• 20-Dec-2022

Finland joins NATO: What the end of ‘Finlandisation’ means for Russia, West

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Finland joined NATO on April 4, marking a definitive shift in Europe’s post World War II alignment and isolating Russia further. To join the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO), the small Nordic country, which shares a 1,340-km border with Russia, has ended more than 70 years of military non-alignment — in fact, in the Cold War years, a policy of neutrality between the Soviet Union and the West was known as ‘Finlandisation’, and Finlandisation had been one of the options discussed for Ukraine before Russia invaded it.

What has pushed Finland to give up its neutrality, what were its relations with Russia before this, and what is the move likely to mean for NATO, Russia, and Finland?

Why has Finland joined NATO?

On Monday, Russia said it would now strengthen its military capacity in its west and northwest. Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu, as reported by Reuters, said Finland’s accession “raised the risk of the Ukraine conflict escalating further”.