Aki-Mauri Huhtinen estimates that at the moment, Russian propaganda about Finland does not influence citizens of the neighboring country very effectively.
Finland’s propaganda spread by Russia among its citizens has taken a new direction. In the past, Finland was seen in Russia as a benevolent neighbor with whom things were as they should be, but now “exportable” Finland was exploited and annexed into NATO, Says Lieutenant Colonel Aki-Mauri Huhtinen. Military Professor at National Defense University.
According to Huutinen, the current narrative of the Kremlin’s propaganda machine is that Finland has lost good and warm relations with partner country Finland as a result of being “dragged” into the defense alliance.
– The Kremlin should explain to Russian citizens why Finland joined NATO if neighborhood relations were so good. Of course, the story is not that Russia itself has behaved aggressively and is waging a full-scale war in Ukraine, but rather that Finland has gone wing, according to the original story, said Huutinen, who taught at Metropolia University of Applied Sciences’ joint theme. The day was talked about when the University of Science and National Defense opened in Ilta-Sanom on Tuesday.
As a rule, Russia directs its propaganda at its own citizens. Huutinen says state television channels are the main mediators of the Kremlin’s message in the country.
– A large mainstream audience and especially slightly older ones watch a lot of television there. He says that major news anchors and publicists sometimes bring up issues related to Finland on television.
Russia is closely watching how the Russian-speaking minority in Finland reacts to the ongoing events. According to Huhtinen, the minority has been used as a subject of propaganda: for example, claims have been spread in Russia that the minority will receive bad treatment in Finland.
According to Huutinen, Russia prefers to use its citizens living outside its country’s borders as a tool for its propaganda, as the minority is a major means of influence. Huhtinen says that so far, the promotion in question has not been very effective.
According to Huhtinen, other Finnish propaganda has also not, at least so far, achieved significant proportions in Russia.
– You have to understand that here in Finland the news is quite sensitive about cases where something is said about us in Russia. Nevertheless, the promotion is relatively modest in Russia, and its number of followers may also be quite small. We still don’t see a promotion that can effectively penetrate the entire population, says Huhtinen.
– At present, Finland is not a very interesting place in the eyes of Russia. Of course, after Finland became a full member of NATO, we are no longer perceived in Russia as just Finland, but as part of NATO, which is Russia’s enemy, he adds.
According to Huhtinen, if the borders between Finland and Russia remain closed and Russians are not allowed to visit Finland, propaganda could begin to harass Russians more effectively. In this case, negotiations break down, and Russians miss out on practical experiences in Finland.
Bubbling will be a huge concern in the future.
– If we continue like this for years or decades, propaganda starts to become very effective. Russians do not get the opportunity to visit Finland and see that things are fine here and they are treated impeccably here too. This bubble will be a huge concern in the future. The only information these people have comes from the media, with no personal experience.
Huhtinen does not believe that Russian propaganda will weaken in the future. According to him, the range of country’s mixed means includes economic, political, diplomatic as well as influences related to the information environment. According to Huhtinen, this is a very cost-effective way to influence Finnish society.
Among other things, Russia is trying to influence Finnish elections and election candidates and is looking for opinion influencers in the country who believe in the message put out by Russia.
– Among other things, Russia monitors the general climate of our society and engages in informational harassment. It seeks fights and polarization in our society. It’ll keep doing that and it’s really good at it.
Huhtinen says it remains to be seen whether Russian propaganda about Finland will become more violent in the future.
– We are now living in a new time, and we are getting used to the fact that there is more and more propaganda and lies, distortion, distortion of the truth, and so-called useless information among the useful information. This means we need to invest more in media literacy.
Russian propagandists want us to be outraged and outraged by their claims. In this way we ourselves spread their lies.
According to Huhtinen, it is important for those who use the media to know how to move between different channels and try to interpret whether a certain statement spread by Russia originated from Finland, for example, From a small social media conversation. Such statements did not necessarily receive wide attention in Russia.
– We should try to find out whether something said in Russia is aimed at us or at the Russians. Then we have to see how this message spreads. If it doesn’t spread much in Russia then it doesn’t need to make big headlines in Finland. This issue is also the responsibility of the media and its creators.
– Russian propagandists want us to be outraged and outraged by their claims. Huutinen concludes that in this way we ourselves spread their lies.