The joint statement of the President and Prime Minister of Finland on the country's intention to join NATO, made on May 12, is only the first and far from the main step towards official membership in the alliance. At the same time, a rather fragile ground – public opinion capable of changing at any moment once influenced by various factors, has been chosen by Finland used to pursue a military non-alignment policy, as the main argument in favor of joining the military-political bloc.
Indeed, surveys show that today more than 70% of Finnish citizens support joining NATO. However, this indicator is mainly based on emotions related to the situation in Ukraine, and not real threats to the security of their state. For decades, membership in NATO was approved by no more than 30% of Finns, even early this year, only about a quarter of the country's residents were ready to support such decision. And this means that by joining the alliance, Helsinki can become a hostage to the situation: the special military operation in Ukraine will end sometime, emotions will subside, public opinion will return to its previous positions, and the commitments made in connection with NATO membership and the strained relations with Russia will remain. There is no doubt that this contradiction will be actively used for a long time in the internal political struggle in Finland itself.
It is significant that no referendum is planned on the most important issue for the state. After all, this may force many voters to take the fateful choice much more seriously, to weigh all arguments for and against Finland's accession to NATO.