A soldier in the woods during a winter combat training. LEHTIKUVA

Finland in the world press

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

The Ukraine war changed this company forever

The impact of the Russia - Ukraine war on Nokian Tyres and its subsequent exit from Russia was covered in an article in New York Times on July 5.

The article discusses how the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine has forced Nokian Tyres, a Finnish tire company, to change its business strategy.

Prior to the war, Nokian Tyres manufactured 80% of its tires in Russia, taking advantage of cheap energy costs. However, after the war broke out and Russia faced sanctions, the company realized it was highly exposed to geopolitical risks. As a result, Nokian Tyres decided to exit Russia and diversify its production to other locations.

The company chose Oradea, Romania, as the site for its new factory, taking into consideration factors such as membership in the European Union and NATO. The article highlights that shift in strategy reflects the increased importance of political threats and security considerations in global business decisions.

Faced with the breakdown of supply chains and transportation during the pandemic and then the Ukraine war, Nokian Tyres decided against expanding its operations in Russia and have instead opted for a diversification strategy. The company plans to localize 80% of its production, with tires for specific markets being manufactured closer to those regions. Tyres for the Nordic market will be produced in Finland, while tires for American customers will be made in the United States. Additionally, Nokian Tyres intends to establish a European factory to serve the European market.

Original story was published by The New York Times on 05.07.2023 and can be found here.

US Green Berets are looking to troops from NATO’s newest member as ‘mentors’ for harsh winter combat

This article about Finland, NATO’s newest member, drawing attention from US Green Berets as mentors for harsh winter combat was published by Insider on June 29. The article focuses on Finland’s prowess in winter warfare that even the US special-operations community is taking lessons from Finnish commandos.

Finland has a long-standing relationship with NATO and has recently become a member of the alliance. In March, US Green Berets trained with Finland’s Utti Jaeger Regiment in the Arctic, benefiting from their experience in extreme winter conditions. The regiment consists of approximately 700 professional and conscript troops and is divided into a headquarters unit and three components. The Special Jaeger Battalion, a part of the regiment, is primarily involved in special reconnaissance, direct action, and unconventional warfare missions. The battalion includes a company of paratroopers, mostly made up of conscripts, as well as a special Jaeger company consisting of professional troops.

The article also points out that the focus on Arctic warfare reflects the US Army's strategy to defend national security interests in the region and seek assistance from allies and partners in building Arctic warfare capabilities.

The article highlights that the training of US troops with Finnish forces would enhance the interoperability of NATO forces and improve the alliance's response capabilities.

Original story was published by Insider on 29.06.2023 and can be found here.

Finns ready to shoulder responsibility, reject nuclear weapons

Finnish citizens’ willingness to send the country’s troops to other NATO nations in the event of military invasion and their critical stance on nuclear weapons was covered in an article published by The Mirage on July 6. The article provides details of the report compiled by researchers from the University of Helsinki, the University of Turku, and Åbo Akademi University, which sheds light on the expectations of the Finnish population regarding their NATO membership.

The findings reveal that Finns primarily expect NATO to provide military security against the threat of Russia. They are willing to send Finnish troops to assist other NATO countries in the event of a military invasion, showcasing their readiness to shoulder the responsibility of defending allies.

The report suggests that while the attitudes towards nuclear weapons in Finland are overwhelmingly critical, there is support for the possible abolition of the demilitarization of the Åland Islands. The article highlights that the issue of setting up a NATO base in Finland and the placement of foreign troops on national territory, however, elicits divided opinions among the respondents.

The report also mentions the willingness of Finns to expand military conscription to include women and people with non-binary genders.

Original story was published by The Mirage on 06.07.2023 and can be found here.

Finland furore a cautionary tale for embracing the far right

This opinion article on the new government of Finland with politicians from far-right parties was published in The Irish Examiner on July 3. The article highlights the cautionary tale of Finland as a reminder of the potential consequences of embracing far-right politics.

The article states that the resignation of Vilhelm Junnila, the economic affairs minister and a leading member of the far-right Finns Party, has sparked controversy and threatened to split the four-party coalition government. It also emphasizes on Junnila's past statements endorsing abortions in Africa to combat climate change, along with his references to "Heil Hitler" and participation in a neo-Nazi rally, which exposed the unacceptable aims and policies of the far-right.

The incident has triggered a debate about the damage caused to Finland’s international reputation. The article also says that it serves as a reminder to voters to consider the consequences of supporting extreme ideologies.

Original story was published by The Irish Examiner on 03.07.2023 and can be found here.

Finnish customs finds illegal import of meat

Finnish authorities discovering an illegal import of meat involving large quantities of unrefrigerated meat was covered in an article by Food Safety News on July 3. The article gives details of this attempt to bring meat illegally into the country without proper documentation and health-risks arising from it.

Finnish Customs (Tulli) found that the suspect attempted to import around 500 kilograms (1,100 pounds) of fresh beef and sheep meat from Latvia via Estonia for commercial purposes without the necessary registration and food safety measures. The meat was transported without refrigeration and lacked a Salmonella certificate, posing risks to consumer safety. The case is now being investigated, and charges are being considered.

“The case is serious In terms of consumer safety. The operation has caused harm, both to the health and safety of citizens and to law-abiding operators in the food sector. The suspect has benefited financially by neglecting the cold transport approval required by the obligation to register for the food sector,” Juha Havumäki, the investigator in charge, said.

The article also mentions a report on zoonoses in Finland from 2011 to 2021, which revealed that Campylobacter and Salmonella were the most common causes of human infections, while cryptosporidiosis and Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) cases have increased in recent years.

Original story was published by Food Safety News on 03.07.2023 and can be found here.

How the tango came to Finland

This article on Tango, typically associated with Argentina, having a rich tradition in Finland was published by Deutsche Welle (DW) on July 5. The article explores how Tango has been a national passion in Finland for over a century.

The town of Seinäjoki hosts an annual festival called Tangomarkkinat, which attracts tango enthusiasts from across the country. The article states that while some Finnish tango fans believe it was invented by Finnish farmers to scare off wolves, the genre actually originated in Buenos Aires. The tango spread in Finland during the 1920s and '30s, but its real birth came during World War II when composer Toivo Kärki wrote tangos that reflected the depression and darkness prevalent in Finland.

The Finnish tango is known for its melancholic and minor key melodies, and it often features lyrics about unattainable love set in the countryside and nature. Notable Finnish tango figures include Olavi Virta, considered the uncrowned tango king, and the tango festival in Seinäjoki has become one of Finland’s biggest festivals.

Original story was published by DW on 05.07.2023 and can be found here.