The Western point of view on Russian foreign policy
On April 3, Prof. Arto Mustajoki, University of Helsinki, participated in the “Culture matters” seminar.
Mustajoki has facilitated a discussion on the Western point of view on contemporary Russian foreign policy. Mustajoki is a Finnish slavist, he teaches Russian language and Russian literature at the university of Helsinki and advocates for a better understanding of Russian language and culture in Finland. According to Mustajoki, the perceptions of Russia in Finland are heavily affected by stereotypes, both negative and positive. Mustajoki stated his personal point of view, which is that Russia will remain Finland’s neighbor regardless of political uncertainties, and expressed his belief that political and business circles in Finland are relatively free from prejudice about Russia, and are able to see both the positives and the negatives. Mustajoki has told the participants that the events in Crimea are actively discussed in Finland and that the presentation of Russia’s point of view is relatively unbiased – for example, the most prominent Finnish newspaper has published Putin’s speech on the accession of Crimea in full. Mustajoki has also described his effort aimed at developing russo-finnish relations, including his textbook of Russian language and work in “pre-conflict” zones, such as Georgia, Crimea, and Transnistria.