In a New Year’s address, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin spoke about the country’s possible entry into NATO. This was done by the head of the government of a neighboring country against the background of the problem of NATO expansion to the east raised at the highest level by Moscow.
How big is the danger that neutral Finland will change its status and become another NATO foothold in the confrontation with Russia? This was appreciated by the head of the Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies (CAST), a member of the Public Council under the Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation Ruslan Pukhov.
Sanna Marin said literally the following on the air of the state television and radio company Yle: “We reserve the right to apply for NATO membership. We must value the freedom of choice and take it as a real opportunity ”(quoted by RIA Novosti).
In fact, Ruslan Pukhov told the Army Standard electronic publication that Helsinki has long made its geopolitical choice, developing close military-technical cooperation with NATO. This is confirmed, for example, by the recent deal on the purchase by Finland from the American company Lockheed Martin of a large batch of the 5th generation F-35 multipurpose fighter-bombers. The contract value is 10 billion euros for 64 aircraft.
According to the analyst, one should not have illusions about the northern neighbor. After the end of World War II, in which Finland was an ally of Hitler, the Finns always considered the only real potential enemy only the USSR. The Finnish military system of total mobilization was built only for the tasks of organizing defense against the USSR. The West, on the other hand, has always been a potential ally for the Finns in the event of a possible confrontation with the USSR.
“It would be wrong to talk about the neutrality of the Finns for any period,” said Pukhov. “Their so-called balanced course was always a necessary measure, and not at all a sincere neutral position.”
According to him, since the 90s “there has been a complete reorientation of Finnish defense purchases to the West.” For the past 20 years, there has been no significant military-technical cooperation between Russia and Finland.
“According to Western patterns, they are also engaged in military construction, frankly considering Russia their potential enemy,” the analyst noted.
He highly appreciated the technical equipment of the Finnish armed forces and the training of the fighters. The Finnish army, in his opinion, can pose a serious military threat.
“It should be borne in mind that the debate on Finland’s entry into NATO has been going on for a long time. I believe that joining NATO will not happen in the near future, but the importance of such formalities should not be exaggerated, ”said Pukhov. According to him, the same Sweden, de jure not being a NATO member, is already de facto a much greater ally of the alliance than many of its formal members.
Finland, Pukhov noted, can also be considered a de facto NATO ally. The Finns are actively involved in integration with NATO structures and the armed forces of a number of countries of the alliance. It is not worth talking about some kind of real neutrality of Finland. In the event of a military confrontation between NATO and Russia, Finland is unlikely to refrain from military action against Russia. “And we should not forget that another potential enemy of ours is maturing and gaining strength near our north-western borders,” he concluded.