Russian correspondent Geert Groot Kurkamp
“If Sweden and Finland had planned this a year ago, the country would probably be too small and the news would have dominated Russian television channels, but so far the official response in Russia has been extremely lukewarm. Russia has previously warned that Finland and Sweden would be better off to say that such a decision is ‘unwise’ and that the entry of these countries into NATO will have serious consequences, but for now it remains unclear what concrete measures Russia could take.
A cursory glance at the map reveals that the implications for Russia are significant. Finnish and Swedish membership would mean that the Baltic Sea would practically become NATO’s internal sea. Apart from the part near the Russian exclave of Kaliningrad and the coast near St. Petersburg, the Baltic Sea will then be completely surrounded by NATO territory. NATO troops are also getting closer to Russia. The second largest city in the country, St. Petersburg, is located only 130 kilometers from the Finnish border.
Unlike Ukraine, Finland is rarely mentioned in a historical context, although the country was once part of the Russian Empire. But Finland is viewed differently than, for example, former Soviet republics like Ukraine. The language could change if NATO membership is truly inevitable. Meanwhile, Moscow is considering a more comprehensive response. “