Finland’s president and prime minister announced this week that the country is close to sending to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) an official application for membership of the Alliance, composed of Western countries and led by the United States.
The Finnish statement generated discontent on the part of the Russian government, which said that a possible candidacy would have negative consequences for the country. Indeed, one of the main reasons for the Russian invasion of Ukraine it was Kiev’s willingness to join NATO.
According to Pedro da Costa Junior, political scientist and researcher at USP (University of São Paulo), Finland’s candidacy comes at an inopportune moment, given the war in Eastern Europe and the country’s history of neutrality in history.
“Finland is a democracy and can choose to join NATO, of course it can. But is it recommended that she join the Aliança at that time, in this context of war, given their history of neutrality?”, asks Costa Junior, author of the book Collapse or Myth of Collapse.
The political scientist points out that it is impossible to determine what Russia’s next steps will be in the face of a possible Finnish candidacy for NATO. However, the country’s population should begin to suffer from sanctions in areas such as energy or even an invasion along the Ukrainian lines.
“The population can obviously suffer from economic and energy sanctions. They depend on Russian energy, they could suffer a Russian invasion. So no one knows whether this is really in the Kremlin’s calculations or not.”
History is against Finland
The Russian record in scenarios where NATO flirts with countries in Moscow’s area of influence is not favorable to the Finns. In 2008, when Georgia was talking to the Alliance, Russia’s armed forces joined separatist troops from two regions of the country for a operation that decreed the self-independence of Abkhazia and South Osseita.
Costa Junior also warns of the natural fragility of the more than 1,300 km long border that separates Finland and Russia. There are no large mountains, rivers or other geographical obstacles on the site that would hamper an alleged invasion.
Therefore, allowing Finland to join NATO can be interpreted by Russians as having a border of thousands of kilometers with their biggest opponents, the United States.
“Russia has already declared that it will not tolerate these threats at its border. The country classifies these attitudes as threats because, from the Russian point of view, this is an existential issue, a security issue. Russia has already been invaded by these borders.”
Since 2007, Russia has demanded that the West not increase NATO territories. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this year that the country’s request looks like a “dialogue of the deaf”, alluding to the constant expansionism of the Military Alliance.
How to reduce tensions?
For the political scientist, the best way to reduce tensions in Eastern Europe is for Finland and any other country not to join NATO in the coming months.
Costa Junior believes that the Military Alliance has a decisive role in maintaining peace, not only as a mutual defense group, but also as an international security entity.
“NATO was an alliance, in its origin, defensive, not expansive and offensive. That’s what’s in the original NATO treaty. After the cold war in the 1990s, it clearly became offensive, expansive, and an existential threat from a Russian point of view. So she was annexing more countries, expanding territories into Eastern Europe. NATO could also de-escalate saying it would not accept countries.”
Finland should make official this Sunday (15) the country’s candidacy to NATO. In the coming weeks, the Sweden can also follow this step and announce the desire to enter the Alliance.