Staunton, Oct. 22 – Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a decree cancelling the 2021 accord between Moscow and Helsinki on bilateral cooperation, the latest and most radical break in relations between the two countries since Finland joined NATO earlier this year.
The move ends a program in which both sides were heavily invested in promoting cultural cooperation, environmental protection, business development and infrastructure expansion over the past decade (publication.pravo.gov.ru/document/0001202310200049 and thebarentsobserver.com/ru/obshchestvennost/2023/10/rossiya-rastorgla-soglashenie-o-prigranichnom-sotrudnichestve-s-finlyandiey).
It follows Moscow’s closure of the Finnish consulate in St. Petersburg and the withdrawal or at least suspension of Russian participation in most of the key Arctic forums in which Finland also participates. This Russian action isolates Karelia and seriously reduces bilateral tourism and trade.
But perhaps most importantly, it ends the former cooperation between Helsinki and Moscow that was for many years called “Finlandization.” Other countries may cooperate with Russia because of Muscovite pressure, but not Finland, which is now more cut off from its neighbor to the east than at any time since the 1930s.