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Thursday's papers: Finland weighs implications of Trump presidency

On Thursday Finnish newspapers were filled with reactions to Donald Trump's victory in the race for US President.

20161110_THURSDAY_PAPERS
Image: Yle

Leaders' blurbs

International relations policies which Trump may implement are still largely unknown, but like most leaders around the world on Wednesday, President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Juha Sipilä congratulated him on the win. 

Finland's biggest daily Helsingin Sanomat asked party leaders, politicians and a former president how Trump's win could eventually affect relations between the US and Finland.

Foreign Minister and Finns Party chair Timo Soini, who - much like Trump - rose to power on a populist, status quo-sceptic platform, was quoted by HS saying that he doesn't think a Trump presidency will have a significant impact on bilateral relations between the two countries.

Soini said the biggest effects on Finland that President-elect Trump potentially could cause would be eventual changes to US trade policy, the paper writes.

International peace negotiator, Nobel Peace Prize winner and former Finnish President Martti Ahtisaari did not want to speculate about whether a Trump presidency means Finland would be forced to decide whether to ally itself with the US or Russia.

Ahtisaari underscored that it needs to be made clear to the incoming administration that the United Nations Security Council is charged with and needs to be allowed to resolve world conflicts. 

Opposition party Left Alliance chair Li Andersson said Trump's stances on foreign policy were not clarified during the campaign and said it is difficult to assess what effects his presidency will have on US relations with Finland, the paper writes.

Laurén: Kremlin pleased

There was quite a bit of talk about Russia during the US presidential race. Finland's biggest Swedish-language daily Hufvudstadsbladet's Russian correspondent Anna-Lena Laurén said Russian leaders were gloating about Trump's victory.

Laurén spoke with Russian Sergei Markov - a political analyst and, according to Laurén, one of hundreds of Putin's so-called personal trustees - who said that Trump's win proves one thing: "Russia was right that Americans approve of Russian President Vladimir Putin's politics."

Laurén says that Markov was very pleased with Trump's election.

"This is a lesson for Europe," Markov said. "Russo-phobia does not win votes. Those who voted for Trump were ordinary, normal citizens in small towns who believe in God and who don't think people should live on welfare. It was the same people who voted for Brexit."

Putin made headlines after Trump's victory was announced. One of the first world leaders to send his congratulations to the billionaire candidate, he said that Russia was prepared to fully restore US relations with the incoming administration, according to the paper.

"Our relations have worsened so much that it won't be easy," Putin is quoted saying. "But we are prepared to do our part. Sustainable relations between Russia and the US are good for the world's overall climate and good for global stability."

But Laurén writes that some Russian analysts say that there's no guarantee that Putin and Trump would actually get along in the long run.

US Ambassador: "Stunning news"

Ilta-Sanomat writes that in a speech at the US Embassy in Helsinki, the current US Ambassador to Finland, Charles C. Adams characterised Trump's victory as "stunning news" on Wednesday.

His overall reaction was diplomatic, praising the democratic process and peaceful transition of power. He said that Trump's previously-stated positions on NATO, Russia, Ukraine and the Crimean Peninsula could mean change is in the air as far as international security issues are concerned.

Adams' tenure in Finland will come to an end with the arrival of the new administration next January, the paper writes.

Fmr US Ambassador somewhat less diplomatic

Former US Ambassador to Finland, Bruce Oreck - who chose to stay in Finland after his tenure at the helm of the US Embassy in Helsinki - reacted to with a two-word Facebook update towards the end of Election Day when it seemed inevitable that Trump would win, according to Ilta-Sanomat.

"Oh F**k," he wrote.

Elaborating in another post, Oreck wrote:

"Sitting here in DC in total, absolute shock. Looks like Trump will win, the Republicans will hold control of the House, the Senate and therefore also Supreme Court appointments. There are no words ...."

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