The Spark

the Voice of
The Communist League of Revolutionary Workers–Internationalist

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.”
— Karl Marx

Finland, Sweden, and NATO:
Putin’s Policy Strengthens Imperialism

May 23, 2022

This article is translated from the May 20 issue #2807 of Lutte Ouvrière (Workers’ Struggle), the newspaper of the revolutionary workers’ group of that name active in France.

Finland officially applied to join NATO. The country has a long border with Russia. Sweden is preparing to apply to join NATO, too. So, these two governments are putting an end to the neutrality they have shown until now.

In reality, the alignment of Finland and Sweden with the Western side doesn’t just date from the last few weeks, but from the collapse of the USSR in December 1991 at least. They joined the European Union three years later. As early as May 1992, Finland replaced its air force fleet, which included Soviet MIG-21s, with F-18s bought from the United States. Finland is now replacing them with F-35s, also American. Preference is given to this type of aircraft, which can integrate with NATO’s fleet in joint maneuvers now, or in a future war.

If Finland and Sweden’s neutrality was less and less a reality, most of their populations still believed in it.

Has anxiety over the war in Ukraine really caused a change in the populations’ mindset? Do they now view NATO as protection against possible Russian aggression? In any case, the social-democratic-led governments of both countries no longer hold back from declaring themselves in favor of joining NATO. They agree with NATO’s goal of completing the encirclement of Russia along its 800 mile border with Finland. Russia’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg, is less than 90 miles away from that border. Along with the Baltic countries, which are already part of NATO, their fleets and their systems of surveillance for Russian submarines will make the Baltic “NATO’s ocean.” In the far North, Sweden’s military faces Russia’s.

Far from protecting people from future war, NATO membership will contribute to increasing tensions with Russia. This same NATO policy of encirclement pushed Putin to invade Ukraine. NATO is not a peaceful institution designed to protect people. This military coalition is the armed wing of American imperialism. Its leaders have as little concern for the interests of the people as the Kremlin’s masters do.

The Finnish and Swedish governments offer the U.S. and its allies new fields of maneuver to prepare war in the scenario of confrontation with Russia. The populations of northern Europe are on the front lines.