This blog is for English translations of Finnish writings that could be of wider international interest – usually posted with the original authors’ express permission.

Two most popular posts so far:
1. What if Russia demands a naval base in Finland or invades a Swedish island? by Michael Moberg, James Mashiri, and Charly Salonius-Pasternak (March 2015)
2. The big role of russophile trolls in Putin’s media warfare in the West by Janne Riiheläinen (July 2014)

Excerpts of recent posts:

Missile Defense in Europe

Posted August 19, 2016

Topias Uotila:
In order to understand the meaning of the new European missile defense system in particular, one must know a few underlying facts about nuclear weapons, missiles, and geography.

The much debated US missile defense system in Romania came online this May. The US has stressed the threat of Iranian ballistic missiles, whereas Russians have felt it was a move against them.

The European ground stations as far as capability is concerned shouldn’t pose any greater threat to Russia than Navy vessels already do.

Russia feels ‘forced’ to counter the move with actions of its own.
Russia has stated that the INF treaty has become obsolete because of the new NATO bases. According to the argument this doesn’t work anymore when a flight from Estonia to bomb St Petersburg takes only 10 minutes. Some have voiced suspicions that Russia itself could be developing missiles specifically for the Iskander platform that would be in violation with the INF.

It seems very likely that both the US and Russia share a view of the true significance of the missile defense in Europe but choose not to say it as it is: there is a belief that the other side is already in breach of the INF treaty.

read it all


Open letter to published media

Posted June 15, 2016

Elina Lepomäki:
I never felt that I was given any disadvantage or advantage because of my gender – until I entered the political arena.

I had been known as an expert with professional accomplishments when all that vanished. After I became a politician I was nothing except a “young” ambitious woman.

Youth as life itself is not a bad thing, but in politics it emphasizes two things: your opinions are not considered as valuable (or they are “ideological” with “unpolished edges”) and as a person you are only “a promise of the future”. It seems particularly strange after 15 years of work experience.

This isn’t a question of only gender, but that people are easily marginalized in the published media to a person with a single characteristic. I don’t think that this serves the plurality we need in public debate.

If I may, I would ask one thing from you, respectable reporters. Don’t make gender or other meaningless markers like age a burden for us politicians. Don’t purposefully set up gal-on-gal or old geezer-on-old geezer debates. That categorizes us from the start.

read it all


Why don’t girls code?

Posted June 15, 2016

Saga Raippalinna:
My dad asked what I’d like for a present. “A computer,“ I said. I had always wanted a computer.

We were the original internet revolution, before it was a revolution. We geeks became the ones who made information a cool thing. We changed math from a memorized multiplication table to a tool of art and conquered the world by experimenting, building, and doing.

A girl excelling in math might think that it is not possible to make it her profession, let alone be specialized in something that sounds as boring as coding.

Pink Rhinestone Keyboard by Crystal Case

Detail of Crystal Case Pink Rhinestone USB Keyboard

A woman’s problem in the coding market is to be taken seriously. How do I present myself as a capable employee without additional proof to cancel out the negative impression due to my gender? How can I avoid a situation where my attractiveness sets the overall tone for the interview? If I stay after hours, will I be faced with a slimy creep that will climb up my skirt? Will my coworkers be decent, will they include me, and will I be an equal? Will I be there to fill a personnel quota or will I hired because of my talents?

Let’s allow each person to be as they happen to be – whether it’s a collection of coke cans or a small explosion of glitter in one’s cubicle.

read it all


Can We Trust Our Defense Capabilities?

Posted September 16, 2015

Tommi Kangasmaa:
Many don’t trust in our ability to defend its territory. Something has failed in communicating our defense capabilities to the public. Finland, as a matter of fact, is a very difficult country to enter into by force.

Finland’s defense has several strengths: the will of the people, the skills of the recruits and the personnel, and the terrain. No attacker can drive nor walk into our country without having to pass again and again through narrow waypoints, swamps, roughs and lakes that are easily defended by limited troops. Also Finland’s shoreline is riddled with hidden rocks, shallows and narrow passes.

Maavoimien kuva

Recruits on Koli in June 2008. Picture taken by Maavoimat/Marko Jalkanen. Photo Finnish Defence Forces.

Why is it then that our defense capability is not trusted? The message isn’t carried from the Defence Forces to the people as it should. Our defense talk is primarily on funding cuts and the frequent difficulties in materiel acquisitions. We have created a spiral of negativity.

read it all


Earlier posts