How Finland's NATO Move Sparked Russian Resentment

Written by Henrik Rothen

Apr.20 - 2024 9:18 PM CET

Foto: Screenshot
Foto: Screenshot
Finland's leap into NATO ignites a fierce response from Russia, reshaping the security dynamics at Europe's northern frontier.

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The recent turn in Finnish-Russian relations marks a dramatic shift. Reports from Chinese journalists, as noted by the Chinese news outlet NetEase, highlight a hardening stance from Moscow following Finland's entry into NATO—a move that has significantly rattled the once stable neighborly ties between the two nations.

A Friendship Tested

Decades of amicable relations characterized by robust cooperation and cross-border visits have taken a nosedive.

Historically, Finns and Russians would often travel to each other’s countries for shopping and cultural exchanges, benefitting from their extensive 1300-kilometer border. But as Helsinki steps into the NATO fold, a series of alleged provocations along this expansive boundary has stirred discontent within the Russian Federation.

The tension further escalated with Finland’s potential positioning of strategic military hardware close to Russia, a move perceived as a direct threat by Moscow. According to NetEase, Russian sources argue that missiles launched from Finland could reach Russian territory in mere minutes, challenging Russia's air defense capabilities under these new and rapid conditions.

Russia’s Forceful Response

In reaction, Russian President Vladimir Putin did not mince words. His government swiftly moved to station potent offensive systems along the Finnish border, a clear signal of the serious approach Moscow is taking. The creation of the Leningrad Military District, specifically assigned to handle ‘neighborly matters’ with Finland, underscores the gravity with which Russia views the recent developments.

"Russia has identified primary targets in Finland that would be struck first should tensions escalate," reported the Chinese media, suggesting a strategic list has been drawn up by the Kremlin.

Unintended Consequences

Joining the Western alliance was intended to bolster Finland's security. Yet, as per the discussions in Chinese reports, Finland may now feel less secure than ever. The very act meant to safeguard its sovereignty has paradoxically led to increased vulnerability, drawing a formidable opponent in its erstwhile partner.

"By provoking Russia, Finland has created problems for itself," Chinese commentators noted, reflecting a sentiment that Helsinki may have miscalculated the repercussions of its strategic pivot.

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