Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Finnish Campaign to Close Russian Consulate in Aaland Islands Start of NATO Campaign to Militarize Them at Moscow’s Expense, Nefyodov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 26 – The ongoing public campaign in Finland to close the Russian consulate in the Aaland Islands is the opening salvo of a campaign by the West to militarize them and threaten Russia’s position in the Baltic Sea region, according to Moscow security analyst Dmitry Nefyodov.

            The neutral status of the Aaland Islands, a 7,000 island archipelago, was put in place by the League of Nations in 1921 and confirmed by the Paris Treaty of 1947, the analyst points out; but then he laments the fact that in the 1990s, the Russian government behaved in ways that raised questions about that (

            On the one hand, none of the bilateral agreements between Moscow and Helsinki adopted in the 1990s addressed the special status of the Aaland Islands, an obvious example of the failure of the Yeltsin government to defend Russia’s national interests. And on the other, in 1998, Moscow even offered to close the Marienham consulate; but its offer was rejected.

            According to Nefyodov, the current effort by Finnish groups to close that office represents the first stage in a campaign to oust Russia from the region and militarize the Aaland Islands now that Finland is in NATO. (For background on that campaign, see

            So far, the Finnish government has not taken a definitive position on the popular demands; but it is likely to support them with time. In response, the Moscow analyst says, Moscow must rely on the earlier international treaties rather than on the bilateral accords of the 1990s.

            What this means is that the Aaland Islands are likely to become an issue for international diplomacy for the first time in decades, something that will require the Western powers and not just Finland to take a position on them.


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