31 / 08 / 2023

Finland and Sweden need more long-term perspective thinking

Niklas Eklund, key speaker on Thursday at the Kvarken Council’s event during Wasa Future Festival, criticized the Nordic countries for not knowing what Russia is doing in the Arctic.

Niklas Eklund, Professor of Politics and Public Administration at the Department of Political Science at Umeå University pointed out that geopolitics has a lot to say about our situation. The first thing that determines our situation long-term is that Finland and Sweden are situated just north of the Central European plain, which is the old way of getting to Russia from the west.

The other relevant geopolitical context is the Arctic. Eklund argued that it’s very problematic that we don’t have a clue what Russia is doing in the Arctic. Russia has been taken out of all the diplomatic cooperation in the Arctic, and America is disinterested in that part of the world. Finland and Sweden think of the Arctic more in terms of the environment and climate change.

– We know that Russia is militarizing the Artic very heavily. Are they as the huge power that they still are, regardless of what’s happening on the ground in Ukraine, thinking about what to do next in the Arctic? We can no longer assume stability and control.

Eklund criticized Finland and Sweden for thinking about the future only one period of parliament at a time.

– What Finland and Sweden must do in terms of security now and in the future, is that we need to do a little bit more of what the Russians are doing right now; they think more long-term than we do.

Eklund stated that if we want to make sure that we can defend Finland and other peninsulas, we must build something that takes into consideration the immense complexity of the Arctic.

– I think it’s a good idea to do what the Chinese are doing currently; let’s do something infrastructurally that brings people here, increases the population, and makes the infrastructure solid in peacetime. Why not build a bridge?

Watch the streaming HERE
Read the other texts about Wasa Future Festival HERE, HERE, and HERE