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Thursday's papers: Russian propaganda, security concerns and searching for growth

Fallout from Russia's war in Ukraine is in the news in Finland on Thursday.

US soldier standing on a tank in the woods.
Pictured here: An American soldier taking part in simulated combat in Niinisalo, in the southwest, this spring. Image: Elizabeth MacPherson / AOP
Yle News

There's been an upswing of Finland-related propaganda in Russia, newspaper Helsingin Sanomat reports on Thursday. The aim is to portray Finland as an enemy, the daily explains.

The ban on Russian-registered cars that came into effect last week is the latest source of ire, with one pro-Kremlin MP telling a Russian news show that while "Finland has banned cars it hasn't said anything about tanks."

This comment led a Ukrainian ministerial adviser to take to messaging service X, formerly Twitter.

Security scenarios

Domestic outlets including Ilta-Sanomat explore what went on behind the scenes in Finland when it applied for Nato membership.

Suomen salattu tie Natoon, roughly translated as "Finland's secret path to Nato," outlines scenarios the country planned for after Russia attacked Ukraine.

Former foreign foreign minister Pekka Haavisto confirmed that some of the worst-case scenarios at that time pertained to Russia violating Finnish airspace, territorial waters or even breaching the border on land.

"How are communication lines protected? How do the underwater cables and networks function in a crisis situation if the war spreads to the Baltic Sea region, as it actually did with the explosion of the Nord Stream pipeline?" Haavisto recalled.

Haavisto also affirmed the book's assertion that Finland considered the possibility of Russia using soldiers in unmarked uniforms within Finland's borders, similar to the strategy it employed in Crimea in the spring of 2014.

Lowering expectations

Banks and research groups this fall have said Finland's economy will sink into recession this year

But what will happen next year?

On average, 2024 forecasts suggest growth of less than half a percent and 1.4 percent for the following year, explained Kauppalehti.

Volatile energy and raw material prices may pile on further inflationary pressures. The price of a barrel of oil is approaching 100 dollars, and, for example, the price of rice has risen sharply worldwide, said the business daily.

Germany and Sweden, Finland's important trading partners, are stuttering due to issues in the automotive industry and weakness in the Swedish property market. At the same time, it appears that Russia will continue to wage its war on Ukraine, dimming European growth prospects.

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