Last autumn, Prime Minister Sanna Marin obtained parliamentary unanimity from the Eduskunta, so Finland is now building the 260-kilometre steel fence along the border with Russia. It is the first construction site, as the aim is to ‘protect’ the more than 1300 kilometres of border. The war in Ukraine and NATO membership are pushing Helsinki to protect itself in every way from Moscow, and in Finland work has now started with the felling of trees and the construction of the road. The ‘pilot project’ at the south-eastern border crossing is beginning to take shape in Pelkola, a town in the city of Imatra (population 28000), along the bank of the Vuoksi River. The new wall will lengthen to the southeast, while the first 200 kilometres will cost 380 million: three metres high, barbed wire at the top, lights and cameras on even at night. Work along the Russian border should be completed by June 2026. A political choice: Defence Minister Pekka Haavisto had declared that Russian citizens on Finnish territory amounted to 40000 and that ‘the war in Ukraine has radically changed our security situation’. The other side of the coin is the farewell to the claims on Karelia, one of the 22 republics of the Russian Federation with about 600000 inhabitants and a Finnish ethnic-linguistic group spread not only in the capital Petrozavodsk: the securitarian line, espoused by Sanna Marin (37, leader of the Social Democratic Party, in government for three years) prevails. This is an instrument to ensure adequate border control in the years to come: the project proposed by the Border Guard enjoys broad support. After all, Helsinki has already closed its borders to Russian tourists, in line with the Baltic States and Poland.
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