The happiest country in the world prepares for war

One Wednesday in July Helsinki, capital city Finlandhappiest country in the world for the fifth year in a row. The city fled to the archipelago’s cottages and inland in a major debacle that began with the summer solstice, Spanish August in the Scandinavian version. Those who do not sleep at night and are left scattered across parks and terraces surrendered to a sun that won’t last long. That’s why it’s almost unpleasant to talk about war. Fear caused by the invasion of Ukraine eroded, as did respect for Ukraine’s first threats. Vladimir Putin Regarding Finland’s entry into NATO Whatever happens, the country feels ready. Not in vain, he had been waiting for this moment for more than half a century.

Finland a Castleno matter how envious Welfare statepolitical culture based on pact or diplomacy, sauna intimacy suggests the opposite to open the dialog. There’s more than just scattered across the country 50,000 bunkers and bomb sheltersIt was built in the basements of apartments and public spaces from the 1940s, when it fought two wars with Finland. Soviet Union After being occupied by 450,000 soldiers stalin In the cold winter of 1939, a Stalin trying to push away the northwestern borders of the USSR to protect St. Petersburg harbinger of a possible German attack. “We all victims of our history”, says the former head of Finnish military intelligence, Pekka Tovari, overlooking the calm waters of the Gulf of Finland. “we have dozens of wars With Russia and the threat almost always came from the east, so we never let our guard down.”

In the minds of Finnish leaders, the Cold War was never quite over. While other European countries weakened their armies, they buried the military and slashed defense spending. Finland continued its compulsory military service and the size of the Armed Forces mobilize 285,000 soldiers in wartime. One to add reserve corps about 900,000 members and 300,000 civilians hunting license, Imposing numbers for a country with less than six million inhabitants. “In terms of population and density, we are a small country with a very long border with Russia,” says Teija Tiilikainen, former Secretary of State at the Finnish Foreign Ministry. “This geopolitical vulnerabilitycoupled with our closeness unstable, unpredictable neighbor and sometimes aggressive, shaped our defense policy”.

Overthrow for NATO

This neighbor showed his claws again in December when the Kremlin threatened. “serious political and military consequences” If Finland and Sweden move to join NATO. For many, it was a harsh déjà vu from the Cold War days. 100,000 Soviet soldiers Finland swept its borders and Helsinki had to agree with Moscow on its stances on the matter. foreign policy or abstaining from voting in the UN is a kind of tutelage that restricts the country’s sovereignty. “These threats backfired,” says Tiilikainen on the other end of the phone. “As soon as the war begins in Ukraine, public opinion changed overnight. Support for NATO accession rose from just over 20% to over 60%”. this impartiality the ancients were in the air.

The invasion also served to reaffirm the country’s defense strategy, known as its defense strategy. “Comprehensive Defense”That the entire Government and a large part of society are involved in responding to any crisis scenario. The law provides for some measures. this underground bunker construction buildings of certain sizes is one of them. However, there are others, such as the need to make a presentation. plan to demolish every bridge quickly obligation of the Government to build or maintain food and fuel reserves to supply the population for at least three months, according to referenced sources.

“From the 2000s we realized that war is no longer our main threat,” says Tovari, the former head of military espionage. “There were others, such as terrorism, epidemics, mass migration or cyber attacks. All government agencies have agreed to mobilize resources and be very clear about the responsibilities of each in such situations.” Among other things, Finland has reduced its energy dependence on Russia, so when Putin chose to cut off the gas to the country in the cold a few months ago, Helsinki was scarcely frightened. Russian gas represents only 5% of the energy mix.

Military courses for the elite

Finnish “comprehensive defense” also has a very distinct social component. Tens of thousands of so-called citizens national defense coursescreated to educate the ruling elite (business managers, senior officials, politicians or journalists) in collective defense principles. Tuomas Forsberg, professor of International Relations, completed the four-week course almost two decades ago. “Instead of teaching you how to fight, they teach you to fight. supply chain, crisis management or the legal framework in emergencies” reassures the University of Helsinki. “One of the advantages of living in a small country is that people get to know each other and in a crisis these interpersonal networks can be very valuable,” adds Forsberg.

Just over an hour’s drive from the capital, Timo Vainio sells and repairs guns lost on a dirt road buried in the woods in a small workshop next to his home. “Arms sales did not increase because the laws were strict, but they did. ammunition price doubledThis shows that both reservists and hunters are concerned,” says this army veteran who has served in Lebanon and Kosovo. “History teaches us that Russia is a threat to Finland, but we have been preparing for this for a long time. Whatever happens, we can survive,” he adds, before getting in the car to go fishing.

Source: Informacion


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