RISS expert Gleb Dovgilenko whose area of research includes Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea Region analyses the developments in Russian-Finnish relations and their prospects.
The analyst thinks that it is the neutral status that makes Helsinki a particularly important partner for Moscow. However, there are those who seek rapprochement with NATO that could shatter relations between Russia and Finland.
- So far, for Finland pros of keeping neutral status are better than the cons. For Helsinky, neutrality is fundamentally pragmatic as it allows constructive dialogue with Moscow. The Democratic Party of Finland (which is the largest party in the Parliament of Finland) and the Finns Party are opposed to Finland joining NATO. Besides, public opinion in Finland doesn't favor the non-aligned Nordic state joining NATO. More than 50% of Finns oppose NATO membership. However, there are pro-NATO parties in Finland as well: Swedish People's Party of Finland and the National Coalition Party. If the right-wing Finns Party does well in Finland's election, NATO debates in the country can be revived.
- Trade and economic cooperation between Russia and Finland is mutually beneficial. Currently, Finland develops cooperation in the field of nuclear infrastructure with Rusatom. Shipbuilding is also a promising area in Russian-Finnish cooperation.