April 05, 2023

How Finland's Conflicted History with Russia Influenced Decision to Join NATO

Source: The National

Journalist: Sunniva Rose

Finnish public opinion started to shift after Russia in December 2021 issued a list of demands to Nato, which would have barred Finland from becoming a member of the alliance. The subsequent invasion of Ukraine further galvanised Finland's Nato ambitions.

“Freedom of choice was very important for Finland,” said Nicholas Lokker, research assistant for the Transatlantic Programme at the Washington-based Centre for a New American Security.


Meanwhile, Mr Lokker said a Russian reaction should not be ruled out.

The Kremlin is particularly sensitive about Nato potentially focusing military resources in north-east Finland, which is close to Russia’s Northern Fleet base in the Kola Peninsula, where it keeps nuclear submarines.

“Russia uses them as the guarantor of their second-strike nuclear capability — if they are attacked first, they would enable them to respond,” said Mr Lokker.

“It’s important to make sure that the integration of Finland into Nato is done in a slow and predictable manner to mitigate as much as possible an increase in tensions with Russia,” he said.

Read the full story and more from The National.


  • Nicholas Lokker

    Research Associate, Transatlantic Security Program

    Nicholas Lokker is a Research Associate for the Transatlantic Security Program at CNAS. His work explores the development of the political and security order in Europe, focusi...