The Finnish army on alert in the face of the Russian threat

The Finnish army on alert in the face of the Russian threat

REPORT – Finland was cut off from part of its territory by the Red Army in 1940 during the Winter War and has never forgotten this cruel defeat. Behind the image of a modern, happy and peaceful nation, this country has maintained conscription.

On the morning of February 24, 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine, bringing back the specters of the dark hours of the 20th century at the dawn of the 21st century. Surprised by this aggression, European societies suddenly saw the return of a threat they believed had been banished from their territory for good: war. But not in Finland.

For this Nordic country, mistakenly associated with Scandinavia, this invasion was neither a surprise nor the manifestation of past spirits believed to have been summoned. As the rest of the continent celebrated a nearly eighty-year summer of peace, disbanding its regular armies and focusing on far-flung overseas operations, Finland felt what others seemed to have forgotten: winter always returns. For in these lands hardened by arctic cold and darkness, one wound remains that has never healed: that of Talvisota – the Winter War.

Early morning, near Nurmes, where the soldiers are training. Louie Palu / VU’ with support from the Pulitzer Center

lessons from the past

“We’ve learned our lesson…

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