(Bloomberg) After the stiff formality of the G-20 summit earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin is engaging in some more relaxed diplomacy with the west.
Russia’s leader arrived in Finland on Thursday afternoon to celebrate the former duchy’s century of independence. Together with Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, Putin will hop on a steamboat built in 1893 for an hour-long lake cruise near the southern part of the border between the two countries. He’ll then head to a medieval castle, Olavinlinna, where the visiting Bolshoi Theater will perform Tchaikovsky’s Iolanta — the opera’s first airing in Finland in 100 years. […]
Arkady Moshes, who heads a research program on Russia at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs in Helsinki, says Putin is probably “more comfortable” talking to Finland, a non-NATO member of the EU, than to others. “The relationship is much more pragmatic with Finland, less problematic than with any other neighbor Russia would have in this part of the world,” he said by phone.
“Finns and Russians both find this relationship useful,” Moshes said. “It’s a part of a long tradition.”
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