The governor of the Leningrad Region, Alexander Drozdenko, expressed his opinion on Finland’s accession to NATO to Daily Storm. He believes that Finland will suffer greatly from joining NATO, because the Finnish economy is too closely connected with the Russian one.
“The decisions [on joining NATO] that they have made today — they may not feel it so quickly, but in a year they will affect the economy and the well-being of every Finn,” he said.
Drozdenko also added that Russia supplied “cheap energy resources” to Finland, and Finland exported oil refining, timber and furniture industry goods to Russia.
“We sent cheap energy resources there, we actively bought products that Finns produce, and we also created opportunities for preferential flight in the Russian sky through the Russian territory of Finnair […] the pulp and paper industry, the oil refining industry, the forestry, furniture industry, air transportation, cargo, automobile transportation and tourism – everything, what gives Finland revenue to the budget, it was all focused on Russia,” the governor noted.
In addition, Drozdenko emphasized Finland’s dependence on the economy of the Leningrad Region. The Saimaa Canal (a shipping channel between Lake Saimaa in Finland and Vyborg Bay in Russia) is an important link in the supply chain between the countries.
“Let’s not forget about the Saimaa Canal, which is the property of the Russian Federation. Only recently, we have completed negotiations on the extension of the lease agreement on the Saimaa Canal, which is a logistics channel for the southern regions of Finland. If they don’t like it, then they think they don’t need it. Let them make the appropriate decision,” he said.
Drozdenko expressed the opinion that Finland’s decision to become a member of NATO is only a loud statement by its authorities and is unlikely to lead to concrete actions, adding that final conclusions about the consequences of this step can be made only after the country joins the alliance.
The governor said that he had always considered Finns friends of Russia, and called them kind and reasonable neighbors. However, he suggested that against the background of the current political situation, the emotions of the citizens of the country could take over their minds.
Drozdenko concluded that the final consequences of Finland’s accession to NATO will be known later, so he advised Finland, if the country joins the bloc, to do it at least in a limited way, that is, become a member, but not place military bases on its territory and not conduct joint exercises with NATO countries.