#04 – FINNISH CONNECTION
I'm lucky, my personal relevant connection to the horrible crisis in Ukraine is currently only a very "collateral" one—through Finland, my country of origin. The country that is involved (in spite of itself) in some aspects of the extremely tense global situation; the geographical as well as the historical position of Finland isn't something to be ignored, and so also I, while personally physically away from Finland, have found myself (over)thinking about the situation a lot, with plenty of "what if..."s.
In Finland, the president is in charge of the foreign policy (together with the government). The current president Sauli Niinistö (pictured) is in his second 6 year term now, so he already has had the chance to get to know Putin somehow, and I've read that Mr Niinistö has never been so in-demand for comments in the foreign press—you may have seen Mr Niinistö with his calm and serious manners in some TV interviews (eg. CNN, BBC), providing his views on Putin with whom he last spoke on the phone on March 11th. While I may smile at the jokes and quips about Finland's resistance against the Soviet Union during the Second World War (in which my both grandfathers fought), in real life I definitely prefer that (also) Finnish politicians and authorities avoid all showing off, given the explosiveness of the moment.
And as many have already remarked, Putin has already left his mark on Finland too, most likely soon achieving the very thing he's obsessively been trying to avoid: before the Russian invasion the majority of Finns were completely happy with Finland not being a NATO member; the people wanting to join were less than 30% of the population (surveys 2002-2021) — that ratio has now turned around, and it did so in a span of few days after the invasion started.
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