Finnish Ambassador Klaus Korhonen, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and Swedish Ambassador Axel Wernhoff submitting their respective country's application to NATO (Finland at NATO). Source:
Finnish Ambassador Klaus Korhonen, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, and Swedish Ambassador Axel Wernhoff submitted their respective country’s application to NATO (Finland at NATO). Source:

Russia has self-alienated itself against the West through its actions and has become an increasingly paranoid nation under Vladimir Putin. Not only threatening Ukraine, but the country has also threatened Finland, Sweden, Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, and other non-NATO nations who are thinking about drifting toward the West.

Making an example of how they want to “protect their borders,” Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014 and conducted a full-scale invasion in 2022. This war has been an internal disaster for Moscow and a geopolitical catastrophe as nations saw their renewed imperial ambitions and sought their security interests—one of those countries is Finland.

Finland, which has had a dark and uneasy history with Russia as a neighbor, initially attempted to keep a neutral but aware stance on their eastern neighbor since World War Two. However, now that the Russian invasion has changed its perspective, Europe’s largest reserve and artillery army poses the ultimate nightmare to the Kremlin, more so than Ukraine could in the alliance.

Russia’s Pretext for War in Ukraine

Despite its rejection from NATO in 2008, thanks to a veto from Angela Merkel, Vladimir Putin stated one of his reasons for invading Ukraine was that NATO would build bases to launch attacks against Russia. Ukraine, which generally wanted a path for the European Union to grow its stagnant economy, was not expecting its eastern neighbor to wage a brutal and scorched earth war against them.

Putin, Moscow parliament members, and media personalities would continue reiterating that NATO soldiers have been fighting in Ukraine to keep public interests positive during their military failures. Nevertheless, the full-fledged invasion was the ultimate catalyst that convinced Ukraine to pursue NATO membership. Kyiv realized Russia would never stop unless it were under the nuclear umbrella of the United States and its allies in Europe.

How the War Changed Finland’s Stance

After gaining its independence from Imperial Russia, after the latter occupied it for over 100 years, Finland has had a rocky relationship with its neighbor. Josef Stalin, the Soviet dictator, used a fake pretext to attempt to annex the nation just as he did to the Baltic states. This led to two wars between Finland and the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

With its small population, Finland inflicted heavy losses on the Red Army in the Winter War (over 350,000 casualties) and the Continuation War (over 900,000 casualties). However, Finland ultimately had to acknowledge Soviet supremacy as they did not have the endless stream of manpower Moscow had nor the diplomatic support from the international community.