Aamulehti then proceeded to refer to a recent Yle survey, conducted by the same Taloustutkimus, that revealed that 55 percent of Finns are opposed to NATO membership, compared to just 22 percent in favor.
Taloustutkimus research chief Juho Rahkonen told Aamulehti he considered the results surprising. According to him, this could reflect the fact that American fighter planes have already been deployed in Finland. It is easier to approve of concrete facts than to support a general remote idea belonging to the far future, he argued.
The Finns' more than cheerful attitude towards the US military expansion reflects the Finnish government's and the mainstream media's unrelenting smear campaign against "aggressive" Russia, which portrays Moscow as a chief source of danger in the Baltic region and cows fellow Finns into embracing NATO amid a possible Russian invasion. However, the popular "no" to NATO expansion mirrors the Finns' increasing skepticism against participating in the alliance's numerous military operations abroad.
For now, six McDonnell Douglas F-15C Eagles and 150 servicemen from the US Oregon Air National Guard are taking part in the joint air exercises, organized by Karelian Air Command in eastern Finland. Units of the Oregon Air National Guard have previously been deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan, among other missions.