Russia as the Subconsciousness of Finland

Journal article

Medvedev, Sergei (1999) Russia as the Subconsciousness of Finland, Security Dialogue 30 (1): 95–107.

The Russian theme in Finland, and in the West writ large, is familiar enough: it is a scene of snow and steppe, wild expanses, the fearsome primeval chaos. Russia is nature as opposed to culture, entropy as opposed to order - and also Asia as opposed to Europe. In Finland, the East-West and Europe-Asia themes have become intensified and dramatized by relations of contiguity, dependency and self-determination. In reality the 'Russian threat' has receded dramatically, but it is still deeply rooted in the collective mind. The ongoing NATO debates in Finland, in which the lucrative prospects of membership encounter the inherent reluctance to disturb Russia, reveal the nature of this psychological dependence. The taboo still prevails - even as a new generation of Finns are taking the stage, a generation who cannot relate the fear of Russia to their personal experiences. The geopsychological situation into which Finland was born remains essentially unchanged: just as any person lives on the border of his own subconsciousness, Finland dwells on the border with Russia. Now the time has come for a critical deconstruction of the Russia theme in the Finnish mind, for a demystification of Finland's 'historical memories' and the 'Russian threat'. of the East-West and the 'clash of civilizations' narratives.

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