International news: Finland’s ascension brings NATO closer to Russia


Elaine Kuang

Following Finland’s accession to NATO, the Finnish Russian border has allowed NATO to expand east. The border town of Lappeenranta faces conflict with the rise of the issue.

Ibrahim Saxe

Finland joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and became the 31st nation to do so despite protests from within their nation and abroad. When World War Two ended and the Axis forces were defeated, part of the peace agreement stated for the Finnish government to adopt a policy called ‘Finlandization.’ Finlandization entailed that Finland would not take sides in geo-political struggles. However, the policy has officially ended with Finland joining NATO and doubling NATOs border on Russia from 754 miles to 1594 miles. This puts NATO less than 250 miles away from Russia’s second largest city St. Petersburg. 

In order for a nation to join NATO they must get the approval of all existing NATO members. Many in Hungary’s parliament have felt betrayed by this move as they have received emails from Finnish voters telling them Finland’s accession is undemocratic. The Hungarian speaker said things will be different for Sweden’s ascension. He has contrasted Finland’s accession to Hungary’s, in which a referendum was held allowing the people to have a direct say in the move. However, the Finnish voters acted in the closest manner possible which was by participating in the parliamentary elections held in the middle of Finland’s accession. The results lead to the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, having her party voted out and the announcement of her resignation. These results are considered to be the Finnish people’s response to the NATO ascension. 

Russia has also condemned the move as an escalation of tensions and they claim that Finland has officially lost its special status. Suggesting military posts could be established along the border, Finland is expected to be considered an unfriendly nation by Russia. According to Finnish news outlet Yle, the mayor of Lappeenranta, a small border town, has suggested hosting a military base for NATO. Though, this would escalate tensions as NATO initially tried for a NATO base in Crimea, which had previously led to the War in Donbass and Russian-Ukranian War. This could lead to nuclear missiles being stationed in Kaliningrad and submarines anywhere around the world being on a higher stand-by alert. Many developing nations have condemned the move as moving away from peace and making the war in Ukraine and Donbass harder to solve.