The tenacity of Ukrainians can be frustrating, sanctions can hurt and losses on the battlefield can be catastrophic, but one thing Vladimir Putin must probably bother the most now. Finland, with which its country has more than 1,300 kilometers of borders, wants to join the North Atlantic Alliance immediately. This would mean that the length of Russia’s common border with NATO countries would double.
The destructive imperial dream of the emergence of buffer, ideally demilitarized states between the alliance and Russia – Putin’s vision not only of the future of Ukraine but also of the Czech Republic, for example – would have a hard time. And perhaps the worst thing for Putin is that he is to blame for everything. Barriers to the enlargement of the Alliance are falling as a result of the self-inflicted hatred of subverting European civilization.
Sweden intends to join NATO simultaneously, and also quickly. Both Nordic countries are stable democracies, invest in defense, already belong to the EU, have a high political culture, care for the rights of minorities, simply meet all written or unwritten criteria. Only the Turkish president began to raise objections. He sensed an opportunity and began to blackmail him. Stockholm and Helsinki are said to be harboring Kurdish “terrorists”.
It’s nonsense. Although there is a large Kurdish community, especially in Sweden, which does not have much sympathy for the Turkish state. Six members of the Swedish Kurds come from the local Kurds. But that’s about it. Therefore, there is a belief that the troublemaker from Ankara will enter into some trade, such as arms, and will eventually raise his hand to accept both countries.
The Finnish story in particular is a disgraceful disgrace to Russia and literally monumental to the political map of Europe. Helsinki gives rise to the concept of neutrality that took shape in the country in the 20th century as a result of the bitter experience with the Soviet Union. Today, the country of five million surprisingly repulsed the Soviet invasion in the famous Winter War in 1939, but in the re-Soviet aggression a few months later, it had to save its existence through extensive territorial concessions. Then she leaned towards Nazi Germany because she had no choice but to do so without getting dirty.
Although Finnish sovereignty remained more limited after 1945, the Soviet Union forced neutrality on the Finns – which Sweden also chose as its modus vivendi. But neutrality eventually became part of national identities in both countries. People have supported it overwhelmingly for decades. They saw the idea of NATO membership as an unnecessary provocation against the USSR or Russia. At the same time, they emphasized defense. For example, the relatively small Finnish army is therefore modernly armed. The country has two hundred sophisticated Leopard 2 tanks, the same number as forty times larger Germany. As many as 70 percent of young people volunteer for military service, so the country is able to quickly mobilize up to 300,000 men and women. For comparison: Russia launched an February attack on Ukraine with a contingent of about 100,000 troops.
When building apartment buildings in Finland, care is still being taken to build shelters. The Finns never confused their neutrality with pacifism.
On the turn of Helsinki and Stockholm, one can greatly demonstrate how wrong those who claim that the conflict in Ukraine is a return to the bloc division of the world or the Cold War era are wrong.
The opposite is true. Political terms such as “East” and “West” have become less relevant. On the one hand, there is a community of countries defending respect for the law, the agreements, the word. That is, a community that refuses to recognize the right of the stronger and does not allow democracy. On the other hand, there is the criminal regime, which in its conquest does nothing and has become more unpredictable than the Soviet Union. As is heard around the world today, this is not a new form of old-fashioned geopolitical competitiveness, but simply a principle. The Finns and Swedes understood that. They see that they have done well in emphasizing defense, but in the future it is still small given Putin’s aggression. Therefore, the neutrality that has shaped their identity for eight decades is history.