Photo: Plann

Finland in the world press

Here is a selection of what the international press has published about Finland in the last week:

Increased Russian GPS jamming hits signals in Baltics, Finland

Russia’s increasing attempts of jamming Global Positioning System (GPS) signals affecting Baltic and Finland region has been covered in an article in Bloomberg on June 7.

The article provides details of how pilots flying in the Baltic region and Finland have been forced to use alternative navigation methods after Russia intensified its efforts to jam GPS signals in response to a series of drone attacks.

GPS signals across most of Estonia have been hit by interference in recent days, according to the country’s transportation agency. While air traffic has been impacted, ground signals are still functioning despite the jamming. The source of the jamming is believed to be the Leningrad region in Russia, which borders Estonia and includes the city of St. Petersburg.

Jamming GPS signals is one of the possible measures of the Russian Federation to ensure the protection of important facilities within their country,” Estonia’s Defense Ministry told Bloomberg. “In such cases, situations may arise where the jamming of signals also affects the use of GPS in nearby areas,” the ministry said.

Finland’s air traffic control has stated that aircraft in the country are utilizing alternative navigation systems due to the increased Russian jamming of GPS signals. However, the commercial flights in Finland have not been disrupted as a result of the jamming.

The source of the jamming is believed to be the Leningrad region in Russia, which borders Estonia and includes the city of St. Petersburg. The increased jamming coincides with a wave of drone attacks in Russia, including an incident that caused a fire at an oil refinery and the largest attack on Moscow since the Ukrainian conflict began.

Original story was published by Bloomberg on 07.06.2023 and can be found here.

‘War on rich’ or ‘Attempt at equality’, as Finland issues fines in proportion to income

This opinion piece about a recent incident where a millionaire in Finland received a $130,000 ticket for speeding was published in on June 7. The article discusses Finland’s practice of issuing fines in proportion to income and explores the debate surrounding this approach.

The article mentions that laws and fines serve both practical and psychological purposes, reminding citizens of their responsibilities and reinforcing the social contract. It highlights that supporters of proportional fines argue that they promote fairness and address wealth disparities, while detractors question whether such measures merely hide underlying wealth inequality or are symbolic gestures to appease public anger.

“Also age old accusations that have a tinge of socialist theories still abound. The unearned profits based on the efforts of poorer workers are seen as unjust. It is not fair that one puts in less effort and gets a bigger chunk of the profit. Adding insult to injury are the many cases of tax evasion that the rich undertake. All these make even such small concessions as a hike in speeding fine a cause of celebration,” the article reads.

The article emphasizes that regardless of income, everyone should be subject to the same laws, and making laws flexible based on wealth status could undermine the social agreement.

Original story was published by on 07.06.2023 and can be found here.

Sweden, Finland’s about-face on NATO membership was years in the making

This article about how Finland and Sweden had been preparing for NATO membership, aligning their militaries with NATO standards through joint missions was published in Wall Street Journal on June 8. It delves into the details of what happened behind the scenes over the years as the countries advanced towards NATO despite initial hesitance due to concerns over antagonizing Russia.

Sweden’s opposition to NATO membership was rooted in ideological and antiwar grounds, while Finland’s concerns were related to national security. However, as public and political opinion shifted, both countries decided to join NATO.

The Swedish and Finnish militaries were already aligned with NATO standards due to their participation in joint missions over the past three decades. The shift in opinion and subsequent membership applications were responses to Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. However, some Swedish politicians acknowledged underestimating Russia’s potential for aggression in the region, with the sentiment being shared across the political spectrum.

“When the decision to apply for membership was made, I think the public, and also the political leadership, was surprised that Finland was so ready,” Jarmo Lindberg, a former Finnish chief of defense, said.

The article also highlights that advocates for NATO membership had faced criticism. However, public sentiment for joining NATO bolstered quicker than politicians after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Finnish public support soared from around 20% before the war to 82% when the country formally applied.

“It wasn’t the political elite that took Finland into NATO. It was the public that pushed the elite to change its opinion,” Alexander Stubb, the Finnish ex-prime minister, said.

Original story was published by Wall Street Journal on 08.06.2023 and can be found here.

TikTok greatly influenced Finland’s latest elections: survey

This article about TikTok’s significant influence on Finland’s April elections was published in Euractiv on June 6. The article explores the role of social media, especially TikTok, as a crucial political tool in April elections, where many young voters, particularly in the 18-30 age group, voted in favor of the populist and nationalistic Finns Party, which emerged as a close second and is now part of the four-way coalition negotiations.

The revelation is based on a survey by consultancy company Miltton. Approximately 70% of first-time voters in the 18-21 age group reported seeing political advertising on TikTok. The short duration of TikTok videos necessitates the expression of complex issues in a simple and energetic manner, which aligns well with the style of the Finns Party.

The survey indicates that 27% of 18-30-year-olds who participated in the survey voted for the populist party, significantly higher than the percentage for other parties. Among those who voted for the Finns Party, approximately 62% stated that TikTok messaging influenced their decision due to the party’s ability to present content in an easily understandable format. In comparison, only 14% of the same age group voted for the election winner, the National Coalition Party, and only 10% voted for the Social Democrats.

This trend of right-leaning communication appealing to younger voters has also been observed in other European countries such as Italy and Sweden.

Original story was published by Euractiv on 06.06.2023 and can be found here.

Weather tracker: Finland experiences coldest June on record

Finland experiencing the lowest June temperature on record, reaching -7.7°C at a weather station in Lapland on June 1, was covered in an article in The Guardian on June 5. The article provides details of this rare occurrence of such low temperature in June in Finland.

Although northern Finland had seen winter temperatures reach as low as -51.5°C, but the last time Lapland saw a minimum temperature of -7°C in June was on June 3, 1962.

This unseasonably cold weather was caused by a large area of high pressure to the west of Finland, blocking the usual flow of weather systems. The high pressure allowed polar air to flow in from the north, resulting in the cold temperatures.

The cold is expected to continue for some time, but the high pressure is gradually shifting eastward, allowing warmer conditions to return.

Original story was published by The Guardian on 05.06.2023 and can be found here.