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How the Russian Invasion of Ukraine Impacted Finland’s Security Model

Written by: Catarina SIlva

Edited by: Rosário Frada

Supervised by: Syuzanna Kirakosyan

On May 18, 2022, both Finland and Sweden applied to formally join NATO, abandoning their non-alignment policies that constituted their ethos for so long. In this article, we will delve deeper into Finland’s decision to join NATO and its consequences on the Finnish security model. As the Finnish government initiated the process towards integrating NATO, which then strongly influenced Sweden to follow, this article will delve deeper into Finland’s decision to join the transatlantic alliance (Nilsson and Strömberg, 2022).

The Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2022 has already been identified by scholars as a turning point in contemporary politics, the impact of which is felt throughout the defence and security environment of all European nations (Elgin and Lanoszka 2023). Finland is no exception, with its security concerns against external threats leading the country to rethink its reasons for previously not adhering to NATO membership (Forsberg, 2023).

The effects of the war on Finland’s ‘holistic’ approach to security are still awaiting debate and analysis by academics. Finland’s ‘holistic’ approach to security is an inclusive strategy that integrates military, civil, and societal aspects to ensure comprehensive national security. This model, often referred to as ‘comprehensive security’ has been pointed out by Finland and its representatives for its uniqueness. According to this perspective, Finland’s political choices consider “all security-related elements that, if threatened, could cause serious harm or danger to the public or society” (The Finnish Terminology Centre 2017, p. 16).

The purpose of this article is to briefly analyse the ongoing transformation of Finland’s comprehensive security framework. With its recent alignment with NATO, Finland’s approach to enhancing comprehensive security must now extend beyond purely national goals, also incorporating the obligations and opportunities stemming from NATO membership. Additionally, Finland must now adapt to NATO’s evolving objectives in bolstering civil resilience. Consequently, the Finnish government is developing strategic policies that will profoundly impact the nation’s comprehensive security landscape.