Finland, on the northern edge of Europe and with a population of fewer than 5.5 million, may not seem an obvious player in struggles of geopolitics. But being situated in the shadow of its giant neighbour, Russia, has meant that the country has been inevitably drawn into the world of hybrid warfare. Helsinki was the focus of global attention as the venue of the summit between Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump, with questions inevitably raised over claims that the Russian president had placed his man in the White House through manipulation of the US election. Away for the limelight Helsinki has become the base for a major cyber-defence programme for the west with the establishment of the Nato-backed European Centre for Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threat, which has received funding and resources from the US, Britain, France and Nordic states.
On a visit to London last week Antti Hakkanen, the Finnish justice minister, warned that the problem of cyber warfare is going to continue growing and stressed the urgent need for a new international alliance to combat it.
“New horizons have opened for those who want to misuse the freedoms provided by the new media environment. I am afraid we are only beginning to learn how to cope with these new challenges. The risk is we are constantly one step behind,” he said.
“There is a need for a broad coalition among countries which share the same values like the US, the European Union states and Britain to stand together when we have other countries like Russia, China and Iran which do not have the same values.