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HomeBilateral RelationsBloody History: Finland Unveils Gigantic Project on Border with Russia

Bloody History: Finland Unveils Gigantic Project on Border with Russia

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Finland only recently joined NATO, when the Scandinavian country presented an oversized border fence with Russia. The region is delicate.

South Karelia – It is done: Finland has officially been a NATO member state since April 4th . The Scandinavian country with its approximately 5.5 million inhabitants pushed ahead with the accession because of the Ukraine war under high pressure.

A reaction from Moscow to the ratification of membership was not long in coming. “NATO expansion is an attack on our security and on Russia’s national interests,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told the Interfax news agency . Accordingly, Russia is forced to take countermeasures. There are now well-known threatening gestures.

Threatening gestures that are taken very seriously in Finland . Both countries finally separate a 1300 km long border. This Friday (April 14) the Scandinavians presented the first section of a gigantic border fence that the Finns are currently building out of mistrust of their unpredictable neighbors.

Making way for the border fence with Russia: an excavator near Imatra in southeastern Finland.
Making room for the border fence with Russia: an excavator near Imatra in southeastern Finland. © IMAGO/Roni Rekomaa

Border with Russia: Finland is building a 200-kilometer border fence

The first section of the three meter high fence was presented in the small Finnish town of Imatra (population around 26,000). The first three kilometers of what will later be 200 kilometers of the massively fortified fence should be completed by the summer.

A few hundred meters from the Russian border, this is additionally secured with barbed wire, night vision devices and searchlights. According to the authorities, the border fence is intended to deter possible flows of migrants controlled by Moscow.

Russia and Belarus: Managed migrant flows to the EU?

With this tactic, the Russian ally Belarus tried to put pressure on NATO and EU member Poland at the end of 2021 . Within a few months, Poland, for its part, completed a massive border fence with Belarus by summer 2022 – this runs over 187 kilometers.

Karelia

Karelia is a historical landscape in north-eastern Europe, today shared between Finland and Russia. The Russian part includes the Republic of Karelia and extends into the Leningrad Oblast, the Finnish part consists of the regions of South Karelia and North Karelia. After the October Revolution and Finland’s declaration of independence in 1917 as a former grand duchy from the Russian Empire, Karelia was the scene of bloody battles in the Finnish Civil War.

In addition, Finnish troops fought against Bolshevik Russia. With Finland’s defeat in the so-called Winter War (1939–1940), most of West Karelia fell to the Soviet Union in the Peace of Moscow.

Under construction: A 200-kilometer border fence between the new NATO member Finland and Russia, here in the Imatra section.
Under construction: A 200-kilometer border fence between the new NATO member Finland and Russia, here in the Imatra section. © IMAGO/Roni Rekomaa

On the border with Russia: Finnish fence runs through sensitive region of Karelia

The border fence in Finland, meanwhile, runs through the historically delicate region of Karelia, which both countries claimed for the last century. In the winter of 1939/40, Finnish and Soviet soldiers fought bloody battles there in the so-called Winter War . Moscow’s “Red Army” suffered considerable losses in the dense forests, but Finland still had to cede large parts of Karelia to the attackers.

Source: Merkur.de

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