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Military reservists to be told what their post would be in "crisis situation"

A mail-out to 900,000 former conscripts in Finland began being publicised on Monday, with a TV announcement reminding reservists that "conscription is the cornerstone of Finland's defence capability". The defence minister denied that the move has any link to worsening relations with Russia.

Mies lukee kirjettä.
A still from the Defence Forces announcement telling reservists that "We want to have a word with you" Image: Puolustusvoimat

Finland’s armed forces began broadcasting an announcement on Yle television from Monday, telling the nation’s reservists that “We want to have a word with you,” and reminding them that “conscription is the cornerstone of Finland’s defence capability.”

The ad accompanies a mass mail-out campaign, in which a letter will be sent to each of Finland’s 900,000 reservists next month, informing them which post they would be given in a crisis situation. The letter also asks them to send in up-to-date details of their whereabouts.

Earlier this month Defence Minister Carl Haglund denied that the campaign has anything to do with the country’s worsening relations with Russia, nor with the crisis in Ukraine.

“Many reservists are interested to know which role they would have, and they’re motivated to be a part of this country’s defence work. Therefore it’s good that we can give them regular information about what’s planned for them,” he said.

Haglund said the mail-out was decided upon in 2013, following recommendations made by a 2010 Defence Forces review, which suggested keeping closer contact with the country’s former conscripts.

He refused to speculate on how Russia may interpret the move, and on any possible response. “The aim of this isn’t to give out sort of message at all [to Russia],” Haglund said.

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