Former General: "They wouldn’t dare come here"

Former Defence Forces Commander, retired General Gustav Hägglund, said that Finland should look to its defence, however, he does not believe that that the country has reason for concern. He was one of three experts in an Yle discussion Wednesday morning on Russia's latest moves and their impact on great-power politics and on Finland.

Gustav Hägglund. Image: Yle

During the discussion, which touched upon the political and security issues around recent events in Crimea, General Hägglund said that he doesn't believe that Finland has reason to worry.

"They wouldn’t dare come here. They know that they'd get a bloody nose. We stand by our historic achievements. We have a different background than Eastern European countries that were conquered and occupied," Hägglund stated. "This is a tough nut to crack, this Finland."

Soviet Union "light"

The Finnish experts gathered for the discussion saw in the Ukraine crisis attempt to reclaim Russian grandeur and internal order.

"The Russian president has put a seal on a lifetime presidency. A shift is underway from authoritarianism towards dictatorship," said journalist Jarmo Koponen. 

"A move has been made towards a light version of the Soviet Union. This has internal political support. In a situation when the ruble was falling and there were cross-currents of internal pressures, a victorious little war is the best medicine," Russian-watcher and journalist Leena Liukkonen added.

Kosovo different

Liukkonen noted that in his speech on Tuesday, President Putin listed all the injustices against Russia since the end of the Cold War. Putin has also consistently compared the situation in Crimea to that in Kosovo.

"Some kind of new global political architecture is now being created that is known to no one. It is sure that he himself [President Putin] cannot precisely know," said Liukkonen.

She pointed out, however, that the Kosovo conflict had been under way for a long time before NATO intervened.

"No neighbouring country took over Kosovo and integrated it into its territory. These are things that should be remembered in this debate," Leena Liukkonen pointed out.