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Wednesday 15.08.2018 | Name days: Dzelde, Zenta, Zelda

Expert: Finns are not prepared to take a strict position in relation to Russia

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUFinland still seems incapable of overcoming the heritage of its ‘finlandization’ policy and neither the country’s politicians nor society are prepared to take up a strict position in regard to Russia, according to Finland’s foreign policy Research Institute senior researcher Katri Pineniemi.

Fennovoima nuclear power plant is one of the largest joint projects between Russia and Finland. It is planned to start construction in two years. More than a third of this project belongs to Russian Rosatom. The contract also provides that Rosatom will be providing fuel for the next ten years. The planned reactor type is also Russian-made, as reported by De Facto programme of LTV.

The Finnish parliament supported Fennovoima project in December 2014. Many believed the decision-making process was not transparent – the real arguments in favour of working with Rosatom remain unclear.

«Supporters of Fennovoima had initially said the reactor is meant to make us independent from the Russian energy market. Now the situation has turned upside down. Many politicians and officials believe that if we do not work with Rosatom, it will affect our relations and business ties with Russia. Whether or not it is even ethical to engage in business relations with an aggressor-state was never discussed at all. If someone does decide to talk about it, this, allegedly, hurts Russian-Finnish relations. EU sanctions do not cover the energy market. I think there was a lobby of interests of certain Finnish politicians in all this,» – says Hanna Halmenp, deputy of the Finnish parliament from Green Party.

According to Pininiemi, Fennovoima is not the only Russian-Finnish joint project. Both countries are also engaged in building ice-breaker ships at a shipyard in Helsinki.

«Finland has a sort of habit – to try and form regional cross-border projects with Russia in hopes of integrating the country in the way things are done in the EU. But this tactic seems futile, because it seems Russia lives in an illusion that the West will soon attack. We need to come up with a new policy. We mostly live with heritage left from finlandization. We just do not communicate matters in relation to Russia to our society; we do not talk or debate about them. I am certain we can overcome this – it is a matter of time,» – said Pineniemi.

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