When history and geography control Kremlin’s actions – Part III

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By: Contribution for Syrializm

 

They used to say, “Beat the chained so the free fears you!”

Russia, in its invasion of Ukraine, applied exactly this saying.

The chained here is Ukraine, as for the free… it’s that neighbor in the north, who has a combative past against Russia!

Finland!

Russia’s strategic problem with Finland may be more serious than its problem with Ukraine.

The problem in its first clause is the borders, as the Finnish border with Russia extends for a long distance of 1,340 kilometers, and borders of this distance, regardless of the nature of geography in that region, are borders that are difficult to control.

The Finnish-Russian borders are dominated by dense forests covered with snow, and they are, of course, almost uninhabited.

This means that monitoring and protecting these borders in light of these climatic, geographical and demographic conditions is a very difficult and almost impossible task.

The second clause in the Russian problem with Finland lies in the proximity of the southern Finnish border with Russia to the most important Russian cities, the second city in Russia, and the former capital of the Russian Empire, St. Petersburg.

St. Petersburg, with all its value and historical status in Russia, has a population of more than 5 million people, which is more than the population of Finland itself, its economy constitutes 5% of the Russian economy, and it has a port in the Baltic Sea.

The city is no more than 150 kilometers from the Finnish border, meaning that a tank needs a two-hour to cover this distance.

The third clause is that Finland overlooks the Kola Peninsula, which is the most heavily armed geographical spot on the face of the globe, as the largest location for the Russian intercontinental missile bases is located on the Kola Peninsula, from which Russia’s nuclear missile capabilities that are ready to bomb Europe and the United States are located through Flying over the Arctic Circle.

Russia’s largest strategic missile launch bases are located on the Kola Peninsula.

In short, the Kola Peninsula is Russia’s nuclear fortress.

Added to the Kola Peninsula is the city of Murmansk, which is Russia’s largest city in the Arctic Circle region, and the vital port of Murmansk for Russia in the north, whose waters don’t freeze in winter, that is, it remains operational in all seasons.

One of the miracles of the climate, so to speak, is that in the Arctic Ocean there is an air current known as the Polar Jetstream, which is a constant air current throughout the year that carries warm air to the Murmansk region that prevents the freezing of its coastal waters, and thus its port remains open throughout the year, and therefore it’s located in Murmansk is the main base of the Russian Northern Fleet, as well as a host of other Russian naval bases in the region.

The region is also a launching point for Russian nuclear submarines carrying tactical nuclear missiles.

Of course, these submarines can move under the ice without being detected, which allows them to carry out regular patrols in the North Sea and the Baltic, all the way to the Atlantic Ocean.

Therefore, it was the starting point, and this is more important than the presence of a starting point in the Baltic Sea, due to the lack of sufficient depth in that region that allows giant Russian submarines to station and move from that region, in addition to the presence of the Russian coast in the Baltic within the narrow Gulf of Finland, which is difficult to move in freely, with ease close it at any time from any hostile forces.

Of course, Finland doesn’t have sufficient capabilities and military or human potential to pose a threat to Russia, and therefore Finland’s dangerous position for Russia doesn’t have the potential to turn into a threat.

The danger lies in Finland’s alliance with major powers that possess the capabilities that allow it to exploit this dangerous position, and here comes the danger of Finland joining NATO, which puts Finland at the disposal of major powers, which puts Russia in a position of existential danger.

When Finland was under Swedish control, which was at war with Russia, Sweden opened its ports to the British fleet, and despite Russia’s insistence and demand to stop this Swedish-British cooperation, and Sweden’s refusal to do so, prompted the Russian Empire to invade Sweden in 1808, during which Russia was able to Control over the lands of Finland, to keep the danger away from its capital, St. Petersburg at that time.

After that terrible defeat, Sweden became a neutral country, and it didn’t wage or engage in wars with anyone for 200 years.

At the beginning of World War II, when Finland allied itself with Nazi Germany, the German forces took advantage of their presence in Finnish territory in the process of invading the territory of the Soviet Union, as the German forces cost only a few kilometers until they surrounded Saint Peterburg (Leningrad).

Finland’s accession to NATO is an existential threat to Russia, given the historical hostility between the two countries.

Even public opinion in Finland and the military doctrine of the Finnish army and all contingency plans and military exercises are based on the assumption that Russia launched an invasion of Finland, and compulsory conscription is still in force in Finland, where most of the males in Finland performed military service and most of the young men underwent military training, and in Cases of general mobilization in its extreme degrees, the Finnish army has a human military force numbering about one million two hundred thousand soldiers.

The number of reserve forces in Finland is equal to the total number of reserve forces in countries such as France, Germany and Italy combined.

Finland also has about 1,500 various artillery systems, more than Britain, and more tanks than Germany, and it has a very modern air force that includes a group of the latest combat and multi-tasking aircraft, and it has recently acquired American F35 aircraft.

The Finnish people are morally mobilized and ready to defend their country, and strongly support the continuation of the conscription system.

In the case of Sweden, which did not join NATO, at least not yet, it had stopped the compulsory conscription system in 2010, but it still occupies a very important strategic position.

Sweden also possesses a considerable military force, and still maintains its military industries, and owns a group of leading companies in the military industries, which produce fighter jets and missiles, in addition to the naval force that dates back to more than five centuries.

The Swedish Navy also possesses a group of submarines, which are added to the rest of the Swedish force, which can completely isolate Russia and completely close the Baltic Sea in its face.

The presence of Finland and Sweden in NATO, with all the capabilities that the two countries possess of a sensitive strategic location, together will pose a real danger.

For example, if Sweden and Finland establish early warning stations in the face of the Russian missile and nuclear system, they will be able to completely neutralize Russia’s missile power, which is the real power that Russia actually possesses, and it’s the power that gives Russia the real weight, not Russia’s traditional army and capabilities, especially after what halt faced in Ukraine.

The same applies to Norway, with its capabilities as well, and by the way, it has land borders with Russia from the north, and is close to the city of Murmansk as well.

And we must not forget that Norway is a NATO member, and therefore the hypothesis of the outbreak of war on this axis, and according to specialized military studies, Russia will be able to control the three Baltic countries (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) within a period not exceeding 72 hours, and therefore this will allow Russian to expand over a larger area in the Baltics and move more freely in, and prevent being subjected to a complete Blockade.

It will also open the way to the isolated Kaliningrad region, in which there are large Russian forces and military capabilities there.

Thus, Russia will be able to reduce the danger potential posed by Finland, Sweden and Norway to about half.

Of course, Russia’s deterrence capabilities cannot be tested, because it’s not in the field of experiment because it means the end of humanity, but with such an exposed Western front, with an uncomfortable strategic situation, which will always control its military and political decisions.

All of the above answers why Russia fought in Chechnya, why it took military action in Georgia, why it annexed Crimea, why it’s fighting in Ukraine, and why it opposes with all its strength the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO and threatens them with invasion, and why it keeps its eyes on the three Baltic states, and why and… there are in fact too many whys.

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