More than a century has passed and Finland’s fear of Russia has not subsided: first over what was once Imeperial Russia, then in 1939 and throughout World War II, and then what became the former Soviet Union. But until now, it had never got to this extreme: the Helsinki government sent out letters to more than 900,000 reserves, including Finns living abroad, to remind them of the duties that are required of them in case of a conflict”.
The letter does not make specific mention of Russia, but the only powerful neighboring state where there are tensions unmistakenly is Russia. The message, as the Daily Telegraph reports, reminds each reserve the regiment or unit to which he belongs “attached – it reads-you will find your personal details as well as your role in case of war”. The government however has denied that the letters have any link with the crisis in the Ukraine or tensions with the Kremlin, and sustains that the plan for the call of the reserves dates back two years ago, before the annexation of the Crimea in March 2014. Finland, a non-Nato member, has common frontiers with Moscow which extend for over 1,300 km.
Currently, the Helsinki forces can count on 16,000 full-time soldiers, which can increase to 285,000 in a few days with the reserves. In recent months, Russian war-planes have tested Finnish air defences several times and in April a submarine, suspected to be Russian, was discovered in the Harbour of Helsinki.
Translation provided by Marina Stronati