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Basic contradictions in Russian-Finnish relations at the present stage
Material posted: Publication date: 22-10-2014

Russian - Finnish relations are a bright example of regional cooperation. Relations between the countries have evolved over many years. And they have a very complex history that carries with it various conflicts. Currently they are manifold and can be observed in different areas. For example, in June 2014 the Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Sergey Lavrov noted that "relations between Russia and Finland can be an example for other countries".

But not everything is so smooth. The inconsistency in the relationship was always observed. Geopolitical issues or conflicts is no exception.

The aim of this work is to consider conflicts between States. The work will be revealed the causes of the existing contradictions. Also will assess current relations between Russia and Finland.

One striking feature of Russian-Finnish relations is that the state border is still not determined and so far runs along the border of the former USSR. Although the "Treaty between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Finland on the foundations of relations" was signed on 20 January 1992.. Also, the Russian decision to expand the border zone of Russia with Finland sixfold from 5 to 30 km Finland refuses because of limited resources.

In may of 2005 border scandal. The foreign Ministry of Finland, officially accused of Military-Air Forces (air forces) of Russia in repeated violations of its airspace when flying to Kaliningrad. Thus the foreign Ministry of Finland went on violation of the established practice not to disclose information about such incidents. As stated by the Ministry, for the previous year; in 2004 the Russian air force about 20 times flew over the Finnish territorial waters.

Also in 2005, an incident occurred that is associated with the Karelian territories. Finnish MEP Ari Vatanen appealed to the President of Finland Tarja Halonen appealing to raise with the Russian leadership during the celebration of Victory Day in Moscow the issue of the return of Eastern Karelia. In 2006, lawyer brown Silvennoinen again raised this issue. Final position was expressed by the Director and Chairman of the scientific Council of the Moscow Carnegie Center Dmitri Trenin. He stated that the question of territorial belonging of Karelia is finally resolved and its revision is not expected.

In mid 2009 the Minister of defense of Finland jüri Hakamies stated that it continues to consider Russia threat to their country. Two years before this he said that "the Russian Federation returns to the role, at least, a regional superpower and that the Russians have a special inclination to such thinking." The three main threats to the security of Finland Hakamies called "Russia, Russia and once again Russia."

Does not subside the issue of NATO and Finland, which has a long common border with Russia, about 1300 km Being part of the EU since 1 January 1995, since 1993, Finland participates in NATO military maneuvers in the Baltic, it focuses on international cooperation in rescue operations. And already on 9 may 1994 signed the instrument of accession of Finland to the NATO program "Partnership for peace".

In 2012 there was an unpleasant incident. Nikolai Makarov, chief of the General staff of the armed forces of Russia, while in Finland, made a statement about the possibility of Finland's membership in NATO. The statement was based on the fact that this possibility is a serious threat to the national security of Russia. This statement gave rise to a heated debate in the country and caused an immediate reaction from NATO. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said that "Russia should not intervene in the decision about Finland's possible membership in the NATO". In March and October 2012, the Finnish air force participated in joint exercises with NATO in the skies of the Baltic. At the same time, Finland had discussed the patrolling of the airspace of Iceland together with Sweden. A final decision on the matter was not taken up. Russia Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev said that "the possible participation of Finland in patrolling the air border of Iceland is an internal affair of Finland".

If you see the statistics of 2010-2011, public opinion, 70 % of Finns were against Finland's membership in NATO. In the beginning of 2014, 59 % were against, and 22 % – for joining the Alliance.

The Crimean crisis of 2014 is once again forced the Finns to raise the issue of joining NATO. Those who are in favour of accession to the Alliance, accused Russia of aggression and trust to protect NATO from Russia. Opponents of this idea, or supporters of Russia argue that NATO membership would serve as a catalyst for the deterioration of relations with Russia and cause aggression towards Finland. April 15, 2014, Prime Minister of Finland Jyrki Katainen considered that the situation in Finland and Sweden have become members of the Alliance. However, this position does not find support in Parliament.

As for the General points regarding Russian-Finnish relations, trade and economic cooperation is the most important and one of the few positive components of partnership of Russia and Finland. The development of this cooperation takes place in the surrounding areas — St. Petersburg, Republic of Karelia, Leningrad and Murmansk regions.
However, the Finns themselves are extremely wary of Russia. And a quarter of Finns requires the preservation of the visa regime with Russia, since the higher crime rate in Finland is associated with Russia. According to the polls of 2014 shows that 43 % of the Finnish population, and to ~ 70 % who are in managerial positions, Russia is a big threat and the main enemy of Finland.

Finally relations between the countries deteriorated after the entry of sanctions against Russia. Although, initially in early March, Niinistö said that "Russia's actions in Ukraine, apparently, are contrary to international law". However, the importance of maintaining dialogue between the EU and Russia.

After Finland supported the EU and joined the economic and political sanctions against Russia, a number of Russian individuals and entities, which, according to the United States and Germany, were involved in destabilizing the situation in Ukraine. 6 August 2014 Russia imposed retaliatory sanctions. According to experts, they can seriously affect the economy of Finland; the situation is especially bad got company Valio. 15 August in Sochi hosted a meeting between the presidents of Russia and Finland, Sauli Niinistö and Putin. It discussed the negative vector of relations emerging in the Russian-Finnish bilateral cooperation. According to Putin, the current EU sanctions "under the threat turned out to be the whole complex of Russian-Finnish trade and investment ties".

As we have seen, relations between countries are not positive. And, unfortunately, they tend to deterioration. Firstly, this is due to the dependence of Finland on EU. As the countries of the Euro Union, such as Germany, are trying to dictate terms to Russia. As well as the desire of Finland to be "friends" with America, which, in turn, sets the course and throughout the EU, in particular the pressure on Russia. And if earlier it was not so much explicitly, it now becomes open and aggressive form.

Also do not forget the human factor. Finns themselves are not like Russia, they call us oppressors, Stalinists and occasionally called us "Russia" (ryssä) , or "ignoramus" (neukku - scoop). And as such the negative attitude comes from the times of Swedish Empire when Finland until independence was still very far away. And in the times of the Grand Duchy of Finland, this attitude has only strengthened.

But with all this, Finland is quite heavily "dependent" on Russia. And not only on trade relations:

  • it and traffic flows. Can also block the transit of goods through Russia and to deny the lease of the Saimaa canal;
  • it and timber, without which snaps Finnish sawmills and lesobirzha. And the machine is the loss of jobs;
  • this, of course, the trade (as an example, Valio);
  • this Russian energy.

Since fuel and energy resources of Finland are insignificant. The only local energy sources are wood, hydropower and peat. In this regard, the country largely depends on imports from Russia:

  • electricity is about 11 billion kW/h;
  • the coal is about 4 million tons;
  • gas about 5 billion cubic meters of gas per year;
  • and of course, Russian tourists. Which constituted 39% of all tourists in Finland.

Now in the relations between countries are dominated by military and political aspects of national security, economic, humanitarian and other problems. However, despite serious contradictions in the Russian-Finnish relations, Russia is extremely important for the Nordic countries. And perhaps many years of joint history, a common border and bilateral trade and economic agreements will help sooner or later to resolve contentious issues and reach consensus.

A list of sources used

  7. "Russian Finnish economic relations in the context of modern integration processes". - Conference materials. - Helsinki, 2013
  9. Alexandrov, Alexei Alexandrovich. Russian-Finnish relations in the context of European integration processes at the present stage. - St. Petersburg State University: SPb., 2011
  10. 10.The Shlyamin, Valery. Russian-Finnish economic relations. Problems and prospects : scientific edition / V. A. Shliamin. - SPb. : Publishing house of the Polytechnic. University press, 2007. - 292 p.

Eliseev N. And.

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