From its original military neutrality up until its present membership in NATO, Finland has moved substantially away from Russia and towards the West.
President Sauli Niinisto, the ‘Putin whisperer,’ is retiring after two six-year terms.
Niinisto kept open lines of communication with the Russian leader before the war, at which point relations with Moscow considerably deteriorated.
So, in a historic break with tradition, Helsinki joined NATO last April.
In the Finnish Presidential race, this same western-bound tendency is at play. Frontrunner Alexander Stubb stated NATO should become ‘more European’ and that his country will remain an important partner for the United States whether or not Donald Trump is re-elected.
“Stubb promised unconditional support for Ukraine and ruled out an improvement in Finland’s relations with Russian President Vladimir Putin until Moscow stops the war against Kiev.
Stubb, 55, leads opinion polls before Finland’s Jan. 28 presidential election, which precedes presidential elections this year in neighbouring Russia and the United States.”
Former Finnish PM, Stubb will continue to lean towards the West if elected president.
Stubb: “So in that sense, I’m very much along the lines of the current Finnish president, Sauli Niinisto, who said that we need a more European NATO. […] I think the Americans will not leave us alone (on our own), but it’s always useful to be prepared in the situation whereby we have to take more responsibility for our own defense.”
Stubb is not worried about whether Trump will be re-elected.
“‘Americans understand why we (Finland) are important and in that sense no matter who is elected as the U.S. president will understand that as well’, Stubb said.”
Finland signed a defense cooperation agreement with Washington. It grants the U.S. military broad access across the country, and its 830-mile long border with Russia.
“‘Politically, there will be no relations with the president of Russia or with the Russian political leadership until they stop the war in Ukraine’, Stubb said.”