Finnish radical nationalists show their Russophilia
2018-04-15 13:53:23 -
World News


Finnish radical nationalists show their Russophilia
Panu Höglund
It was as far back as 2002 I had my first hunch that Russia was providing some kind of support to the radical right in Finland. 
At that time, Finnish radical nationalists weren’t so much interested in asylum seekers as they were in the Swedish language, or its co-official status. They weren’t able to fight the influence of Sweden without turning to the other neighbour. 
Thus, Russian nationalist motifs became common in the propaganda of Finnish nationalist radicals. One of them even said to me back then that ”Russia had never invaded Finland”. That was something no nationalist Finn would ever have said when I was young. 
Around the turn of the century, however, Russian nationalists told us the Soviet Union was an anti-Russian state based on the western philosophy of communism, and that it was led by Jews; Russian nationalism is very entangled with anti-semitism. 
If a Finnish nationalist said in 2002 that Russia had not invaded Finland in 1939, it meant that just like the Russian nationalists, he did not see the Soviet Union as a Russian state. As such, Russia was having an intellectual influence on Finnish nationalists, which was something very unexpected at that time.
When I was so bold as to disclose this fact to my readers in 2007, when I was a paid blogger on the media portal, right-wing radicals declared war against me, attacking me and trying in all possible ways to get me sacked, in which they eventually did succeed. 
Today, however, the very same story is repeated by all media outlets, and more than one politician of the former True Finns party, the party of the extremist right, quite happy to admit their Russian and Putinist sympathies. Above all, the party chairman Jussi Halla-aho declared, after the poisoning of ex-spy Sergey Skripal and his daughter, that Russia should not be accused too lightheartedly. 
Thus encouraged, two parliamentarians of the party, Tom Packalén and Juho Eerola, addressed the media, both defending Russia, denying Russia’s responsibility, and expressing dislike for the trade sanctions against Russia. Eerola even compared the Crimean occupation with Karelia, the eastern part of Finland which after the war was annexed to the Soviet Union. ”We lost Karelia, but we had good trade relations with Russians after the war,” he said. 
In the end, Halla-aho found it necessary to issue a pastoral letter to the party’s members to put an end to this bout of Russophilia, but he was too late. The media were already at it, suggesting that the party had followed the suit of similar parties in Europe which had already turned Russophile.
Panu Höglund is a Finn who writes in Irish.


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