NATO Expansion: Harmful Or Peaceful?

With NATO expansion being the so called leading cause of the Ukrainian-Russo war, will Sweden and Finland get the same response from Russia?

Mason Tillott, Reporter

On February 24, Russia declared a special military operation in Ukraine. The reason was chalked up to two things: one being that they wanted to get rid of a “fascist leadership” despite the fact the man leading the country is Jewish and the second reason and what most people believe is the reason is NATO expansion. However, there are two Nordic countries that aren’t afraid of challenging this, Sweden and Finland.

Russia and Sweden have had a long history with Finland having a shorter but more modern history of conflicts with Russia. Sweden and Russia battled against each other from the 1500s to the 1800s with one famous Swedish leader, Charles the XII, almost capturing Moscow. After the unfortunate death of Charles the XII at Fredrickstein, never again would Sweden take Russian land, only lose their own.

Finland was a part of Sweden until being taken by Russia in 1809. Finland was finally given freedom in 1919 when the Russian Empire was dissolved during the Russian Revolution. In 1939 though Finland was invaded by the Soviet Union to gain access to some of their terrority for the defense of St Petersburg , however, due to being unable to fight a prolonged war, Finland finally ended their war with Russia, with Russia taking various territories. However WWII was still going on and so too did the feeling of vengeance from the Finnish. Finland and Germany invaded Russia in 1941, the war ended with Finland gaining nothing in 1944, only achieving to get the soviets to give some land back 10 years later.

However, the situation today cannot be told by just what happened years ago. Finland and Sweden both believe not being in NATO is too much more of a risk than not being in. Russia has warned about NATO on their borders, but will they respond if NATO lets Sweden and Finland in? Well, Russia has said what their response will be already. “There can be no more talk of any nuclear–free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” said Dmitry Medvedev, a Russian official and ally to Putin. The response came after talk began to be heard about the membership

As of April 26, Finland and Sweden have decided to submit their applications at the same time. However, it is unknown when the application will come in. We can only hope though NATO brings the countries in soon for peace and security even in the farthest north of Europe.