Goodbye to Russia, Russia and Russia!: Finland’s New NATO Chapter Within the Framework of Shelter Theory


Uluslararasi Iliskiler, vol.21, no.81, pp.27-44, 2024 (SSCI) identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 21 Issue: 81
  • Publication Date: 2024
  • Doi Number: 10.33458/uidergisi.1422951
  • Journal Name: Uluslararasi Iliskiler
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, International Bibliography of Social Sciences, Historical Abstracts, Index Islamicus, Political Science Complete, vLex, Worldwide Political Science Abstracts, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.27-44
  • Keywords: foreign policy behavior, hard security, shelter theory, small states, Ukraine-Russia war
  • Galatasaray University Affiliated: Yes


One significant impact on the international system of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine War has been Finland’s NATO membership. This article suggests that Baldur Thorhallsson’s shelter theory is the most suitable explanation for Finland’s decision. According to the theory, an alliance relationship with NATO will remedy the lack of hard security shelter of a state categorized as a small state in the literature. Many experts believe that this is a pragmatic choice by Finland against the Russian threat. On the other hand, Finland has a long history with Russia and is known for its neutral and peaceful policies, trying to establish a balance between East and West. For the above-mentioned reasons, membership in NATO is a much more difficult decision than it seems on the surface. In this framework, this article will first explain the place of Thorhallsson’s theory in International Relations. Then, Finland’s general foreign policy choices will be examined in light of current shelter relationships. Finally, in presenting the country’s history with NATO, it will focus on the potential consequences of the membership.