Minna Ålander 🌻 Profile picture
Research Assistant @SWP_Europe. After 10 years in Germany, drifting into Nordic security & defence. From the Arctic circle. 🇫🇮🇩🇪🇪🇺 I bash everyone equally
A. T. 🇺🇦🇪🇺🇫🇮 Profile picture Paweł Małecki Profile picture Hai Nguyen Profile picture Titanium Gold Profile picture 5 added to My Authors
May 21 5 tweets 1 min read
I was recently asked in an interview for a German media whether Finland could end up withdrawing its NATO application because the stakes are rising too high re: Russia cutting off electricity & natural gas supply to Finland.

Nothing could be further from the reality The fact that I keep having to explain elementary facts about Finland and esp Finnish security policy also tells volumes about a massive lack of knowledge in 🇩🇪 about its northern neighbourhood. I wonder if Germans have by now realised that Germany is also at the Baltic Sea ?
May 21 5 tweets 2 min read
Update on Russia’s decision to stop the natural gas flow to Finland this morning:

There’s actually nothing to update on. Some headlines in the morning, other than that life goes on. No disruptions reported anywhere. Any impact more likely to be seen in the long term. This is big news though: “Gasgrid Finland Oy and US-based Excelerate Energy, Inc. signed a ten-year lease agreement for the LNG terminal ship Exemplar on 20 May 2022. The vessel will safeguard Finland’s security of supply”
May 20 4 tweets 1 min read
Again a bit misleading framing. Fennovoima’s cancellation of the contract with Rosatom has nothing to do with Finland joining NATO but with Russia’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine.

Russia cutting off energy exports to Finland was expected to happen anyways this month The Rosatom nuclear power plant contract was highly controversial back in 2014 and the Greens even left the government over the issue. The project was pending final govt approval since 2015. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine was simply the last blow
May 20 7 tweets 2 min read
It’s official: Russia will turn off the natural gas tap to Finland tomorrow morning due to disagreement over Moscow’s rouble payment scheme.

Still no reason to panic, Finland has been preparing for this and it will not cause any major disruptions. Gasum CEO Mika Wiljanen says “we have been carefully preparing for this situation and provided that there will be no disruptions in the gas transmission network, we will be able to supply all our customers with gas in the coming months”
May 20 5 tweets 1 min read
The exact % of Russian natural gas deliveries has been quite hard to find out - it depends a bit if you count only the share that comes directly from Russia to Finland or also the share of Russian origin gas that comes through the Balticconnector from Estonia. So far I’ve come across numbers putting the share at only 67% in 2020 but 92% in 2021. In any case the idea is correct - Finland has been importing most of its natural gas from Russia. And it’s only ~5% of the energy mix.
May 19 8 tweets 2 min read
While the Kremlin’s statements have been pretty tame on Finland, apparently 🇷🇺MFA Spokesperson Zakharova has started picking on Sweden in a Facebook post, claiming there wouldn’t be a societal consensus on the country’s NATO membership (citing the Left Party & Greens’ opposition) This is the post & as a disclaimer, I don’t read Russian so I relied on a translation and a Russian-speaking friend here:
May 18 4 tweets 1 min read
Breaking: the Nordic energy company Gasum reports that “it is likely that imports of natural gas from Russia to Finland will cease either late on Friday, May 20 or on Saturday, May 21, 2022” - no confirmation from the Russian side yet
gasum.com/en/About-gasum… Like with Russia cutting off electricity exports to Finland last Saturday, this will hardly become a big problem - gas is mainly used in some industries in 🇫🇮 and companies have had several months to prepare by now. One more reminder: share of gas in 🇫🇮 energy mix is only ~5%
May 18 9 tweets 2 min read
Now that Sweden and Finland handed in their NATO applications in Brussels, some background info about how it came to the historic U-turns (and why there’s actually a strong element of continuity): In Finland, the NATO debate has been ongoing ever since Finland joined the EU in 1995. The Finnish approach to security has always been a pragmatic one: whatever option maximises Finland’s security is the right one. Nothing ideological about it.
May 17 4 tweets 1 min read
Ok wow. According to Reuters, Lavrov has said that Finland & Sweden joining NATO doesn’t matter much because the “allegedly neutral” countries were anyways already in close cooperation with the alliance.

So Russia is basically giving their blessing to 🇫🇮&🇸🇪 NATO bid Finnish Defence Forces also report that it’s very peaceful at the border and there’s hardly any activity on the Russian side to be detected because Russian troops are tied in Ukraine.

Finland’s NATO accession could go even smoother than expected
May 16 4 tweets 2 min read
The Erdogan saga continues: after Niinistö, also PM Marin says she is confused about Erdogan’s renewed opposition to 🇫🇮&🇸🇪 NATO bid.

If I still follow Erdogan on this:
Saturday - against
Sunday - not against but with conditions
Monday - against The main opposition re: Sweden seems to be the alleged support of PKK, which I understand to be on the grounds that Sweden has received quite a lot of Kurdish refugees and some Swedish MPs have Kurdish roots
May 16 4 tweets 1 min read
BREAKING: according to AFP, Putin said 🇫🇮&🇸🇪 NATO membership is not a direct threat to Russia. Arms buildup in the region would require a response though.

This is incredibly tame, seems that President Niinistö’s gut feeling was right after his call with P on Saturday So everyone can calm down now. Finland and Sweden were anyways already a lost cause to Russia since they joined the EU in 1995.
May 15 8 tweets 2 min read
Some important things to know about Finnish defence capabilities and why Finland now wants to join NATO:

Finland does NOT want to outsource its defence to NATO. Suggesting that is basically an insult. It’s a matter of pride to many Finns to be able to stand up to Russia. 1/8 NATO membership is an additional insurance that makes the threshold of any military action against Finland as high as possible. But national defence will always remain a priority to Finland. In President Niinistö’s words: NATO membership won’t change geography. 2/
May 15 6 tweets 2 min read
Press conference by President @niinisto & PM @MarinSanna:

Niinistö says “a new era begins” - Finland will seek NATO membership. He then continues in Swedish: “it was previously said [in Sweden] that Finland’s cause is ours. Now it can be said that Sweden’s cause is ours too.” Niinistö continues to emphasise the democratic (bottom-up) nature of the process and that Finland maximising its security is not a zero-sum game.

Marin: the historic decision will have a strong mandate in the society and the parliament
May 15 5 tweets 2 min read
According to 🇫🇮&🇸🇪 news sources, a race seems to be ensuing between Finland and Sweden on who will manage to submit their NATO application first.

Little brother Sweden is catching up !

🏁🏁 🇫🇮 President & PM will give their official recommendation to apply today, which will be debated in Parliament tomorrow. The application could be sent to Brussels straight away if the debate goes fast but 🇫🇮 Foreign Minister estimated yesterday it’ll take until Wednesday
May 14 4 tweets 1 min read
*in Kelis voice*

My viral thread brings all the trolls to the yard 🎶

I wish I could debunk at least some of the weird stuff going on in the comments but unfortunately no chance. This was to be expected once 🇫🇮 decides to apply for NATO though. Stay critical, everyone ! It’s lovely to see that so many people from all over the world stan Finland but please understand that Finland will never attempt to regain historical borders and lost territory.

That narrative is very unhelpful. Our very capable defence forces are solely for defence purposes.
May 14 8 tweets 2 min read
Since many people know nothing about Finland, jump on click bait headlines and retweet without checking facts, here a short overview of the things Russia has threatened Finland with so far & what their consequences are/would be: 1. Cutting electricity exports as of today

No problem, thanks to a new nuclear power plant + wind power Finland will soon be self-sufficient and even a net exporter. Finland used to import ~10% from Russia. Sweden & the Baltics can compensate for any short-term shortages.
May 13 4 tweets 1 min read
“You know, Emmanuel, maybe we could do a group call with Vladimir next time. Do you think he uses Zoom ?” Quite a big contrast to this.

Btw the filters used on these pictures make them look like stills from a film called “Last Spring in Kyiv” or something
May 13 4 tweets 2 min read
Well said @adleande in @POLITICOEurope. That’s exactly the effect Russian threats have on the Finns: they just boost the support for NATO membership.

The Kremlin’s statement was very much along the expected lines & it was actually surprising that no incidents happened yesterday. Finns when they hear yet another threat from the Kremlin:
May 12 6 tweets 1 min read
Some insights from Finnish analyses on the 🇫🇮 NATO process:

Feb 24 marked a “to be or not to be” (NATO member) moment, the hitherto non-committal closest possible cooperation became inadequate under the changed circumstances 1/6 PM Marin going from “unlikely that 🇫🇮 will seek NATO membership during my term of office” in January to “we should apply asap” today is indicative of the pragmatic approach to security policy: the best alternative for national security is always priority, not ideology. 2/6
May 11 4 tweets 2 min read
Result of Boris Johnson’s visit to Helsinki today:

He & Finnish President Niinistö signed this bilateral statement on mutual assistance (incl military) 🇫🇮🇬🇧

Tomorrow, Niinistö & PM Marin will announce their positions on NATO. Application expected next week. 🇫🇮 is ready Image Full statement here:
Apr 16 9 tweets 2 min read
I personally totally understand how big #Zeitenwende is for Germans. A lot of broken taboos to digest, i.e. huge increases in defence spending, delivering weapons to a conflict party (and even the Greens support it), Habeck making energy deals in Quatar… However, many of these things are only big domestically.

Stepping up defence spending is basically just catching up with what Germany was supposed to do anyways as NATO member.

Ukraine is not just any conflict party.

Entirely relying on Russian energy was a mistake, yes.