Budapest Post

Cum Deo pro Patria et Libertate
Budapest, Europe and world news

Finland Plans Fence On Russia Border, First Since Fall Of Iron Curtain

Finland Plans Fence On Russia Border, First Since Fall Of Iron Curtain

Finland announced broad parliamentary support to replace its wooden fences across the 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with sturdier barriers to keep Russians and migrants out.

More than 30 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain, Finland plans to erect a barbed-wire fence on its border with Russia dividing East and West, following the war in Ukraine.

The prospective NATO member this week announced broad parliamentary support to replace its wooden fences, designed mainly to stop livestock from wandering across the 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border, with sturdier barriers to keep Russians and migrants out.

"Hopefully the work can start as quickly as possible," Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters in Helsinki.

Finland saw an influx of Russians in September following President Vladimir Putin's mobilisation order, before it clamped down and heavily restricted their entry.

The Finnish border guard says it is necessary to build between 130 and 260 kilometres (80-160 miles) of barriers in areas deemed most critical, particularly in southeastern Finland where most border traffic takes place.

In contrast to the livestock barriers, the new fence proposed on Europe's longest border with Russia is a tall, sturdy metal fence with barbed wire on top and a road running next to it.

The project, estimated to cost hundreds of millions of euros, will start with the construction of a pilot fence a few kilometres long, with the full fence due to be completed in three to four years.

End of 'pragmatism'

The new barrier would not cover the entire border, most of which is difficult forested terrain far from populated areas, but would help detect large border movements and concentrate migrants to smaller, more easily managed areas.

While Marin has political support for the project, experts have questioned its aims.

"I think the fence shows an emotional reaction to the war," professor Olga Davydova-Minguet, an expert on Russia and border issues, told AFP.

The Finnish border has great symbolic value as a boundary between the East and West, but it has been "a very pragmatic and practical border", said Jussi Laine, professor of human geography at the University of Eastern Finland.

"Children may have been going to school on the Finnish side, with the parents living on the other side", he told AFP.

With projects like electronic visas and new railway connections between eastern Finland and Saint Petersburg, there had been a push since the 1990s to make the Russia-Finland border a "normal European border".

"That meant that in people's everyday lives the border's significance would disappear," Laine explained.

These pragmatic ambitions explained in part why Finland was slow to restrict border traffic, compared to the Baltic countries.

"Finland has long marketed itself in the EU as an expert on Russia".

An initial November 2021 proposal from the opposition centre-right to build a proper fence was dismissed as populism.

But the situation "radically changed" with Putin's war in Ukraine, Laine explained.

Five months after Russia's invasion, Finland in July amended its Border Guard Act to allow for the construction of stronger fences, the closure of border crossings and concentrating asylum seekers at specific points in the event of a large-scale crossover attempt.

That came amid concerns of "hybrid threats" where migrants could be used to exert political pressure -- as in the 2021 migrant crisis on the Belarus-EU border.

But when Putin's military mobilisation in September led to a doubling of the number of Russians crossing the border, plans for the new fence gained momentum.

The Finnish border guard has said it is preparing for "difficult developments" as the situation evolves.

"It is possible that when travel is restricted, attempts at illegal border crossings will increase," a spokesman said.

More harm than good?

The border fence construction may enjoy broad political consensus, but it has been harshly criticised by researchers.

"The harms are alarmingly greater than the benefits", Laine said.

Besides being a very expensive solution to a "relatively small number of migrants", research suggests that building barriers creates greater risks for migrants while "stopping only very few people".

"In short, people die. Fences don't solve problems," Laine emphasised, noting that some migrants could venture into more hazardous terrain to cross into Finland.

And while a new fence may facilitate the Border Guard's work, there is "clear research" that making crossings more difficult fuels human trafficking, he added.

Laine believed the fence discussion -- originally proposed to deter Russia from sending migrants to exert political pressure -- got confused with condemning Russia's aggression in Ukraine and explained the sudden change in political opinion.

"The fence has a symbolic value. It is not based on rational analysis but on emotions", he said.

Some have also stressed the psychological effect of increasing Finns' sense of security.

But Davydova-Minguet argued the fence also "reinforces the image of the Russians as a scary source of threats".

"The fence is creating the impression that there is a danger beyond the border from which we have to separate ourselves".


Related Articles

Budapest Post
Spain soccer kiss: Furore grows as prosecutors launch probe against federation chief
Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Steve Jobs' Son Launches Venture Capital Firm With $200 Million For Cancer Treatments
Greek PM offers tourists affected by wildfires a free stay in Rhodes next year.
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
Google reshuffles Assistant unit, lays off some staffers, to 'supercharge' products with A.I.
End of Viagra? FDA approved a gel against erectile dysfunction
UK sanctions Russians judges over dual British national Kara-Murza's trial
US restricts visa-free travel for Hungarian passport holders because of security concerns
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Political leader from South Africa, Julius Malema, led violent racist chants at a massive rally on Saturday
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
How “peacekeepers” at the UN spend our American tax dollars.
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Spanish Citizenship Granted to Iranian chess player who removed hijab
US Senate Republican Mitch McConnell freezes up, leaves press conference
Speaker McCarthy says the United States House of Representatives is getting ready to impeach Joe Biden.
San Francisco car crash
This camera man is a genius
3D ad in front of Burj Khalifa
Next level gaming
BMW driver…
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
Swedish Embassy in Baghdad Engulfed in Flames Amidst a Firestorm of Protests
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Muslim Tycoon Asif Aziz Receives Approval for the Transformation of the iconic London Trocadero Landmark into Mosque
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu Hospitalized Due to Dehydration Amidst Summer Heatwave
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta