On April 4, 2023, the 74th anniversary of the establishment of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Finland officially became the 31st member country of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
Finland’s rapid accession to NATO, which took less than a year from the decision to the country’s acceptance into the alliance, is due to the fact that the country took most of the steps necessary for such integration back in 2007. But then the Finnish government, which throughout the second half of the 20th century followed a policy of neutrality and establishing good-neighborly and economic relations with Russia, lacked the political will. In addition, only 22% of the population of Finland supported joining NATO at that time.
The situation changed radically after the beginning of the full-scale invasion of the Russian invaders into Ukraine. In March 2022, 62% of Finns supported joining NATO and only 16% were against, 22% were undecided. This is an unprecedented figure for Finland, although by February 2023 they have increased to 82%! Sanna Marin’s government took advantage of the still open option to join the alliance and together with Sweden submitted applications to join the alliance.
Finland has become the 31st NATO country, and also the country with the largest land border with Russia, which is 1,340 km. This almost doubles NATO’s border with Russia. Before the accession of Finland, it was only 1,215 km.
As for Sweden, which applied together with Finland, it is awaiting approval from the governments of Hungary and Turkey. Turkey, among other things, demands the extradition of some dissidents it considers to be representatives of a terrorist organization. But the leadership of NATO and the government of Finland are trying with all their might to help Sweden join the alliance. This is a bit ironic, because 100 years ago it was Finland that persuaded Sweden to create a military bloc of the Scandinavian countries, primarily against the USSR, and it was Sweden that resisted. We all know what that led to in 1939.
In any case, we sincerely congratulate Finland and hope that Sweden will also join NATO very soon.