FIIA Forum 2022: Changes and challenges in the Nordic security climate

Livestream · 27.04.2022 13:30 - 16:30

The Russian assault on Ukraine has brought about the most severe crisis in European security in decades. However, Russia’s military campaign has so far failed to achieve its objectives. Ukraine’s resistance has been fierce, and Moscow has faced a united and resolute West. The Nordic states have also closed ranks and engaged in intense consultations regarding the dire security situation.  Indeed, extensive diplomatic coordination and information-sharing have been vital components of the Western strategy vis-à-vis the Russian aggression. Interestingly, the release of intelligence information has played an unprecedented role during the crisis, uncovering Russia’s malign intentions and blunting Moscow’s efforts to dominate the information space.

FIIA Forum 2022 addresses the imminent geopolitical challenges encountered by Finland and its fellow Nordic countries. What are the dynamics shaping the current Northern European security climate and how should they be managed? What is the role of security intelligence cooperation in crafting a joint Nordic approach to evolving security threats and challenges? 


13.30 – 13.45

Welcoming remarks: Mika Aaltola, Director, FIIA
Opening remarks: Matti Vanhanen, Speaker of the Parliament of Finland


13:45 – 15:00

Panel I: Geopolitical outlook to the changed security situation in Finland’s neighbourhood

Mika Aaltola, Director, FIIA
Veli-Pekka Kivimäki, Senior analyst, Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (SUPO)
Robert Nurick, Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security Transatlantic Security Initiative, Atlantic Council
Anna Wieslander, Director, Northern Europe, Atlantic Council

Moderator: Charly Salonius-Pasternak, Leading researcher, FIIA


15:30 – 16:30

Panel II: Common challenges in the Nordic security and intelligence community

Charlotte von Essen, Head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo)
Hans Sverre Sjøvold, Head of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST)
Antti Pelttari, Head of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (SUPO)

Moderator: Katri Makkonen, Deputy Managing Director, Miltton


Welcoming remarks:

Mika Aaltola

Director, FIIA

Mika Aaltola is the Director of FIIA. Dr Aaltola is also a professor of International Relations at Tallinn University, Estonia, and holds the rank of docent at Tampere University. He has been a visiting fellow at Cambridge University, Sciences Po (CERI), and Johns Hopkins as well as a visiting professor at the University of Minnesota. His areas of expertise include the global role of the U.S., the dynamics of power politics, and Finnish foreign policy. His latest published monograph is titled "Democratic Vulnerability and Autocratic Meddling – The 'Thucydidean Brink' in Regressive Geopolitical Competition" (Palgrave-Macmillan, 2021).

Opening remarks:

Matti Vanhanen

Speaker, the Parliament of Finland

Matti Vanhanen is the Speaker of the Parliament of Finland, having held the position since February 2022. Previously, he has been the Speaker of the Parliament in 2019-2020, and a Member of Parliament in 1991-2010 and again since 2015. Vanhanen was the Prime Minister of Finland in 2003-2010 and the Minister of Finance in 2020-2021.

Panel I:

Veli-Pekka Kivimäki

Senior analyst, Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (SUPO)

Veli-Pekka Kivimäki is a Senior Analyst with the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (Supo). He is also an adjunct lecturer in Geospatial Intelligence (GEOINT) at the Johns Hopkins University, and a visiting lecturer on open source intelligence (OSINT) at the University of Jyväskylä. Previously, he served in the field of strategic analysis in the Finnish Defence Forces and in the technology industry. Mr. Kivimäki's core research areas include the evolution of OSINT and topics on how technology impacts national security. He has previously published analyses with the award-winning Bellingcat group.

Robert Nurick

Nonresident Senior Fellow, Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security Transatlantic Security Initiative, Atlantic Council

Robert Nurick is a nonresident senior fellow with the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security’s Transatlantic Security Initiative. Prior to this, Nurick was a senior fellow in the Washington, DC office of the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies of the Monterey Institute of International Studies. In 2001 – 2003, Nurick was the director of the Carnegie Moscow Center, and prior to that, he was a senior political scientist at RAND in Santa Monica, California and Washington, DC. Earlier, Nurick has functioned as assistant director and director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) in London. From 1978 to 1981, he served as principal action officer for theater nuclear forces and SALT in the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, and before that, from 1977 to 1978, he was special assistant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Policy Plans and National Security Council Affairs.

Nurick’s principal research interests are focused on the interrelationships between domestic politics and security policies in Russia, Ukraine, the Baltic states, and Central Asia; on NATO reform and its impact on evolving security arrangements in Europe; on Russian-American relations; and on arms control and nuclear nonproliferation. He is a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies, and the Central Eurasia Studies Society, and is a member of the board of directors of the US-Baltic Foundation.

Anna Wieslander

Director, Northern Europe, Atlantic Council

Anna Wieslander is Director for Northern Europe at the Atlantic Council and concurrently serves as Secretary General of the Swedish Defence Association. She also chairs the Institute for Security and Development Policy (ISDP) in Stockholm, is a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of War Sciences, and an Alumni Scholar at George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.

Previously, Wieslander has been Deputy Director at the Swedish Institute of International Affairs (UI). She has held positions as Head of the Speaker’s Office in the Swedish Parliament, Secretary of the Swedish Defence Commission and Deputy Director of the Swedish Defence Ministry.

Wieslander holds an MA degree in political science from Lund University (1995). She is a PhD candidate in international relations at Lund University and has pursued doctoral studies at University of California at Berkeley. She is a 2015 alumni of the Georgetown University Leadership Seminar and a 2018 alumni of the Swedish Defence University Higher Comprehensive Security Course.

Her expertise is in security and defence policy, Baltic Sea security, NATO and partnerships, the transatlantic link, and issues affecting the defence industry.


Charly Salonius-Pasternak

Leading researcher, FIIA

Charly Salonius-Pasternak is a Leading Researcher at FIIA, leading the work of the Center on US Politics and Power (CUSPP). His work at FIIA focuses on international security issues, especially Nordic and transatlantic security (including NATO), as well as U.S. foreign and defence policy. Recently he has focused on Finnish-Swedish defence cooperation and the evolution of the US and NATO alliance reassurance approaches in light of the changed regional security situation. In 2017, he was a visiting research fellow at the Changing Character of War programme at Pembroke College (Oxford University), where he studied the hybridization of warfare and the impact of the Information Age on the character of war.

Panel II:

Charlotte von Essen

Head of the Swedish Security Service (Säpo)

Charlotte von Essen has a background as Assessor at the Stockholm Administrative Court of Appeal. In 2001, she took up a post as Legal Adviser at the Swedish Ministry of Justice. In the autumn of 2009, she was appointed Deputy Director General, and in January 2012, she became Director General for Legal Affairs at the Ministry of Justice. Between 2016 and 2017, Charlotte von Essen served as Chief Judge and Head of the Uppsala Administrative.

Hans Sverre Sjøvold

Head of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST)

Hans Sverre Sjøvold was appointed head of the Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), effective from June 2019. He graduated with the in 1988 and embarked on a career in the prosecution authority. From 2001 to 2002, he served as assisting director for the National Police Directorate before serving as Chief of Police in Vestfold from 2002 to 2005. He was rector of the Norwegian Police University College from 2005 to 2010, and deputy under-secretary of state in the Ministry of Justice and the Police from 2010. He was appointed chief of police of Oslo in 2012.

Antti Pelttari

Head of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service (SUPO)

Antti Pelttari has been Director of the Finnish Security and Intelligence Service since 2011. During this time, the new civilian intelligence legislation entered into force and SUPO became the combined civilian security and intelligence service for Finland. Before his post as Director, Mr. Pelttari was State Secretary to Minister of the Interior. He has held various positions in the Parliament of Finland, most recently as Committee Counsellor in the Defence Committee. Additionally, his professional experience includes several roles in the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry for Foreign affairs of Finland.


Katri Makkonen

Deputy Managing Director, Miltton

Katri Makkonen is Deputy Managing Director of Miltton, a leading Nordic communications agency. She has previously worked as director of communications for the President of the Republic of Finland and has an extensive background in broadcast journalism. She has worked as the Asia correspondent for the Finnish Broadcasting Company YLE and hosted Finland’s most popular current affairs program.