Until last year, neither Finland or Sweden planned to join NATO. But after the February 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, both countries handed their official letters of application to NATO.
Dr. Ryhor Nizhnikau is a senior political science researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs. He joined us from Helsinki, Finland to talk about Finland, which instigated the joint application to join NATO. Nizhnikau gives a summary of his countrys troubled history with Russia; Finland shares 833 border miles with Russia and was invaded in 1939 in what is known as the Winter War.
Later, Nizhnikau tells a larger story of Russian efforts to exert influence and Russia’s attempts to build the Russian World in its region, and the evolution of that lead up to the current situation, which he believes is one of permanent transformation.
Nizhnikau traces how Ukraine has been a catalyst for change, identifying two other historic moments of transition provoked by the popular independence movements coming from the people of Ukraine during the past 20 years – the orange revolution in 2204 and the Euromaidan Movement in 2014 – leading up to Russia going to war.