"We have Mr. Putin in the neighbourhood. That’s the only reason"

There are mixed feelings in northernmost Finland on the country’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance. But people agree that Putin’s war changed everything.
April 04, 2023


As the Finnish flag was raised outside NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, the Barents Observer went to Inari in the country’s northeast and asked locals about the historical change.

In the video interview above, Susanna says she doesn’t like that her country joined NATO because “it is not a peace organization.” But, as she underlines, “I think we have no choice. […] We have Mr. Putin in the neighbourhood. That’s the main reason. And only reason.”

Finland has not been a member of any alliance since Second World War. Today, it became the 31st member of the NATO security alliance. At the same time, Russia got a 1,320 km more direct land border with NATO.

Juha says he supports the membership.

“Finland has tried to be the friend of Russia the last 60-70 years after the Second World War. We have always tried to be neutral. But everything changed in one night. I think that was the only way we could have done in this situation,” Juha points out. 

“We have a long border with Russia,” says Tapani. Today, he feels safer.

“It’s possible to get help if we need. We can be sure that in case we need help it’s possible to have it.”




The Barents Observer Newsletter

After confirming you're a real person, you can write your email below and we include you to the subscription list.

Privacy policy