For more than a year, the Russian Federation has been flying combat and surveillance aircraft – with transponders off – over the Baltic Sea approaching and occasionally entering Finnish and Swedish airspace. Such dangerous and provocative actions have come with no prior warning. In response, these two Nordic countries signed an agreement with NATO to increase cooperation and interoperability – meant to send a warning to the Russians. Finland has an 833 mile border with Russia, the Finns have fought innumerable wars with its much larger neighbor but have also managed to convince the Russians that a Russian military invasion of Finland is simply too costly. The post-World War II policy of Finlandization ended quietly with the demise of the Soviet Union as Finland joined the Council of Europe, the European Union and NATO’s Partners for Peace thereafter.

Finland has excellent Russian experts who follow Russian politics and intentions carefully. Dr. Iivonen is one of the most experienced. How does he view the changing landscape across Finland’s Eastern border? What is his assessment of Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin and its short and long term foreign policy goals and objectives in the Baltic region and beyond?


The Speakers

Jyrki LivonenDirector for Public Policy at the Finnish Ministry of Defense until September, 2013.
Dr. Jyrki Iivonen was Director for Public Policy at the Finnish Ministry of Defense until he retired in September 2013. He is a Russian-Soviet and political military specialist who has taught political science and international relations at the Universities of Helsinki and Tampere and is a columnist for the Finnish newspaper Kaleva. From 1996 to 2000, he was Minister Counselor for Security Defense Policy at the Finnish Embassy in Washington, DC. Before joining the Ministry of Defense in 1994, he worked as senior research fellow at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, specializing in Soviet/Russian and East European Affairs


St. John’s College, Junior Commons Room. On March 9, 2015, from 12:00 noon to 2:00 pm

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The Visitors Parking Lot is on your left as you enter campus. A few handicapped parking spaces are located at the Visitor’s Circle right in front of the fishpond area and below the Peterson Student Center. A few more are located behind the Peterson Center as follows. Just before the Visitor’s Circle, look for the fork in the road where you would normally drive to the left to get to the Visitors’ Parking Circle just below the Peterson Center. Instead, turn right and follow the drive up to the other parking area. There are two or three handicapped parking spaces on the left. Please note that this parking lot is not open to the public, but handicapped folks are allowed to park in the designated spaces.