The Washington PostThe Washington Post

How Finland went from neutral to NATO

By Adam Taylor

04 Apr 2023 · 4 min read

Editor's Note

Finland is finally joining NATO today, more than 70 years after the alliance was created. The move will transform Europe’s security landscape and expand Russia’s border with NATO, as the Post reports.

Western nations founded NATO in 1949 as a means of collective security against the Soviet Union and its allies. But for more than 70 years, two European countries - Finland and Sweden - declined to join the alliance, instead pursuing careful Cold War policies of neutrality and nonalignment.

After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, both Finland and Sweden abandoned those policies and formally requested to join NATO. Finland is set to join NATO as its 31st member on Tuesday. It's a move that will transform Europe's security landscape and expand Russia's border with NATO. Finland will also gain protection under the alliance's Article 5 collective defense mechanism.

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