling back towards the suppressor — or the only way to maintain the freedom of the Finnish state and people.
But when the Soviet Union collapsed and the Friendship Treaty was scrapped, Finland missed its short window to apply for NATO membership.
Then came Vladimir Putin and suddenly we found ourselves next to a nation that didn’t hesitate to intimidate its neighbours. Finns watched as Russia marched into Crimea — could the same happen to us?
Of course, we would hope that NATO would take care of us if Russia were to misbehave — even without membership.
That’s because, in practice, we already do a lot with NATO: our forces train with NATO, our technical capacity is pretty much matched to NATO’s — maybe even more than some of the real NATO countries’.
Besides, maybe Putin wouldn’t have time to mess with Finland anyway: he has other things and territories on his mind. But a growing number of people say otherwise.
In recent years, probably due to Russia’s behaviour, the public’s attitudes have grown positively towards membership
, but still approximately half of the population is against it. Many think that maintaining our own strong military forces is still the best way to deal with Russia.
Officially, “the NATO option” is there. But what would happen if the battered spouse dialed “911” and turned to NATO? Would that be enough to provoke Moscow?