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Survey: Finns more concerned about risk of Russian invasion than three years ago

The increase is due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine as well as the general geopolitical relations between Finland and Russia, according to the interior ministry.

Pedestrians on Kluuvikatu in downtown Helsinki.
Image: Matti Myller / Yle
Yle News

A new survey has found that people in Finland believe there is an increased threat of a war of aggression in the country compared to three years ago, the interior ministry announced on Monday.

Carried out every three years for more than three decades, the ministry-commissioned survey queried around 3,000 people.

There was a 15 percentage point increase in people who think the probability of war in Finland has grown, compared to the survey carried out in 2020.

The ministry said the increase was likely due to Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine as well as the general geopolitical relations between Finland and its eastern neighbour.

Such sentiments were also reflected in questions about the need for civil defence, with nine out of ten respondents considering civil defence as a necessity for the country's security.

The survey in 2020 saw a doubling of respondents' perceptions of needing to protect the country.

"And this year the trend continued to become stronger," the ministry stated in a press release issued on Monday.

"By a clear contrast, respondents considered a pandemic less likely to take place than in 2020. Experiences of the probability of different risks varied according to the respondent's age, type of housing and gender. Male respondents regarded the probability of all risks as lower than female respondents did," the ministry said.

Emergency situations

The study was carried out by Emergency Services Academy Finland and conducted in an online panel survey. It also questioned people on their knowledge about what to do in emergency situations.

Respondents said the most important emergency preparedness measures include the use of smoke detectors as well as maintaining first aid kits and equipment on hand.

While an increasing number of people said they think keeping emergency supplies is important, only one out of six respondents were able to define what that means, according to the ministry.

"For example, only one in four Finns knew that they should be able to manage with emergency supplies for 72 hours without outside help," the ministry stated.

At the same time, nearly all of the respondents knew what the phone number to emergency services is (112), but just 10 percent of them were able to say what they should do after hearing a public warning alert.

"After hearing the public warning signal, one should stay indoors and close doors and windows, turn on the radio and wait for more detailed instructions," the ministry noted.

Around half of the respondents said they would like to be able to receive emergency situation warnings via SMS.

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