Finland and Sweden Joining NATO: Consequences for Russia's National Security

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2023-67-10-19-29
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
A. Chechevishnikov,
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.
Moscow State Institute of International Relations, The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation (MGIMO University), 76, Vernadskogo Prosp., Moscow, 119454, Russian Federation.

Received 30.04.2023. Revised 26.05.2023. Accepted 26.07.2023.

Acknowledgements. The article has been supported by a grant of the Russian Science Foundation. Project no. 20-78-10159 “The Phenomenon of Strategic Culture in World Politics: Specifics of Influence on Security Policy (On the Example of the States of the Scandinavian-Baltic Region)”.

Abstract. The accession of Finland and, in the foreseeable future, Sweden to NATO shapes a new strategic and international political reality in the Scandinavian-Baltic region. The “Nordic balance” and the idea of this space as a “region of eternal peace” are irretrievably becoming the things of the past, posing a set of new challenges and threats to the Russian Federation. Russia has always taken into account the gradual withdrawal of Sweden and Finland from the policy of neutrality/non-alignment and their transformation into de facto associate members of NATO, although considered the threat of formal Alliance’s northern expansion as insignificant in the short and medium term. However, it is obvious that since February 2022, the arguments of doubling the length of Russia’s border with the alliance and the compelled military-technical response in this case have ceased to be considered in Sweden and Finland as significant in foreign policy and defense planning. The purpose of the article is to analyze the current security situation in the Scandinavian-Baltic region, scenarios for the accession of Finland and Sweden to the North Atlantic Alliance, and possible consequences for Russia. The methodological basis of the article is scenario analysis. The first and the most likely scenario assumes more active relations with the Alliance (increase in the number and scale of military exercises, strengthening of the eastern border of Finland, expansion of the Baltic Air Policing mission to Finland, etc.) without a significant increase in military deployment and infrastructure. Two other scenarios, which are possible with the further deterioration of the European security system, allow the deployment of nuclear weapons in the region as the last resort, although this seems extremely unlikely today. However, even in the case of accession in accordance with the first scenario, the Russian Federation might face a whole range of threats and challenges, including, but not limited to, the deployment of missile defense infrastructure and nuclear-capable weapon systems, an improvement of the conditions for strengthening the NATO’s military activities in the Arctic, the possibility of transferring a large amount of Sovietdesigned military equipment to Ukraine by Finland, etc.

Keywords: Finland, Sweden, NATO, Scandinavian-Baltic region, military non-alignment, NATO membership, European security system, Russia’s national security


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For citation:
Chekov A., Vorotnikov V., Chechevishnikov A., Yakutova U. Finland and Sweden Joining NATO: Consequences for Russia's National Security. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2023, vol. 67, no. 10, pp. 19-29. EDN: MLEMOR

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