Finland has nearly shut all its border crossings with Russia, a move that, according to an expert from the Finnish Institute of Foreign Policy, aligns with Russian President Vladimir Putin's strategy. Putin aims to leverage this in his upcoming election campaign.
The Finnish government's decision to close almost all border crossings with Russia was influenced by a new policy aimed at halting individuals from Russian territories entering Finland without proper documentation.
Putin's Election Campaign Strategy
Finnish authorities report that in recent weeks, over 800 migrants from the Middle East and Africa have crossed from Russia into Finland. This influx is believed to be a deliberate act by Russia. Travel packages, costing just over 2,000 euros, offer transportation almost to the border itself.
Margarita Zawadskaja, from the Finnish Institute of Foreign Policy, suggests that Putin anticipated Finland's reaction. Closing the borders was part of his plan, devised for the election campaign period.
The Hidden Agenda Behind Finland's Eastern Border Closure
According to Zawadskaja, in an interview with the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, the closure of Finland's eastern border is part of Putin's covert strategy. The Russians provoke the Finns, and the Finns respond as the Russians expect. "The trick worked," says Zawadskaja.
Zawadskaja believes that Putin is attempting to bolster his support ahead of the presidential elections. The closure of the borders with Finland can be exploited in various ways, maligning the West while portraying himself as the hero of the situation.
The Closure's Advantage in Russian Propaganda
The border closure gives an edge to Putin's propaganda. Russia can emphasize that "the West is unfriendly, even to refugees." The Kremlin can fabricate numerous narratives about this situation, which could be significant during the presidential election campaign, concludes Zawadskaja.