Rinne and his new government leaving a press conference on Thursday (Image: Lehtikuva)

MUCH OF THIS WEEK’S international coverage of Finland concerned the formation of the national government, which will be bringing the first left-wing prime minister in over 20 years into power. 

Much of the coverage from major publications concerned the progressive and ambitious policy proposals of the incoming government, as well as the fact that the majority of the cabinet is female.  

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An action shot from the recent World Hockey Championships, where Finland took first place (Image: Lehtikuva)

FINLAND CAPTURED THE ATTENTION of sports desks around the world this week following their stunning victory at the world hockey championship finals in Bratislava. Much of the focus was on how Finland managed to beat firm favourites Canada despite not having a single NHL player on their roster, something which has only happened once before in the history of the tournament.  

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Deforestation in Eastern Finland (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE WIDELY-SHARED ARTICLE in the world press this week came from a popular science magazine which revealed that despite Finland’s efforts to fight climate change, the country is actually warming up at double the global average rate. They also interviewed Finland’s former environment minister to get her thoughts on the looming ecological catastrophe.  

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Elderly people in Helsinki (Image: Lehtikuva)

IN THE AFTERMATH OF THE ELECTIONS intense coverage has been afforded to the issues that Finland’s incoming government faces. While many publications have highlighted the falling birth rate as a major concern, this week one international outlet went as far as describing Finland as ‘Europe’s Japan’, stressing that decades of ‘stagflation’ and decline lie ahead if current trends continue. 

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An article in a British newspaper argued that the UK is in need of its own Mannerheim (Image: Lehitkuva)

A WIDELY-READ ARTICLE published this week in the British newspaper The Telegraph attracted plenty of commentary for its comparison of WW2-era Finland to the current state of politics in the United Kingdom.  

The lengthy piece, written by a prominent historian, argues that the Finnish government’s response to successive crises should serve as a role model for a post-Brexit UK, concluding that the country “needs its own General Mannerheim”.  

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Pictured: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a recent NATO summit (Image: Lehtikuva)

A MAJOR NEWS STORY in the international press this week concerned Thursday’s announcement that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will be heading to Finland to participate in the 22nd annual meeting of the Arctic Council on May 7. 

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Contestants at the Finland Body Fitness Championships in Helsinki Last Week (Image: Lehtikuva)

ONE OF THE MAJOR STORIES concerning Finland in the international press this week was the revelation that it is officially the fittest country in the world, according to the latest rankings by the World Health Organization.  

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Campaign posters outside parliament on the morning after the election (image: Lehtikuva)

INTERNATIONAL COVERAGE OF FINLAND this week was dominated by the results of the national election, which saw the ruling conservative coalition lose its majority, whilst the far-right Finns Party crept up to second place.  

All of the major global news outlets have offered their own analysis of the shock results, with opinions ranging from incredulity to dismay to optimism. Some outlets focused on what the results signify about the future of EU elections and the entrenchment of far-right populists on the political scene.  

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A Finns Party campaign poster from April 2019 which echoes tactics of American neo-Nazis and the far right (Image: Lehtikuva)

INTERNATIONAL NEWS OUTLETS THIS WEEK began to take notice of the recent surge in support for the far-right Finns Party, which has seen them go from sixth to second place in the polls, closely trailing the Social Democrats by just a few percentage points. One American broadsheet described the development as evidence that ‘Trumpism’ has finally gained a foothold in Finland, whilst also suggesting that Finn’s viewpoints on migration are divorced from reality.  

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Members of the far-right hate group Nordic Resistance marching in Turku in August 2018 (Image: Lehtikuva)

A MAJOR STORY concerning Finland in the international press this week centered on an upcoming white nationalist conference in Turku, which will host prominent hate figures and neo-Nazis from the US, Ukraine, Sweden, and Russia. The conference, known as ‘Awakening II’, will feature speakers from across the spectrum of the growing right-wing “identitarian movement” in Europe.  

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Russian president Vladimir Putin with Sauli Niinistö in Savonlinna, Eastern Finland (Image: Lehtikuva)

WITH ELECTORAL CAMPAIGNING HEATING UP, the international media is beginning to focus its attention on Russia’s role in interfering with elections, and the Finnish government’s defensive response. Russia has faced allegations of using an army of “trolls” and bots to spread misinformation about electoral candidates across Europe, as part of an effort to swing public opinion toward more right-wing, pro-Russian parties.

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