BOLDYREVA S.Yu., BOLDYREV R.Yu. Political Discussions on Admission of Neutral Countries of the Arctic Region to NATO in the 1990s – 2000s: Inclusion or a Limited Neutrality?

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.6.11

Slavyana Yu. Boldyreva

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor of Department of Area Studies, International Relations and Political Science,

Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov,

Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, 17, 163002 Arkhangelsk, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0677-6312

Roman Yu. Boldyrev

Candidate of Sciences (History), Associate Professor of Department of World History,

Northern (Arctic) Federal University named after M.V. Lomonosov,

Naberezhnaya Severnoy Dviny, 17, 163002 Arkhangelsk, Russian Federation

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4262-7285


Abstract. Introduction. Sweden and Finland obtain a special position within NATO strategy towards neutral states. The purpose of the paper is to analyze the background and perspectives for Sweden and Finland to join NATO in the 1990s – 2000s. This issue appeared on the top of agenda after these countries had entered the EU, and right after the Baltic states became members of NATO.

Finland started to distant itself from Russia in 1990-1992, right after recognizing itself free from military and technical limitations set in the Peace treaty signed in 1947 and gaining an ability to arrange political and military alliances with other countries. Joining the Alliance has first appeared on the Finnish political agenda in the first half of the 1990s, though the political elite of Finland defining its practical relations with NATO also took into consideration the position of Russia since both countries had a long joint terrestrial border and close economic relations. Sweden started revising its foreign policy vector in 1991. The governing elite had an active discussion which ended with a compromise decision on preserving the neutral status of the country alongside with enforcing its defensive capacities.

Since 1992, Finland and Sweden became participants of various agreements with NATO. Their armed forces and armaments systems have adopted the NATO standards, and have been working out their practical interaction during the joint military maneuvers and within Partnership for Peace program. In 2009 Nordic defense cooperation emerged, including three NATO participants – Iceland, Norway and Denmark. In April 2014 they signed an agreement on close military cooperation.

Results. We can state without any doubt that Finland and Sweden would join NATO only when they face a real threat towards themselves. Russian policy in the region can be a trigger for that. After Crimea annexed Russia, the amount of advocates of joining NATO increased. Nevertheless, they still remain a minority. In this situation a referendum on joining NATO appears to have no perspectives. On the contrary, we should mark that both countries became involved into “crawling” integration into NATO structures: alongside with official Partnership for Peace program it takes place in the official European integration institutions. After joining the EU in 1995 Sweden and Finland are obliged to obey the joint European security and foreign policies, i.e. arranging their military and foreign policies with basic principles and directives developed jointly with other EU members, who are also participants of NATO. Thus, neutrality of these two states becomes a phantom, especially towards Russia.

Key words: neutrality, non-alignment policy, finlandization, preventive diplomacy, NATO, EU.

Citation. Boldyreva S.Yu., Boldyrev R.Yu. Political Discussions on Admission of Neutral Countries of the Arctic Region to NATO in the 1990s – 2000s: Inclusion or a Limited Neutrality? Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4, Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2018, vol. 23, no. 6, pp. 146-153. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2018.6.11.

Лицензия Creative Commons

Political Discussions on Admission of Neutral Countries of the Arctic Region to NATO in the 1990s – 2000s: Inclusion or a Limited Neutrality? by Boldyreva S.Yu., Boldyrev R.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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