The Nordic Self and the Russian Other : Russia in Nordic Security Discourses after 2014

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Title: The Nordic Self and the Russian Other : Russia in Nordic Security Discourses after 2014
Author: af Hällström, Matilda
Other contributor: Helsingin yliopisto, Valtiotieteellinen tiedekunta, Politiikan ja talouden tutkimuksen laitos
University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Political and Economic Studies
Helsingfors universitet, Statsvetenskapliga fakulteten, Institutionen för politik och ekonomi
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2016
Language: eng
Thesis level: master's thesis
Discipline: Poliittinen historia
Political History
Politisk historia
Abstract: “The Nordic Model is dead” the Finnish Prime Minister Esko Aho said in 1997. The Nordic identity which originated during the Cold War experienced an ontological crisis with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the end of the bipolar world order. In the 1990’s discourses of Europeanisation emerged and the Nordic identity was by many deemed a Cold War construct. Since the middle of the 2000s Nordic cooperation gained a stronghold where it previously had not existed: within security cooperation. The overall re-emergence of Nordic cooperation took place in parallel with the growing Russian superpower ambitions. Since 2009 there have been more notable advances in Nordic security cooperation through the establishment of the Nordic Defence Cooperation (NORDEFCO) and the signing of the Nordic Declaration of Solidarity. These advances are remarkable because security has previously been a non-issue in the construction of the Nordic identity. The inclusion of security and defence cooperation in the Nordic identity can be labelled paradigmatic. The theoretical approach is one of poststructuralist discourse analysis, which advocates a reality completely constructed in discourse and rejects any pre-existent identities. The premise is that the self is constructed in discourse through the articulation of a number of others. This Thesis is concerned with how Russia is constructed in Nordic security discourses and how it contributes to a Nordic identity. The primary sources consist of four reports published in Finland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark respectively. The foreign, security and defence policy reports are either written or commissioned by the respective governments. Similar reports from before the Russian annexation are used to support the primary data and allows for a deeper understanding about how discourses about Russia have shifted. The study shows that Russia has replaced economic benefits as the primary incentive for Nordic cooperation. The focus of Nordic cooperation has shifted its focus from the global to the regional and the Baltic Sea Region is increasingly important. The discourses clearly reject the Cold War identity of the “Third Way” between the two poles of the bipolar system. Rather the Nordic identity is integrated in the Western security and value community. It is also notable that despite this, the Nordic countries’ views on Russia, the world and the near vicinity differ. History, geopolitics and membership in NATO and/or EU play a big role in shaping the respective national understanding of security. The differing understandings of security represent the biggest obstacle for Nordic security and defence cooperation. The Thesis also discusses the role of hybrid warfare, NATO and norms and values in the othering of Russia in Nordic identity construction.
Subject: Nordic countries
Cold War

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