“It is surprising that even representatives of our political elite still believe in the special role of our country that was neutral Finland during the cold war,” says Hannu Himanen (Hannu Himanen), the Ambassador of Finland in Russia in 2012-2016.
In Russia, according to him, it is well known that the concept of “neutrality” are found among the Finns positive response. President Putin also praised in Punkaharju the neutral status of Finland, although it is well known that the concept of “neutrality” is no longer applicable to the line of Finland since 1995.
In fact, the attitude of Russia to Finland is not much different from Russia’s relations with other Western countries, said Himanen. According to him, this is evident in the impact of information aimed at Finland.
“It is useless to think that in this respect Finland has a special status. Various attempts of influence on the part of Russia aimed at Finland as in other Western democracies.”
Informational influence from Russia, Himanen describes as a large-scale and long-term. He believes that it is not limited to only one intervention in the elections. Russia pays special attention to questions of domestic policy.
“The real purpose of Russia — to break the authority of the major institutions of Western society and confidence in him. Ultimately it means the destruction of the whole system of society.”
Elections of the President of Finland is also under threat
Himanen reminds us that technology has opened up new opportunities for the provision of hostile influence. It can be seen, including during presidential elections in the United States and France, in which, apparently, interfered with Russia.
“President Putin has said several times that he does not know who is behind these operations. But he knows for sure what was going on. He also knows that if it is taken for professionals to find traces of hard,” Himanen says.
In his opinion, it would be naive to assume that Russia is not interested in the opportunity to intervene in the presidential elections to be held in Finland to 2018.
“Against Finland, the first target is not necessarily a direct impact on the election results. At least as important for Russia and what line in the security policy, Finland will follow over the next six years. Particularly active are to ensure that the next President of Finland has not made the country a member of NATO,” Himanen says.
He believes that direct intervention in the elections is unlikely. However, to exclude such a possibility still is impossible.
“Who will be good from the fact that the elections will fail or will fail? Some of the results will have to be declared invalid due to a technical error, which in our hectic and stressful time can lead to unpredictable consequences”.
Fighters information front drew attention to the Finnish tunnels
As an example of informational influence Himanen talks about the reaction of the Russian media in a recent article U.S. edition of the Wall Street Journal, which reported, in particular, about the tunnels under Helsinki. The publication indirectly joined a network of tunnels with the preparation of Finland to repel the Russian military threat.
In many Russian media tunnels dubbed as another manifestation of the Finnish stupidity.
“I noticed in these articles the methods used by fighters of information front. Although articles have been published in authoritative sources, we are not talking about the usual journalistic work. The slightly unusual approach of the American edition is literally presented to them on a silver platter a wonderful opportunity to conduct an information attack,” Himanen says.
Under the “information front fighters” he means specially trained professionals whose task is the provision of information influence and information warfare.
“Usually it’s people who are serving in the military and other security organizations. Of course, they are not all generals, lieutenants or officers, but many really are not. Information warfare is really part of Russia’s military doctrine”.
The European external action service also drew attention to how this topic was discussed in Russian media.
“According to British researcher Keir Giles (Giles Keir), in the review of the European service for external relations drew attention to two opposing views in the Russian media. On the one hand, they say that Russia does not threaten anyone and that the Finns are in hysterics. On the other hand, pay attention to the fact that Russian weapons are invincible, and all the tunnels are absolutely useless,” says Himanen.
“In this intellectual acrobatic trick Russian soldiers information front have shown themselves particularly expert.”