Thursday, September 8, 2016
The ongoing war in Ukraine and Russia’s March 2014 annexation of Crimea have changed Europe. Increased Russian military activity is also felt in the Baltic Sea area, although the heightened tension there is a political and military corollary to the conflict in Ukraine, not something emanating from the region itself. In this sense, it is a sideshow—even with the proximity to Russia’s northern capital, Saint Petersburg.
Yet the war in Ukraine has triggered an intense security policy debate in Finland and Sweden, which are both close nonmember partners of NATO. It is specifically the possibility of NATO membership that is discussed with such intensity in Finland and Sweden, an intensity unlike anything seen since the Cold War. Maintaining this possibility is a crucial means for these Nordic states to manage relations with their large Eastern neighbor.
Russia has fourteen contiguous neighbors and the longest land border in the world. Russia’s frontiers with Finland and Norway are the most stable and well managed. Indeed, the Finnish- Russian border regime had functioned flawlessly since the late 1950s. That is, until fall 2015, when to the great surprise of Norway and Finland, Russia suddenly allowed third-country nationals without proper visas to cross over. http://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/?fa=64509&mkt_tok=eyJpIjoiTWpRMU5UUXlZMkpsWlRobSIsInQiOiJ3aFlNOFZ0XC83TEpFT3VOTjBKS1ZSMldwXC9GM0hmazUxYWlwWnpMUEI3NlR3OFwvaFIyNkRobEpaNUJQTWpYeDM0TTBcLzdxeWVGcDd5RXN6V3U4N01Ba3FRUFM0ZWFXWmJock15Q0RPOEhzZ2M9In0%3D
Posted by Michele Kearney at 9:28 AM