Russian expert: Collapse of USSR pushed Scandinavians towards NATO
    Alexander Nosovich for Caliber.Az

    INTERVIEWS  05 July 2022 - 14:43

    Huseyn Safarov

    The accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO will be critical for Russia only if it will be followed by militarization according to the standards of the alliance as happened with Poland and Baltic States in 1999 and 2004 respectively.

    Alexander Nosovich, Russian political analyst and editor-in-chief of analytical portal shared the due opinion in a conversation with Caliber.Az.

    According to Nosovich, the entry of these countries into the alliance is not critical for the simple reason that they have long been developing cooperation with NATO and are not de facto neutral.

    "The shift away from the neutrality of Sweden and Finland has been taking place gradually since the collapse of the Soviet Union," the Russian political scientist stressed. - After the collapse of the USSR, neutrality for these countries became generally redundant and superfluous. And then the Scandinavian countries are very actively integrating into the Western community. In the mid-90s, Finland joined the European Union, and wherever there is an EU, there is also NATO. European integration, along with the economic and political integration at the EU level, also implies military integration at the NATO level. And if Sweden and Finland, having joined the EU, have not joined NATO, it is the exception, which only proves the rule. However, their interaction with the alliance has become deeper and more active year by year. By and large, these countries were already in the limelight of NATO. And they needed formal membership in the North Atlantic bloc after the Ukrainian factor. The fact is that before the special military operation of Russia, both Ukraine and the Scandinavian countries were integrated into NATO according to the same pattern. That is, they were becoming formal members of the alliance, but the bloc's de facto presence in these countries was expanding every year.

    NATO saw mainly benefits in this since there was a less harsh reaction from Russia, secrecy, and other such factors. But after February 24 it turned out that this tactic had a small disadvantage. The minus was that NATO, as in the case of Ukraine, could not apply Article 5 of its Charter and not engage in hostilities. If in the case of Ukraine the alliance can make such a sacrifice, in the case of Scandinavia it is a very big loss, because it is much more important to the United States and its allies than Ukraine, because it gives access to the Arctic. Therefore, it was decided to close the possibility that Russia uses the absence of their formal membership in the alliance in relation to the Scandinavians. I attribute this to the fact that Finns and Swedes were actively dragged into NATO."

    Nosovich also added that Sweden and Finland for many years actively sought NATO membership themselves, and the events of February 24 were only a pretext to legalize this process and formalize it. "Therefore, we can unambiguously say that Russia did not push Sweden and Finland to join NATO. They were pushed to it by the collapse of the Soviet Union," our interlocutor says.

    In the conclusion, the expert emphasized that one should certainly expect Russia to respond to the possible placement of a NATO military base near its borders.

    "Russian officials have already warned that militarization of Sweden and Finland after their joining NATO will entail reciprocal militarization of Russia in the Baltic Sea region, in the western military district. And since now we are talking about a military base of the alliance in the south of Finland, this measure automatically implies the strengthening of the Russian group of troops near St. Petersburg," summarized the Russian expert.



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