Vladimir Putin ordered the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in part, to prevent it from joining NATO. The war has so frightened Finland and Sweden that they are looking to join the military alliance. […]
LANGFITT: Of course, the redeployment of troops to Ukraine makes it much harder for Russia to threaten Finland in the short run. And Finland has a substantial army – 180,000 soldiers in wartime, plus 200 tanks and 800 artillery pieces. Some here say public support for NATO membership is driven more by shock over the invasion than an evaluation of risk.
ERKKI TUOMIOJA: I think there’s a huge degree of emotions involved.
LANGFITT: Erkki Tuomioja is a lawmaker with the Social Democratic Party, whose leader serves as prime minister.
TUOMIOJA: Public opinion plays a big role in this, but there is also this ingrained fear, which is actually fueled also by our media, which is in a state of, I would say, war psychosis in a sense (laughter) that…
LANGFITT: War psychosis.
TUOMIOJA: Yes. I mean, that Finland could any day expect to be attacked – I don’t think this is realistic.
LANGFITT: What do you think are the downsides of joining NATO?
TUOMIOJA: Well, it would create tensions with Russia, obviously. And we have had a very pragmatic relationship with Russia in terms of logistics, environment and regional cooperation.
LANGFITT: Are you concerned that the country could actually take a policy decision based on fear and emotion?
TUOMIOJA: I’m also concerned about the level of the public debate. Anybody who questions membership is being vilified as a Putin agent. Läs intervjun