Were The Partying Adventures of Finland’s Prime Minister Made Public by Putin’s FSB In Retaliation For NATO Application?
[guest post by Dana]
About a week ago, Finland’s young prime minister, Sanna Marin found herself caught up in a media firestorm after video of her dancing and partying was leaked:
Finland’s prime minister says she did not take any drugs during a “wild” party in a private home, adding she did nothing wrong when letting her hair down and partying with friends.
A video posted on social media shows six people dancing and mimicking a song in front of a camera, including Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Later in the video, Marin, 36, is on her knees on what seems to be the dance floor with her arms behind her head dancing while mimicking a song.
“I’m disappointed that it has become public. I spent the evening with friends. Partied, pretty wild, yes. Danced and sang,” she was quoted Thursday as saying by Finnish broadcaster YLE.
There was also an inappropriate photograph of two guests attending a party at the prime minister’s residence in July that was leaked as well. Marin apologized for the inappropriate photo.
A flurry of reports followed the leaked video of Marin dancing at the party held in a private residence. Hillary Clinton tweeted that Sanna Marin should just keep dancing:
As Ann Richards said, "Ginger Rogers did everything that Fred Astaire did. She just did it backwards and in high heels."
Here's me in Cartagena while I was there for a meeting as Secretary of State.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) August 28, 2022
AOC jumped on the bandwagon of support and re-tweeted a clip of her dancing at her office:
— Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@RepAOC) August 30, 2022
The New York Times discussed whether Sanna Marin, age 36, was being held to a different standard than older, male leaders.
And sensing an opening, the BBC reported that opposition party leader party leader Riikka Purra demanded that Marin take a drug test after the video was leaked. Marin was happy to comply. Her test came back negative.
Anyway, you can find reports discussing every aspect of Marin’s partying that focus on what is acceptable and unacceptable behavior for politicians and whether women who lead governments are judged more harshly than their male counterparts. You can also find lots of speculation about whether Sanna Marin, wife and mother, is still married, given that she partied solo. But I’m not really interested in any of that. What I did find myself wondering about was who would release the video. Given her very public position, it’s reasonable to assume that those in attendance were people with whom she was friends, or had been vouched for by trusted friends or family, and had been cleared by her security detail. With that, I happen to be checking out Bill Browder’s Twitter feed, and he linked to Orhan Dragas, founder and director of the International Security Institute, who believes that it was Putin’s FSB that leaked the video by hacking the phones of attendees. Thus, he believes it is vital that Marin continue to push back at her critics.
Dragas sets the stage for us:
In May, the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, threatened Finland and said that Russia would respond if the neighbour joined NATO and that their response would be a “surprise”. Before that, she threatened with “serious military consequences”, saying that Finland “knows what its entry into NATO will lead to”.
And? Finland is joining NATO, and Russia retaliated, as it previously announced, with a surprise. Leaked private footage from the Finnish Prime Minister’s party is the Kremlin’s counter-strike on Helsinki; it is the response of one of the world’s largest military and intelligence powers (in its own opinion) that has been announced for months.
The heir of the KGB’s great murderous machine, Putin’s FSB, today deals with hacking the private phones of Sanna Marin’s friends with whom she has fun in her free time and at her own expense.
Dragas points out that Putin’s government is currently unable to do too much damage in retaliation for Finland’s application to join NATO. After all, Russia is busy trying to wipe out a people and thus stretched a bit thin at the moment:
The attempt to expose Sanna Marin having fun is the maximum damage the announced Russian counterattack can cause to Finland. That is the extent of the ability of today’s Russian military and intelligence complex to influence foreign governments, their decisions and their fate.
The author goes on to explain why he believes Putin’s FSB would expose Finland’s prime minister in this way:
What did Russia want with this? Russia wanted to discredit the leader of a crucial EU and NATO member to the extent of destabilising its government and causing its downfall… It was necessary to “hit” Finland because while the invasion of Ukraine continues, it is still a living symbol of resistance to Russia, a historical shame for its expansionist goals.
There is also the issue of Marin being a young woman in power, which, unsurprisingly, the Kremlin has problems with:
Their (Sanna Marin and Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas ) leadership, and especially their charisma, is intolerable for Russian ethical and aesthetical standards, with models like half-naked Putin riding a bear and for the older generation, Brezhnev kissing Erich Honecker on the mouth. That’s why their “revenge” against Sanna Marin was personal, and that’s why it failed.
If one didn’t have a basic awareness of Putin’s insatiable compulsion to punish – and even silence – those who defy him, this would read like some preposterous piece of fiction by a writer with an overactive imagination. But, as Bill Browder very pointedly informed us: with Putin, these sorts of things aren’t preposterous in the least:
“In his mind, he hasn’t succeeded until his opponent has failed, and he can’t be happy until his opponent is miserable.”