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The threat of Russian intelligence and malign influence remains elevated in Finland

Publication date 26.3.2024 10.00
Press release
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The threat of Russian intelligence and malign influence activities has remained elevated despite deteriorating conditions for human intelligence operations. No significant changes have occurred in the threat of terrorism faced by Finland.

Russia’s actions remain the greatest threat to Finland's national security, with Russia treating Finland as unfriendly state, and as a target for espionage and malign influence activities. NATO membership nevertheless protects Finland from the most forceful measures. The main goals of Russian influence operations targeting Finland are to create a deterrent and to affect the nature of Finnish NATO membership.

While counterintelligence work, expulsions of intelligence officers and a strict visa policy enabled Finland to undermine conditions for Russian human intelligence last year, intelligence operations remain a threat. In particular, these operations may target Finnish people who still travel or reside in Russia, or Finnish citizens in third countries.

The cyber environment and critical infrastructure are especially susceptible to an elevated threat of influence and espionage operations. Massive influence operations that seek to paralyse the normal operation of national critical infrastructure within the territory of Finland remain unlikely in the short term.

Weaponised immigration is a way for Russia to indicate its dissatisfaction with Finland’s NATO membership and generally to show the consequences of actions Russia perceives as unfriendly. 

Supo's assessment is that Russia has no reason to modify its border policy in the near future.

“This is a long-term threat, it is an easy way for Russia to keep Finland on its toes”, Supo Acting Director Teemu Turunen explains.

Russia changed its established Finnish border policy last autumn, and began giving people access to border crossing points without appropriate travel documents.

No significant changes have occurred in the threat of terrorism faced by Finland

This threat remains at level two (elevated) on the four-point scale. The most likely threat of a terrorist attack in Finland comes from lone operators or small groups advocating far-right or radical Islamist ideology. Radicalisation in Finland will probably also increasingly affect minors.

The threat of a terrorist attack in Europe motivated by radical Islamism has intensified over the past year. Growth of this threat depends in particular on incidents of burning the Quran in Europe, and on the conflict between Israel and the terrorist organisation Hamas. The growing threat elsewhere in Europe has not significantly affected the threat level in Finland. The updated terrorism threat assessment is included in the latest Supo yearbook.

Supo communications unit, tel. +358 50 402 6981, [email protected]