Finland and Nato: concern over Moscow's response

The governments in Helsinki and Stockholm will likely decide this week whether to join Nato. Particularly in Finland, which borders directly on Russia, fears of intimidation actions by Moscow are running high. Commentators discuss what to expect and how to react.

Open/close all quotes
Helsingin Sanomat (FI) /

Prepare for migration as a way of applying pressure

The fences Finland plans to erect at certain points of its border with Russia are probably necessary although they won't be a cure-all, says Helsingin Sanomat:

“The fences are meant to prevent 'instrumentalised migration', in other words Russia putting Finland under pressure by sending large numbers of asylum seekers across the border. ... It's difficult to close the Finnish-Russian border, which is long and densely forested. The alternative is to control traffic near the border. Russia has done this so far, but now it can no longer be relied on. ... That is why a fence is better than nothing.”

Etelä-Saimaa (FI) /

Keep a cool head

Finns must be prepared for new intimidation tactics but avoid overreacting, Etelä-Saimaa advises:

“Russian border breaches and cyberattacks on state websites have already taken place this spring. There is also a risk of denial-of-service attacks on bank IT systems, which could disrupt daily banking operations. ... In addition, we are likely to see reactions coming out of Russia the likes of which we have never seen before. ... The coming weeks may also have an impact on people's everyday lives here. On the eastern border, however, people should keep a cool head. Because it is precisely Russian intimidation that is driving Finland into Nato.”

Kristeligt Dagblad (DK) /

Don't let fear of Putin dictate policies

Finland and Sweden should not be dissuaded from their course by Russia's threatening gestures, Kristeligt Dagblad urges:

“A Nordic Nato expansion will undoubtedly be seen by Russia as a provocation. However, it is no good letting ourselves be paralysed by anguished uncertainty over Putin's red lines. As the Finnish president so rightly said in his New Year's address, it is up to the Finns - and one might add, the Swedes - to decide for themselves which military alliance they want to join.”