Welcome to the third issue of the Nordic Communist Review, which is the first issue of 2021. This time the subject covered is “Threats to peace in the Nordic region”.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019.
Welcome to the third issue of the Nordic Communist Review, which is the first issue of 2021. This time the subject covered is “Threats to peace in the Nordic region”.
The Nordic Communist Review is a biannual online publication founded in 2019.
As we analyze Finland’s effect on peace in the Nordics, we must first go back in history to get a base of comparison from earlier actions. In Finland’s current action safety policy is ruled by defense policy, and foreign policy is left as a secondary method. This is a result of joining the EU, partnership with the military alliance NATO and military cooperation with many other nations. Finland doesn’t strive to be a neutral nation anymore, and the goal isn’t to stay out of major power’s conflicts of interest.
After Finland became independent in 1917, a class-war started in January 1918. The war ended in the victory for the bourgeoisie in summer 1918, after the bourgeoisie had called in the help of German soldiers. Over 40 000 fighters died in the war, most of which were workers. After the war over 80 000 reds or people suspected to be reds were jailed in poor conditions in prisons set up by the bourgeoisie. Some of them were executed, some died of illnesses and hunger, and some were released.
The bourgeoisie felt grateful towards Germany for the victory granted to them as the parliament decided to form a kingdom in 1918. The king was already chosen to be the Duke of Hessen from Germany, Friedrich Karl. Germany lost the First World War in 1918 and in December 1918 the king declared his abdication. Finland was made into a republic afterwards.
The bourgeoisie had great power after their victory in the class-war and practiced strict class-control over the workers. The bourgeoisie’s fist was the fascistic Lapua-movement, by whose impact the parliament accepted the communist laws in 1930. Communists’ and leftist workers’ movements were banned. Publishing of leftist newspapers was banned, printing presses were destroyed, gatherings were banned, activists were imprisoned, and seven members of the parliament were prevented from joining the parliaments work. Same happened in many counties, where leftist political figures’ activity was obstructed. The list of the bourgeoisie’s and its fascistic fist’s atrocities can go on for very long.
The bourgeoisie molded the people’s opinions heavily in the 1920s and 1930s, with anti-Soviet rhetoric and a goal of expanding national living space. Greater-Finland idea was reinforced. Due to this, Finland fought the Winter War against the Soviet Union in 30.11.1939-13.3.1940. Already at the end of summer 1940, German troops landed in Vaasa and advanced to Northern-Finland. As Germany attacked The Soviet Union in 21.6.1941, Finland was by its side, advancing in the war deep into Soviet territory past the city of Petrozavodsk. Finnish troops also sieged Leningrad. There were around 213 000 German soldiers of the 20th mountain army in Northern-Finland during the assault against the Soviet Union.
The war ended in defeat for Finland in September 1944. A new period of democratic development was made possible in Finland. Communism laws were repealed, communists received the right to public activity, as did the most leftist workers’ movement. Fascistic organizations were banned.
Neutrality and non-alignment furthered peace, which is now threatened.
The allies, Soviet Union, United States, Great Britain and France dictated the terms at the Paris peace treaty for the loser countries who fought alongside Germany. Finland was declared guilty and the treaty obliged Finland for territorial transfers towards the Soviet Union, to pay war reparations to the Soviet Union and the treaty defined Finland’s army’s manpower and quality and quantity of weapons. Procuring weapons from Germany was banned and so was procuring nuclear weapons. As the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991, Finland declared unilaterally the arms restrictions void.
To prevent a war between Finland and The Soviet Union, The Soviet Union suggested the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (YYA) to Finland. The pact was accepted on 6.4.1948. The pact’s main purpose was to prevent an attack at the Soviet Union from Finland’s territory. Many diverse and mutually beneficial relations were created by the basis of this pact. The YYA-pact was the basis of Finland’s new foreign policy of peace and neutrality. Supporters and defenders of this new foreign policy were the greatly strengthened peace movement and the Finnish-Soviet Friendship Association.
Once one of the symbols of the peace movement was making the Baltic Sea the sea of peace, and President Urho Kekkonen’s proposal of making the Nordics free of nuclear weapons was widely known.
The most important part of Finland’s defense policy was foreign policy, which highlighted neutrality, especially concerning major powers.
One big overture in international action happened in 1956 when, by President Kekkonen’s proposal, Finland partook for the first time in the UN’s traditional peacekeeping operation by sending soldiers to Suez in the Middle-East. Both sides of the UN’s operation, who had reached an armistice, accepted the arrival of the UN troops who created a buffer zone between both sides.
The situation has changed after the Bosnia War, when the UN has given peacekeeping operations to NATO, EU, OSCE, African Union and Australia. The operations justification is the sugarcoated notion of trying to create conditions for permanent peace for the quarreling parties, to separate them from each other or to support local governments. Supporting local governments is precisely the reason why the UN’s military departments work as a part of wars and are heavily armed. Being part of a war hasn’t always meant supporting the local government, but the supported side is chosen by imperialist justifications.
Currently Finnish “peacekeepers” are working in UN’s, NATO’s and EU’s operations in Afghanistan, Lebanon, Kosovo, Iraq, Mali, Somalia, The Mediterranean and the Middle-East. Finland’s participation is marked with one common quality, the desire to be part of the West’s imperialist world redistribution.
The events in Europe in 1999 tell of the change in Finland’s safety policy in the post-Soviet era. Finland has been a member of the European Union since 1995.
Finland’s president Martti Ahtisaari together with Russia’s Baltic-envoy Viktor Chernomyrdin visited Serbia to pressure president Slobodan Milosevic threatening him with NATO bombing. They reached their goal when NATO with EU’s approval started bombing Serbia for 78 days on 24.3-10.6.1999. Germany was the chairman nation of the EU then, and the two leading nations besides Germany were the previous chairman nation Austria and the upcoming chairman nation Finland, whose chairman term started on 1.7.1999. Finland’s prime minister at that time was Paavo Lipponen (social democrat). For his merits as a “peace mediator”, President Martti Ahtisaari (social democrat) was later granted the Nobel peace prize.
Goal of the Imperialists: “Northern dimension”, increased military activity in the background.
When evaluating Finland’s place in Northern-Europe as Russia’s neighbor and the increased military activity in the Nordics and the Baltics, it is good to note that the European Union accepted Finland’s initiative of the “Northern dimension” in 1997 as its policy. Naturally the creator of the initiative was agreed upon, Finland is Russia’s neighbor after all. In the “Northern dimension” policy the EU has set Russia’s north-western natural resources as strategic resources for the EU. This colonialist political/economic project by the EU and the west is also implemented militarily. Finland for their part implements nearby area cooperation with Russia, as documented in the initiative.
Even though Finland is sometimes portrayed as a bridge builder between the east and the west in the media, Finland has in the recent decades taken the initiative to shaken the stability of the Nordics. Especially during the presidency of Sauli Niinistö Finland has been made a frontier post against Russia.
Below are examples of Finland’s military alliance with other imperialist.
-In 2014 Finland signed a “Host country” agreement with Nato. The agreement was signed by the commander of the Defense forces with President Sauli Niinistö present. The parliament didn’t deal with the agreement, even though the agreement doesn’t set any limitations to what kind of situation Nato troops can enter Finnish territory, what strength they can enter with, or what kind of armaments. Nuclear weapons also weren’t mentioned.
-Finland is a part of the Nordics’ defense alliance Nordefco, British led JEF standby forces, a similar German alliance, France’s E12 intervention initiative and EU’s more centralizing defense cooperation. In addition in the recent years a project called NATO+2 has been developed, in it Finland and Sweden together with NATO prepare to counter the threat of Russia on the Baltic Sea.
-Last September the defense ministry joined a USA started artificial intelligence-cooperation, which develops nations’ military cooperation.
-USA troops perform military drills together with Finnish troops in Finland.
-Finland takes part in NATO’s quick response troop’s activities.
-Finland takes part in the EU’s battle departments’ activities.
-Finland leads the Helsinki based EU hybrid competence-center, which has the goal of bringing NATO and the EU closer together.
-Finnish people also take part in NATO’s cyber safety- center’s activities in Estonia.
In addition to Finland’s and other Nordic- countries’ activities, the stability of northern- Europe in the area of the Baltic Sea has been affected the most by the Baltic countries joining NATO in 2004. Their airspace is constantly under supervision, NATO’s air-sea and ground-surveillance’s radars scan the Baltic Sea’s land and sea-areas. Different countries’ military units are constantly practicing in different arms in land-sea and air-drills under the guidance of NATO.
Military drills have also increased in the Nordics’ land-air and sea-areas. In the north on land and air. USA troops have participated in military drills on Finnish territory.
Finnish tabloids and state media writes about the constant threat, which is Russia. In reality NATO, EU, USA, the Nordics and the Baltics have themselves weakened the stability of northern-Europe and themselves form a threat to peace, not Russia.
Influencing and opinion molding towards capitalism is done by pro-capitalists in many different ways. The Nordic Council, which was founded in 1952, is the area’s countries’ parliamentary body that has permanent bodies. The Council has worked to create a common political position for its member states. Once it was pulling its member state Finland away from close cooperation with the Soviet Union. Now the Council has created an operational context towards Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, to organize the Baltics into a general assembly. The Baltics do proclaim themselves to have always been part of the Nordics and aim to bring the entirety of the Nordics to be full members of EU and NATO.
In the post-Soviet era, new organizations have been founded as the imperialists’ interest in the North’s natural resources have increased. Climate change has accelerated this interest. The area’s affairs are handled by many agencies in different contexts, but the Council of the Baltic Sea States of 1992 and the Arctic Council of 1996 have been founded in the name of bourgeois democracy. Russia is also part of both.
Even though the bourgeoisie and supporters of the system try to paint a picture of the Nordics as an area that was a stable area of peace if there was no threat from Russia, that picture doesn’t match reality. The reality is that the imperialist powers USA and EU also strive for the East, an example being NATO’s expansion to the borders of Russia. Because the Nordics are allied to imperialism’s core, the Nordics might become the springboard for military attacks in the East and North. When Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941, Finland was its springboard. Only by peace-wanting citizens can this be avoided from happening again.
After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Finland has sought to commit to the west. The peaceful people’s strength hasn’t been strong enough to defend Finland’s independent neutrality driven foreign policy and to stop the safety policy from becoming solely defense policy. Peace organizations carry on like decades ago as supporters of state policy, even though the state’s policy has changed. Maybe the reason is money. In 2020 nine peace organizations received in total 500 000 euros as operating aid from the state. Peace organizations are almost quiet and people aren’t raised in defiance, even though Finland is about to purchase fighter jets costing 10-20 billion euros. Some organizations at most are for postponing the purchase. And this isn’t the only weapons purchase. Finland is constantly acquiring warships and all sorts of others weapons, likewise more military drills are conducted and Finnish soldiers attend military drills abroad.
Communists in Finland as well as in other countries in the Nordics have a grand task ahead of them, stopping the progress of the warmongers. It’s imperative to expose the nature of capitalism, and the conglomerates and bourgeoisie governments inside it, and their connection to benefitting from wars at the expense of workers and peoples suffering. In wars, workers have to fight against each other. That we must prevent.
Imperialism threatens peace in Nordic countries.
Imperialism is the highest and final historical stage of capitalism. Under imperialism, the internal contradictions of capitalism are intensified, and the scrabble for markets and natural resources is elevated, which can evolve into imperialist wars.
Greatest of all is the threat of nuclear war. If nuclear weapons are used, it will have fatal consequences for people, animals and nature. The risk of atomic detonations is real. New types of atomic weapons are deployed, disarmament treaties are abandoned, and the danger of cyber attacks on nuclear weapon infrastructure is present.
Imperialism is the greed of a small group of people who persist in the hunt for accumulation of money and profits. This small group of people recklessly exploit and profit on the lives of the working majority, the working class. Imperialism hunts and destroys the planet’s valuable resources while constantly moving towards a new crisis. The result of these crises is an increasingly unsafe and uncertain existence, with low income, lay-offs, unemployment, weak domestic economy, poverty, starvation and human tragedy.
The result of these conditions is an increase in right wing extremism, polarisation and terrorism. The Norwegian Police Security Service (PST) assesses the threat level to 3 out of 5 possible levels. These forces must be defeated.
Back to imperialism. International tensions between the superpowers USA, China, Russia and the EU are increasing, and this increased global threat level also affects the nordic territories. Trump wanted to buy Greenland, as in colonial times. Russia is building nuclear powered icebreakers which will revolutionize Arctic naval traffic, so that also Chinese freighters, filled with equipment for wind turbines and railways, can reduce the distance to the world market by one third, throughout the year. 2020 saw a record number of Russian freighters filled with oil, gas and minerals moving through the North-East passage. China’s establishment of the new Silk Road to European markets is already well under way. Most wars are triggered by a conflict of interest.
So what does the bourgeois government of Norway do? They are obedient to our Nato allies, and draw Norway into active participation in the super power rivalry between USA/EU and Russia. They increase the American military presence in Norway. They will not sign the UN nuclear ban treaty, which was adopted with the support of 122 countries in 2017. A new Norwegian defense plan increases the size of the military. Allied nuclear submarines are allowed entry, which puts the population at risk. New surveillance aircraft will arrive in 2022, and new helicopters are delivered in 2024. 190 billion NOK will be spent on war supplies through the next eight years Another 400 million NOK are budgeted for defense expansion this year. Norwegians with ties to another country (such as Russia and others) are no longer allowed to do military service, and are considered a security risk. American soldiers and major military exercises on Norwegian soil during peacetime are welcomed. The US Air Force and their military aircraft are allowed to use the landing strip on Jan Mayen in 2020, and flyovers across Norway and Sweden are escorted by our countries’ fighter planes. American bombers with long-range cruise missiles are, for the first time in history, allowed to be stationed at Norwegian air bases in february 2021, along with 200 soldiers, as an act of deterrence. To compensate the Northern population for their inconvenience, the government published a resolution on the northern region before Christmas, which was put down by the opposition due to empty words with no intention of any real action that improves the living conditions of the region.
Several defence documents are classified for politicians in Parliament. Russia answers with a military exercise in international waters outside the Norwegian coast. USA-NATO, along with Norway, have entered a new cold war with Russia. Russia is obviously sceptical and negative to this increased NATO presence in Norway. The Russians will make efforts to defend the safety of their country and the entire region. This evil circle deteriorates trust and hurts the neighbour relations between Norway and Russia. An ice front between the EU and Russia, where the EU is threatening to introduce more sanctions, is not helping.
Comrades, this is anything but a contribution to peace and stability in the Nordic countries and the world. On the contrary. This is an unacceptable provocation and a dangerous development in the wrong direction. Nobody except the Communist Party of Norway is talking about disarmament today. NKP can not accept military rearmament imperialistic purposes. Nuclear weapons must be prohibited and removed from the planet. NKP will continue to criticise the crudeness of imperialism. The more we allow USA-NATO to extend their presence in Norway, the more we risk that Norway ends up as a battleground for the USA and Russia. The emissions caused by military production and activity must be reduced. Norway must leave the EEC and NATO. Strengthen cooperation between people across borders. The corona pandemic has shown us the necessity of international cooperation when facing great global threats, with no room for unequal distribution and patents. Forward for socialism!
With the Nordic one today means Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland. In older history the Nordic has been an almost mythical concept, built on the Viking age, common linguistic roots and magnificent hero epics. Until recently there was no place there for Finland, specifically, which was part of Sweden since the 1200s.
The cooperation between the Nordic countries in modern times was established in 1952 with the formation of the Nordic council (Finland a member since 1955), which is a cooperation between the parliaments of the countries. After some years Greenland, the Faroe islands and Åland were also given limited influence. In 1971 the Nordic council of ministers was created as a body for cooperation between the governments of the countries. It would have been logical and a positive signal to proceed according to purely geographical conditions and the proximity to the Arctic to create a cooperation on the Cap of the North which would have included the Soviet Union’s northern European part, but the anticommunism wouldn’t allow that. Only the communist parties of Sweden, Norway and Finland, whose northernmost districts under many decades have had a brotherly cooperation with the Murmansk district, had that idea.
In 1952 the countries who sought cooperation were capitalist states with different security policy situations: Denmark, Iceland (a member since 1955) and Norway, members of NATO, Iceland with a NATO-base that obviously had nuclear weapons (closed in 2006), Sweden and Finland nonaligned countries, but Finland with a cooperation treaty with the Soviet union. Among the first commitments for the member states was a passport union in 1954 that laid the foundation of a common labor market which was an advantage in postwar Europe. Ever since that time the Nordic countries have been associated with an idea of high standards of living and a peaceful disposition. Yes, there is even an idea of a “Nordic dimension” within capitalism, some “nobler” form, for example within the European union. But the Nordic council which since 2017 has an office in Brussels doesn’t differ from other actors.
The Nordic council works with technical committees, foreign and defense policy is handled only by the presidium of the council and defense matters lie completely outside the councils tasks.
The Nordic area is among the most militarized areas in Europe and therefore the peace is threatened by incidents, provocations, treaties, war exercises and confrontations which sooner or later could turn into acts of war. NATO is eager to secure its northern flank by getting Sweden and Finland as members and thus increase the proximity to the Arctic and move its eastern frontier to Russia’s border. In Sweden five right-wing parties are in favor of a NATO-membership and the social democrats, the left party and the greens against. The Sweden democrats have recently switched sides and are now in favor of a membership. In the public opinion there has for a long time been a majority against, but this has shrunk somewhat in recent years. Because Sweden has been hard work for NATO the resistance is being broken with the policy of the small steps which has been implemented by different governments, including the social democrats, who are aware that a direct decision of membership would make the party lose a large part of its voter base. Therefore the social democrats push for political and military cooperation with the equally nonaligned neighbor Finland which however could break apart, given changes in government in any of the countries.
The small steps towards NATO-membership are The partnership for peace (PFF) from 1994, recurring multinational military exercises with NATO, leasing of Swedish territory for international military tests and exercises, North European Aerospace Test Range(NEAT), adoption of NATO standards, host nation support (HNS, 2016), and the defense cooperation Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO, 2017) which Sweden has joined even though the participation was voluntary. To this threats belongs such as when the defense minister of the USA warned the defense minister of Sweden that a Swedish approval of the UNs global ban on nuclear weapons from 2017 would jeopardize NATO support in the event of a conflict. Another form of blackmail is the Swedish defense’s demand for dramatic appropriation increases for the 2020s and 2030s which in turn is to comply with both EU-PESCO and NATO’s demand for its member states to contribute to armaments with two percent of GDP.
The 9th of December 2020 turned into a historical date for the non-aligned (in name only) Swedish foreign- and defense policies when the Sweden democrats joined the proclamation of the liberal and conservative parties to turn to NATO in terms of crisis. Thus, for the first time, there is now a parliamentary majority for doing so.
The host nation treaty with NATO opens Sweden’s territory for deployment of staff, weapons, warships, planes, drones and exercises in times of peace, crisis and war. One article gives NATO permission to use Swedish territory for military activity against a third country. It is now confirmed that two new regiments in Sollefteå and Falun together with the expansion of NATO bases on the Norwegian coast will create logistical prerequisites enabling NATO troops moving east.
Every rearmament in our countries is presented as a necessity due to a changed security political situation in the near area, caused by “threats from Russia”. “The Russian threat” is like a virus that has infected the Swedish military and political establishment while the working peoples immune system, for the moment at least, seems to be stronger. A Russian attack on the Baltic states, an unlikely suicide attempt by any country, is among NATO’s scenarios for war. On the other hand the western imperialism is attracted to free access to the Russian landmass with all its resources, not the limited form that already exists. The fact that two imperialist powers like NATO and Russia share borders in Northern Europe and that the two “nonaligned” buffer states Sweden and Finland offer a fake resistance results in there being an imminent risk of military confrontation.
The Baltic Sea which once developed into a sea of peace as long as there were socialist countries at its shores has become a sea of confrontation. The western imperialism has laid hands on the Baltic states, Sweden especially on Latvia. The Nordic council has established cooperation with the Baltic assembly, a parliamentary cooperation between Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania and in that way expanded the Nordic. The Baltic countries and Poland have become members of NATO, have bases and participates with ever-increasing numbers of soldiers in the recurring Baltops exercises. Latvian Riga has become the site for one of NATOs “excellence centers”, StratCom (NATO Strategic Communications), which deals with cyber defense (or cyber warfare) and hunts “fake news”. German Kiel houses the NATO “center of excellence” for operations in confined and shallow waters in the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. Sweden’s largest island Gotland has received a new regiment. NATO-maneuvers with Swedish and Finnish participation and Russian maneuvers replace one another.
Sweden has a large space-technological industry and plays a considerable role in the European Space Agency (ESA), the European space agency. In Esrange outside Kiruna Swedish space industry is conducted with weather balloons and manufacturing of mini satellites after the recently implemented expansion of the station. Apart from collecting space junk, are mini satellites being built for space war where states attack each other’s satellites? Mini satellites can rid space of orbital debris, but can also attack other satellites. China has demonstrated that this is possible by attacking one of its own satellites. By its own admission to visitors a couple of years ago Esrange works to 60 percent for Sweden and to 40 percent with foreign missions. Esrange is one of the world’s largest downloading stations for maps which go straight through the US spy base Menwith Hill in Yorkshire in Great Britain to the National Security Agency (NSA).
Another actor is the National Defense Radio Establishment (FRA), formed in 1942, with presence on Lovön near Stockholm, Lerkil south of Gothenburg and other places. The FRA-law from 2009 statutes extended possibilities for wire-taping of civilians. Moreover FRA controls the cables under the Baltic Sea. In 2013 the investigative British journalist Duncan Campbell who in the end of the 1980s had exposed Echelon, a global system for satellite surveillance which was run by Five Eyes (USA, Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zeeland) visited Stockholm. At the time of the visit he was analyzing sources from whistle blower Edward Snowden. According to newspaper Dagens Nyheter Campbell said that Sweden developed the FRA-law with help from the US and Great Britain and is one of about 30 countries who have third party agreements with Five Eyes, to an extent like Israel.
Where one can rightly speak of a new dimension for the Cap of the North is the development in the Arctic with warming-up and melting sea- and mainland ice and the consequences for the concerned countries. It is effects on sea routes, transport routes, deposits of gas, oil and rare metals, fishing waters, contamination, military activities and the living conditions of the coastal population. Eight countries and six bodies of indigenous peoples (one of them the Sami) formed in 1996 the Arctic Council through the Ottawa declaration which statutes protection of the arctic environment, sustainable development and improvement of the arctic inhabitants economic, social and cultural life. It is about a challenge which would need an international cooperation without national egotistical interests. Considering the strong competing interests this is not conceivable. Nobody talks about the military aspects but we experience more and more military maneuvers in arctic setting and on the Thule base on Greenland, on Norwegian Vardö and on Svalbard which according to international treaty shall be demilitarized, there exists military installations. These function firstly for satellite navigation which the Norwegian journalist Bård Wormdal has written books about. The orbit for satellites lay best from pole to pole. And note that no warfare today take place without satellite support.
The Arctic Ocean is also the access road for Russia’s nuclear powered northern fleet, stationed on the Kola Peninsula.
The Nordic council of ministers arctic cooperation was renewed through an arctic cooperation program for the time 1:st January 2018 to 31:st December 2021. The content is described as “Planet, Peoples, Prosperity and Partnership” and shall bond with the UNs 17 global goals.
It’s not just the communist parties that see and worries about the increasing militarization. Peace on Earth is an ancient human longing. Capitalism stands against this longing, and drives the develoment towards war, notably fueled by the armaments industry like Lockheed Martin, United Technologies Corporation, Boeing, BAE Systems, Kongsberg, Patria Oyj, Saab and Bofors/BAE, just to name a few. The peace movements countless divided organizations, networks and initiatives also finds out what happens and acts but there is no anticapitalist inference. The communist parties who see the war as the capitalism’s/imperialism’s utmost consequence must still not take a defeatist, exhausted stance but should contribute to maturation of the popular war resistance. The peace movement rejects contact with the communists and red banners but has a presence on the internet and can be reached. Therefore our parties needs to fill their slogans No to Nato and EU with content through examples and analyses. Within the Swedish peace movement broad consensus prevails around a nuclear weapon free zone, nonalignment, peoples- and territorial defense and the military’s environmental impact. The communists should struggle against rampant defense spending. The billions are created by the working class and should rightfully be returned to it.