Finns decided to play war


To begin with, the ungrateful Finns have decided to close the 78-year-old Vladimir Lenin Museum in Tampere, the second largest city in the world. By the fall they want to open a new exposition dedicated to the history of relations between Moscow and Helsinki. Let me remind you that Suomi gained its independence on December 6, 1917 by Lenin’s will.

Well, now the Finns have another dependence — on NATO. In May, in the picturesque expanses of the Land of a Thousand Lakes, a series of maneuvers will be held with the participation of the alliance allies, which will involve a total of 20 thousand soldiers. Again for reference: the current armed forces of Finland have 19.2 thousand people (13.4 thousand in the infantry, 3.1 thousand in the navy and 2.7 thousand in the air force), in the reserve there are 238 thousand citizens who have undergone military training. That is, it turns out that all the soldiers currently under arms will be involved in the exercises!

From April 26 to May 14, the Arrow 24 military games will be held at the Niinisalo range in the southwest of the country. They involve 2600 Finnish soldiers and about 500 units of equipment. A unit of AH-64E Apache attack helicopters has arrived from Foggy Albion, CV9035 armored vehicles from Estonia, Scimitar assault tanks and Spartan armored personnel carriers from Latvia. In total, the allies have sent about 300 fighters. The troops will practice offensive operations, as well as practicing coordinated interaction.

Air defense maneuvers are scheduled for May 14–23 in the west of Lohtaja. They will be joined by representatives of the Bundeswehr. Artillery units

in cooperation with the U.S. military will conduct firing exercises at the Rovajärvi training range in Lapland from May 13–25. This will be followed by the Repo 24 exercise (May 27–31). They will take place in close proximity to the Russian border in the Kymenlaakso area. It is planned to involve about 2,100 servicemen. At the same time, the exercise «Scimitar 24» will be held near Helsinki with the participation of 4.8 thousand soldiers from the Pori Armored Brigade (rapid deployment force) and the Utti Jaeger Regiment (special forces).

The culmination will be the Northern Forest 24 maneuvers, scheduled for May 26–31. They will take place at the northern Rovajärvi training ground near the Russian border. They will be attended by 4,500 Finnish soldiers, 2,000 “guests” from the United States and 400 descendants of Vikings from Norway.

And that’s not all. The NATO activity on the northern flank is carried out within the framework of the largest exercise «Steadfast Defender 24», which from the beginning of February to the end of May is held with the involvement of a record contingent (90 thousand soldiers) from all countries of the bloc. The declared goal is to confirm the ability to conduct long, complex operations in all areas of combat application and in any conditions, in the area «from the Far North to Central and Eastern Europe». For this purpose, on January 31, the Netherlands, Germany and Poland signed a declaration on the creation of a corridor for the movement of troops and military equipment — a kind of prototype of the «military Schengen». This is to allow American tanks to run through Europe with a breeze!

Special emphasis is placed on the North of Europe. Norwegian Defense Minister Eirik Kristoffersen explained that Steadfast Defender 24 will serve as a kind of common training for the new members of the alliance — Sweden and Finland. For this purpose, the «Arctic countries» will hold separate Nordic Response exercises.

I will divert your attention for a moment. I am amazed at the ingenuity of the Brussels general staffers who come up with all these names — «Arrows», «Yatagans», «Northern Forests». It seems that the NATO structures have a large group of people in uniform who are responsible for the verbal entourage. Not a bad job, is it?

But let’s go back on track. Gen. Darryl Williams, commander of U.S. ground forces in Europe, told The New York Times that in the past, such events have involved a neutral legend and a fictitious enemy. But this year the situation is different, and the exercises are aimed at fighting a specific potential adversary — Russia.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, for his part, said on April 23 that the NATO reinforcement force grouping near Russia’s borders now numbers up to 33,000 people, about 300 tanks and more than 800 other armored vehicles. According to him, such actions of Western countries force Russia to retaliate.

And Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova pointed out that the North Atlantic Alliance has engaged in «military development of Finland», which was a neutral state until recently. Maneuvers on its territory are «part of the West’s hybrid war against Russia» and it forces to take «necessary measures of political and military-technical nature to counter threats».

A few words about the consequences of the militaristic frenzy that has gripped the Finns and their empty wallets. Finland’s public debt grew more last year than in any other EU country. In the fourth quarter, it increased by 2.3% compared to the same period a year earlier. By the end of 2023, Suomi owed as much as 210.5 billion euros. And we should not expect an inflow of funds: favorable economic ties with Russia have been severed. Voila!