Putin is visiting Helsinki this week to meet our President, Sauli Niinistö on Thursday 21.8.2019.
Finland has always maintained an open and pragmatic dialogue withRussian leaders. As neighbours and as important trading partners we both know that maintaining a polite but firm dialogue is both possible and useful.
The national newspapers have naturally been carrying some interesting comments for Mr. Niinistö and from a well respected economist here, Professor Sixten Korkman.
The President is quoted as saying that, “There is a time and a place for both ways. There are situations where raising your profile and visibility are important. There are also situations where it is wiser to present things behind the scenes in silence.”
According to him, that does not mean avoiding difficult things, but focusing on results.
“If our international position and security, or the human rights situation elsewhere, for example, improve by publicly criticising others, then it is definitely worth doing. But usually we can do more by doing things differently. ”
The Presdient then went on to explain that he thought that the triangle of the 3 great powers, Washington, Beijing and Moscow must be closely monitored, especially as the European Union is under pressure from the triangle. He finished by saying that Finland’s direct contact with these 3 countries invaluable.
Professor Sixten Korkman, for his part discussed the subject matter of last summer’s FT article with Putin. Putin said that liberalism was an old-fashioned idea and one that is being sent to the land fill. Populists in Italy, France, Poland and Finland share that opinion.
The professor pointed out that countries that have embraced liberal democracy have done well with higher standards of living and better the domestic policies to meet the demand of liberalism.
However in the final part of his article he made an uncharacteristically stern warning, saying that Donald Trump is a more serious problem as a populist president of the world’s greatest country:
“Trump does not shy away from trade wars and is fueling international crises. Trump opposes measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He is deliberately seeking to exacerbate the clashes between different populations. His value world stinks.”
Both men certainly put global politics into perspective here!
Photo: Wikipedia Commons