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Myths about Russian threat harm Russian-Finnish ties — Russian Foreign Ministry

Maria Zakharova stressed that Russia and Finland should develop relations despite the fake news and falsehoods and based on the principles of neighborliness, partnership, mutual assistance, and respect

MOSCOW, October 28. /TASS/. Moscow and Helsinki should foster neighborly ties in defiance of fake news about a "mythical Russian threat" circulating in Finland, which harm bilateral cooperation, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told a news briefing in the wake of an opinion poll in Finland that found 60% of the respondents saw Russia's policies as a military threat.

"Why should this surprise anyone? After all, we see this and talk about this every day: an aggressive media campaign against our country is afoot. Thousands of articles containing fake news, myths and disinformation about Russia and everything related with it are published every day," she said. "In particular, northern Europe is a target for intimidation. In pursuit of this aim anything goes. Myths that have existed for decades, but have never had any proof continue to be retold again and again, as if something like this happened in reality. In Sweden, they keep looking for submarines all the time…"

"In a word, there is nothing to be surprised at. But there is certainly something to regret - the disinformation and its malign effects that the West talks about so much, but regrettably proceeds along the well-trodden path. It is deplorable that Finnish journalists contribute to this Russophobic propaganda, which surely harms bilateral relations of good-neighborliness and international law-based cooperation and, consequently, the people of Finland," Zakharova said.

She stressed that Russian and Finland were good neighbors and suggested taking a look at some of the other questions and answers in the same opinion poll. More than 70% of the Finns polled continue to see Russia as an important trading partner, and 43% believe that the factors not related to the economy should not be allowed to affect Russian-Finnish trading relations.

"In other words, there is the wish to cooperate, and it does not just exist, but prevails in the public mind against all odds. From the standpoint of the anti-Russian lobby this is precisely what is to be eliminated and reduced to nothing," Zakharova warned.

"We should develop relations. We should do so despite the fake news and falsehoods and develop them based on the principles I've just mentioned: neighborliness, partnership, mutual assistance, and respect for and observance of the legal basis of cooperation. I believe that this will be the best answer to those who ask themselves from time to time: 'Are the Russians really coming?’ The bugbear of a Russian threat will then vanish into thin air. What we've got to do is to build relations, and this is what we have been doing all along.".