The Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA), the Aleksanteri Institute (AI) and the National Defence University (NDU) are jointly conducting a research project titled “Northern Europe in Russia’s Foreign and Security Policy”. The project is part of the Finnish Government’s 2020 analysis, assessment and research activities (VN-TEAS) and will conclude in April 2022.
During the last few years, the security environment of Finland’s surrounding neighbourhood has been a subject of increasing political and scholarly interest. Competent research has also been conducted on Russian strategic thought. Typically, international studies have examined Russia’s role based on their own premises, in which the Northern European region is seen as a security issue concerning western countries and NATO.
The main objective of the project is to produce a comprehensive research-based analysis on the aims, methods and operational logic of Russia’s foreign and security policy in Northern Europe. By utilizing a wide breadth of Russian primary sources, the final report will in particular analyse how is the security architecture of Northern Europe viewed from the Russian perspective, how Russia’s actions in the region reflect this strategic thinking in practice and what is the meaning of Northern Europe in the larger context of Russia’s foreign and security policy? In addition, the project is aiming to strengthen and deepen scholarly contacts and cooperation between Russian and Finnish researchers.
The final report of the project, titled ’Pohjois-Eurooppa Venäjän ulko- ja turvallisuuspolitiikassa’ (Northern Europe in Russia’s foreign and security policy), was published on 29 April 2022.
On 16 December 2021 AI published an article titled ’Security issues are gaining prominence in the Russian perspective on Northern Europe’. The article is part of the project.
On 2 August 2021 NDU published a working paper titled ’Venäjän strategisen toimintaympäristön tulkintakehykset ja niiden merkitys Suomelle’ (Russia’s interpretative frameworks for its strategic operating environment and their significance for Finland). The working paper is part of the project.
On 7 June 2021 NDU published a working paper titled ’Pohjois-Eurooppa Venäjän naapurina. Teemoja kansainvälisestä ja venäläisestä tutkimuskirjallisuudesta’ (Northern Europe as Russia’s neighbour. Themes from international and Russian scholarly publications). The working paper is part of the project.
In spring 2022 the research project welcomed three young Russia-based scholars whose research focuses on security issues of Northern Europe to participate in Aleksanteri Junior Visiting Fellowship program. The fellows are hosted by Aleksanteri Institute and present their research in an internal seminar series.
The project will commence under the auspices of FIIA’s Finnish Foreign and Security Policy –project. The research team will consist of Research Fellow Jyri Lavikainen (FIIA), Leading Researcher Sinikukka Saari (FIIA), University Lecturer Sirke Mäkinen (AI), Senior Researcher Pentti Forsström (NDU), Assistant Professor Katri Pynnöniemi (NDU), Project Researcher Outi Helin (NDU), Leading Researcher Harri Mikkola (FIIA) and Senior Research Fellow Matti Pesu (FIIA).