Finnish military preparing 900,000 reservists for 'crisis situation'

Gabriel92

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The Finnish Defence Forces are to send letters to all 900,000 of the country's reservists at the beginning of this month, informing them what their role would be in a "crisis situation", causing a row over whether such a move is necessary.

Finland, with its population of 5.2 million, has a small professional army of 16,000. Yet in the event of mobilisation, Finland could call on its former conscripts to fight. Finland's wartime military strength is 230,000.

According to local media reports, the decision was announced via a television advert, telling the nation's reservists "We want to have a word with you", and warning former conscripts that "Conscription is the cornerstone of Finland's defence capability."

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The letter will reportedly inform reservists between the ages of 20-60 what their role would be in a "crisis situation". The letter also asks them to send up-to-date details of their whereabouts.

The director of communications of the Finnish Defence Forces, Mika Kalliomaa, denied any link to a threat from Russia, with whom Finland shares a 1,300km (800 mile) border. "The sending out of these letters to our reservists has no connection to the security situation around Finland," he said. "We are simply keeping ties with our reservists and asking them what their role would be in an instance of war, and asking them if there is new knowledge we should know about. There is no link to any threat from Russia."

Last year, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said in an interview with the Washington Post: "We have a long history with Russia — not that peaceful all the time. So everything the Russians are doing, surely the Finns notice and think very carefully about what that might mean."

In the case of the recent air incursions, he said, the message was clear: "They were testing how we'd react." Finland boosted the readiness of its airforce following an increase in Russian incursions into its airspace.

According to Peter Iiskola, a former Finnish district court judge and journalist, it is the first time such a letter has been sent out. "It is extraordinary and is clearly intended to make people feel there is a Russian threat and that 'pre-mobilization' steps must be taken," he says. Yet Iiskola believes that rather than responding to a genuine threat from Russia, the Finnish military is hoping to instigate panic and encourage the newly-formed government to spend more on defence.

Similar rumours surfaced earlier this week, after Finland's navy dropped depth charges in waters near Helsinki as a warning to what they believed to be a foreign submarine.

While the Finnish defence minister refused to be drawn on whether the submarine was Russian or not, the media quickly drew that conclusion.

"They haven't said it was Russia but who else would it be?" says Patrik Oksanen, political editor of Sweden's Hudiksvalls Tidning newspaper. "It's Russia. It's logical it was Russian. It's also not in Finnish national interests to make this story well known. Their track record response on these sorts of matters is to handle it without having it public while it happens and then a have a low level of debate. They would have preferred for it to be a non-story, although Finland is well aware they need to increase spending, and need public opinion for that."

Finland's new coalition administration was formed between the Centre party and the Finns, Finland's two leading pro-defence parties. Both parties are staunchly anti-Nato, andreports suggest they will raise defence spending considerably.

Finland is not a Nato member, but it has strengthened its ties with the Western military alliance since the crisis in Ukraine erupted. Public opinion is against joining Nato, according to polls conducted last year.

In contrast to the newly formed government, a huge pro-Nato campaign is underway from the country's military chiefs, according to Iiskola. "In case you do not get a real war, then you at least get more money for the defence," he remarks.

Jon Hellevig, a Finnish political analyst based in Moscow, agrees, and likens the event to a hunt for a submarine in Sweden's waters last, year. The hunt made international headlines, and Sweden, which is also not a Nato member, vowed to raise its defence spending as a result, which it did this year, by 10.2 billion kronor (€1.1 billion).

Yet it later emerged that the sighting was a Swedish fishing boat. "The media and some politicians and the military play up these stories. For countries to join Nato, they have to convince people that Russia is a threat," concludes Hellevig.

"Sweden has hunted alleged Russian subs for 20 years and increased its military spending after fears have been raised in the press. But nothing has ever been found."

But Oksanen said the Finnish navy's response had been a low key signal to Russia, designed to send the message that "'we have spotted you and are warning you to get out of here' without trying to make any more fuss than that".
Finnish military preparing 900,000 reservists for 'crisis situation'
 
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I wander what the receivers will think of this and this could also disrupt plans as well and strange that this has occured and from how it is going it could lead some to think a attack will happen anytime soon. I hope that people get answers and also, don't get too worried over this and hope it works out well and I wander was there a need to do this. They should focus more on the defense of the country against invaders and hope they don't stop fixing the defense and needs to be strong as well.
 
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Nothing special here. The reserve is (and has always been) the main defence of Finland, and people in the reserve do participate in scheduled training once in a while etc. This is just a letter designed to give those reservists a bit more information, that's it.

I guess this might seem "agressive" or something to that extent for a country that doesn't have a conscript system. But in a country where most men have military training, a simple letter is nothing to be worried about.
 
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