In the last months of 2019, Finland experienced a surge in public love for nationalists, especially for the Perussuomalaiset party, which is the main opposition force in the country’s parliament. However, a rather small, but not less effective is “Suomen Sisu” organization, whose members take part in many street actions and carry out educational work with the inhabitants of Finland on the threats and challenges of the modern world. So, Denis Kovaliov from Ukrainian internet-newspaper “Sichovyk” talked with the newly elected leader of this organization Henri Hautamäki about important and common topics for us.
D.K. – What is your organization, its ideology, goals and objectives? You can tell a short story of its existence (from the foundation to today with the most active actions).
H.H. – Suomen Sisu is the main nationalist organization in Finland. Founded in 1998, the organization seeks to preserve the Finnish people, Finnish culture and Finnish independence. Suomen Sisu is a network of nationalists in different parts of the society, and mainly acts by wielding metapolitical influence
D.K. – You have recently been elected chairman of the organization, what are you going to do now? After all, the course that your predecessor and MP Olli Immonen in the early 2010s was quite productive.
H.H. – As the new chairman, my primary goal is to get more publicity to the organization. Another challenge is to ensure that the work done by the members of our organization serves a coherent strategic goal to maximize our political and cultural influence.
D.K. – Finnish right-wing and Finnish nationalists for most Europeans are associated, if not with the Perussuomalaiset (which is true), then with the Suomen vastarintaliike (which raises certain questions and doubts). Is it possible to say that the nationalist or generally right-wing movement in Finland is fragmented, and therefore there has not yet been a joint struggle of its representatives against common enemies (liberals, left-wing forces, government, migrants, Russian agents of influence), although such a trend does exist?
H.H. – The nationalist scene in Finland is somewhat fragmented, with differing views on many key issues, such as Russia, the importance of ethnicity and race, et cetera. However, different groups share some goals, such as limiting immigration and the influence of the European Union within Finland. As for political parties, Perussuomalaiset is currently the only stable and large political party which has incorporated nationalist themes in its policies.
D.K. – Suomen Sisu and Perussuomalaiset Nuoret are as two halves of one whole, both in ideology, in rhetoric, and in methods of dealing with various threats to Finland. Is it right to think so, because your organization is non-partisan and non-partisan, and Perussuomalaiset Nuoret is a youth structure that is subordinated on the Perussuomalaiset party?
H.H. – Suomen Sisu and Perussuomalaiset Nuoret share a large part of the same goals and ideology. They aren’t identical however, even though many members of Perussuomalaiset Nuoret are also members of Suomen Sisu. It could be said that by this association, Suomen Sisu wields some ideological influence within Perussuomalaiset Nuoret, but the organizations remain independent in their decision-making.
D.K. – According to the latest ratings, Finland is one of the three leading countries, where is a real democracy, freedom of speech and opinion reign. However, only those who advocate multiculturalism, gender ideology and tolerance can enjoy these freedoms, so to speak. Tell please, how are you really doing in this situation?
H.H. – The current legislation and the dominance of Marxist and liberal influence does make life somewhat difficult for nationalists, who can even be prosecuted for saying “wrong” things about foreign ethnic groups and immigrants. Even so, most nationalists are so dedicated to their cause that the system has no real chance of silencing the movement.
D.K. – It is known that Suomen Sisu stands for close relations between states between the three seas — the Baltic, Black and Adriatic (the so-called Union of Intermarium) — especially with the problem of Russian aggression in Ukraine and the strengthening of the Brussels and Strasbourg bureaucracy on participants the European Union. How do you see the development of this region in the Helsinki-Zagreb-Kyiv triangle against the new challenges of the time?
H.H. – The situation in the Intermarium-region is deteriorating because France and Germany don’t seem to have much interest in using harsher methods to limit the increase of Russian influence. The future is dependent on whether the countries within the Intermarium can build a strong basis in both the military and economic spheres to limit the effect of Russian threats and hybrid warfare.
D.K. – Given that the interview is designed for a Ukrainian reader, I would like to know what the leadership and ordinary activists of Suomen Sisu think about Maidan (2013-2014), the Russian annexation of Crimea and the war in the Donbas? It is no secret that most European nationalists and right-wingers support the Kremlin’s aggressive actions in Ukraine and send their volunteers to the Ukrainian East.
H.H. – In my opinion, most members of Suomen Sisu consider the actions of Russia in Ukraine to be morally wrong. Individuals might have different views on the situation, but the majority stands against Russian aggression. The leadership is rather well informed on the situation, and many have personal ties to Ukrainian nationalist organizations.
D.K. – In the context of the new territorial expansion, we recall in passing your latest statements about the return of the lands of East Karelia and the Petsamo region lost to the Winter War and Continuation War. Is it advisable now to demand from Russia the return of the occupied territories devastated by it, for which you will have to pay from the pocket of ordinary citizens of Finland? The question is that for Ukrainians it is just as painful as the return of Crimea, or for the Germans the return of Königsberg.
H.H. – I consider the retaking or regaining of lost territories a matter of honor. Rebuilding the infrastructure in the Russian-decimated regions will of course be expensive, but it can be done on a flexible time-table. As for the current population, I would only take the regions back to Finland the same way they were given over to Russia: empty.
D.K. – As the newly elected leader of Suomen Sisu, do you think that there are good reasons for Ukraine and Finland, and with us the Baltic countries, to be able to overcome the internal enemy separately (in each country it’s different), but at the same time, together had the opportunity to repulse the external (talking about Russia)? After all, it was this country for years, even centuries, that was a threat to both Europe and European civilization as a whole, with its obsessive messianic idea — from Orthodox tsarist absolutism and Slavism to the Bolshevik revolution and Eurasianism (ideology invented by Alexander Dugin).
H.H. – Russia is, has been and will be a threat to Finland. Unity in resisting Russian aggression is a matter of communication. The public needs to be educated on the matter, and in a way that doesn’t allow liberals to hijack Russia-criticism as a tool against nationalism.