If the worst fears of Europe are realised and the conflict in Ukraine spreads across the continent to other neighbours of Russia, then Finland will be ready. It has supplies. At least six months of all major fuels and grains sit in strategic stockpiles, while pharmaceutical companies are obliged to have 3-10 months’ worth of all imported drugs on hand. It has civilian defences. All buildings above a certain size have to have their own bomb shelters, and the rest of the population can use underground car parks, ice rinks, and swimming pools which stand ready to be converted into evacuation centres.
And it has fighters. Almost a third of the adult population of the Nordic country is a reservist, meaning Finland can draw on one of the biggest militaries relative to its size in Europe. “We have prepared our society, and have been training for this situation ever since the second world war,” says Tytti Tuppurainen, Finland’s EU minister. After spending eight decades living first in the shadow of the Soviet Union and now Russia, the threat of war in Europe “has not hit us as a surprise”. Läs artikel