Report    ISBN 978-952-287-282-1

Venäjän muuttuva rooli Suomen lähialueilla

Published 30.8.2016

Toivo Martikainen, Katri Pynnöniemi, Sinikukka Saari & Ulkopoliittisen instituutin työryhmä
Valtioneuvoston selvitys- ja tutkimustoiminta

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This report analyses the change in Russian foreign policy and assesses the implications of this change for Finland.

Russia’s governing system, which is based on unofficial power networks, is closely intertwined with the country’s foreign policy. Russia’s foreign policy goals have remained the same for a long period of time, but in recent years its means to achieve those goals have become more aggressive. The background of this change lies in the country’s internal factors such as dependence on raw materials, structural economic problems and shortcomings in the rule of law. The culmination of these factors when Russia’s capabilities in external military, economic and informational influence have simultaneously increased has led to a changing foreign policy behaviour.

In particular, the report analyses the implications of Russia’s changing activity in Finland’s neighbourhood vis-à-vis energy policy, Arctic policy and Baltic Sea security policy. In energy policy, a geoeconomic operation which creates dependencies can be recognised; in the Arctic region, security aspects have gained more weight in Russian policies; and in the Baltic Sea region, risk potential has been activated.

The report concludes by listing the key risks caused by Russia’s changing behaviour and by giving Finland practical policy recommendations to prepare itself for those risks. Neighbouring an internally unpredictable Russia that creates international tensions, Finland needs first and foremost to invest in its own society’s resilience and in international cooperation.

This publication is part of the implementation of the Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research for 2015 ( The content is the responsibility of the producers of the information and does not necessarily represent the view of the Government.