A "critical mass of suspicion" is being created to break the skeptical attitude of the Finns regarding NATO membership. Thus, according to experts, it is possible to interpret the scandal that erupted in Finland around the surveillance of Russian intelligence for Russian military. The "Russian theme" was put on the spotlight in a timely manner at the center of attention of the Finnish society.
In Finland, there is a loud scandal caused by the leakage of data on "spying on the Russians." The criminal police of the country began an investigation into the transmission and publication in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper of classified information about the Finnish military intelligence - in particular, relating to Russia. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto told the state-run television and radio company Yle: the transfer of "extremely secret documents" was illegal, entailing risk and serious consequences for the country's security.
Journalists reported: in the township of Tikkakoski (near the city of Jyvaskyla, in the heart of Finland) is the research intelligence center of the Finnish Defense Forces. The sphere of interests of the center includes "everything that is connected with Russia".
The data that was "fused" to the journalists of Helsingin Sanomat, dates back to the period from 2004 to 2010 year. At that time, 150 employees were working in the center, but the publication predicts an increase in their number - Finland is going to adopt a new law on intelligence, which seriously broadens the rights and powers of the relevant services (in particular, to collect information abroad).
What interested the Finnish intelligence center
Judging by the publication of the Finnish publication, the scope of interest of the intelligence center was "a gas pipeline project on the bottom of the Baltic Sea from Vyborg to German Greifswald." This refers to the pipeline "Nord Stream", whose construction was started in 2010-m, and the first deliveries started in a year. Helsingin Sanomat states: during the period of 2005-2010 years, Finnish intelligence believed that "it is technically possible to install various tracking systems on the gas pipeline".
But first of all the center was monitoring (and, apparently, continues to track) the movement of Russian military. For this purpose, intelligence "records, analyzes and classifies the electromagnetic radiation of the Russian armed forces" in order to create an "electronic snapshot of the military estimate" or an electronic intelligence map.
According to the publication, at that time, surveillance was conducted for Russian troops in the Western Military District (ZVO) - more precisely, that part of it that was part of the Leningrad Military District (LenVO), abolished in 2010.
At the time of abolition, the Leningrad Military District was the smallest of the Russian military districts. It consisted of three separate motorized rifle brigades (139-I, 200-I and 25-I) deployed in the Leningrad, Pskov and Murmansk regions. The 9 I artillery brigade, a separate missile brigade and four anti-aircraft missile brigades (the Leningrad, Pskov region and Karelia) were also part of the district. In addition, in the subordination of the Leningrad Military District was the oldest of the existing airborne assault units - the 76 airborne assault Chernigov division.
"Neutrals" did not disturb - but until a certain moment
Actually, the fact that neutral Finns are following the "big eastern neighbor", there is nothing sensational for Russian specialists. "Even in periods of friendly relations between the Soviet Union and Finland, between Russia and Finland, Finnish intelligence has always acted," Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov, the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems, said in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. As for the object of the potential interest of the Finns, "Lenovo was the weakest military district - at one point had only two deployed brigades," the source said. This was the result of precisely the fact that Finland is a neutral and friendly state with respect to Russia, Ivashov emphasizes.
But now one can not ignore the changing political situation. The expert notes:
"Today Finland is at a critical point - at the time of determining the further military-strategic situation."
The question is whether Russia's nearest northern neighbor (officially neutral neutrality from 1948) will become the next NATO member.
If the message from the Finnish media is true, then it means: surveillance of Russian military facilities and troops is not only in NATO countries, but also in those states that call themselves neutral with respect to the alliance, Krasovsky said in a RIA Novosti commentary. In the near future, the Finns will have to make a choice: remain truly neutral, be called so (but actually cooperate with the alliance), or openly join NATO, which, thus, will be established not only in Eastern Europe and the Baltic, but also in Scandinavia.
Duality and uncertainty on the eve of elections
In Finland, presidential elections are due, the vote is scheduled for 28 January, recalled in a commentary to the newspaper VZGLYAD first deputy chairman of the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs Andrei Klimov. "In my opinion, this explains the appearance of publications. It's clear why such a revival, "- said the senator.
So far, only one of the five leading presidential candidates - MEP Nils Torvalds of the Swedish People's Party (acting, as the name implies, on behalf of the Swedish minority) openly supports immediate accession to NATO. President Ninisto, running for a new term, represents the "National Coalition" - a party that at some point agitated for membership in the alliance. But the president himself, according to Finnish experts, is more likely to fluctuate. Last week, Niinisteau said that he now sees no reason for Finland's entry into NATO. But, he added, "the world is changing." And the manifestations of these changes are evident.
Not long ago, 9 November, the Finnish president, while in Brussels, signed an agreement with the NATO leadership on cooperation in the field of precision weapons. 3 October Niiniste and Alliance Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg opened the European Center for Expertise and Combating Hybrid Threats in Helsinki.
Equally ambiguous is the position of the head of the Ministry of Defense of Finland, Jussi Niinisto, the namesake of the president. The minister is a representative of the extreme right party "True Finns" who opposes joining the alliance and critically assesses Finland's stay in the EU. Jussi Niinisteau stated that the eastern neighbor does not directly threaten Suomi (in particular, according to the Minister of Defense, there is no "direct threat" in the deployment of Iskander and the S-400 complexes in the Kaliningrad region). At the same time, Finland "can not close its eyes to what happened in the Crimea," the minister stressed at the November meeting of the heads of the Ministry of Defense of the Nordic countries.
The personal preferences of the minister are also important. He is a big fan of the Finnish nationalists of the first half of the last century, various "fighters with communism", as well as participants in the "winter war" 1939-1940 years and "war-continuation" 1941-1944.
Leonid Ivashov notes:
"I admit that we have somewhat weakened the work with Finland, and today there are constantly present Americans, NATO, training of Finnish military - and all this in order to rip Finland out of neutral status and drag it into NATO.
Similar work is being done on Sweden "(also neutral). Part of this kind of "work" can be considered and pedaling the topic of the "Russian threat", and actually stimulating surveillance of the "source" of the threat.
"To ensure that the population is ready (and under Finnish law, a country can join NATO only on the basis of a referendum), a critical mass of suspicion," military threats "," Russia's aggressiveness ", etc., is being created," Ivashov points out.
According to public opinion polls, now only 22% of Finns are in favor of membership in the alliance. Another poll showed that 59% is against joining the country to NATO. But, as Ivashov recalls, in a certain period the percentage of the population favoring joining the alliance began to grow. This happened after the events in Ukraine and the reunification of the Crimea with Russia - then the percentage of Finns favoring the alliance grew from 16-19% to 26%. Now it has decreased again, but the necessary "processing" can again move the scales.
Common sense as a means of "stimulating from the outside"
Finland and the Nordic countries from "neutral and even benevolently related to Russia are trying to make allies of NATO, and then members of the alliance." And in this sense, any military or paramilitary activity, including in Finland, is stimulated from the outside, "commented the director of the Center for Military and Political Studies of MGIMO Alexei Podberezkin in a commentary on RT.
An antidote is an appeal to common sense. "Both the establishment of the country and the majority of the population adhere to the sound point of view. The whole experience of the existence of Finland since the end of the Second World War shows that they had everything from neutrality, and from the militarization and aggressive policy they received only defeats, "points out Andrei Klimov, Deputy Chairman of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs.
Colonel-General Leonid Ivashov shared his experience of communication with the Finnish side. When the NATO members began actively "working" with the Finns, the country was visited by the Russian delegation. "I spoke at the Paasikivi-Kekkonen club (named after the two presidents of the country, which led Finland to neutrality with the USSR - note VZGLYAD). And as an illustration, he hung out a map of what Russia will do if Finland joins NATO, "said the president of the Academy of Geopolitical Problems.
"I showed what would mean the deployment of additional groupings of troops, the targeting of our percussion assets on all military-strategic facilities in Finland. And he explained: you will cease to be independent, - Ivashov underlined. - The main joint command of NATO troops in Europe will determine - on what object, at what time this or that group will be transferred. You will not be asked whether NATO planes have nuclear weapons, etc. " According to the interlocutor, thanks to such arguments, the mood of the Finnish side has clearly been reversed.