Mykkänen has been involved in politics since he was young. At the turn of the millennium, he was president of the National Coalition Party's youth organization and the Finnish high school student unions. He was associate of MEP and Finland's former Foreign and Finance Minister Alexander Stubb 2004-2006. Mykkänen has also been a long-standing supporter of Stubb and was his campaign manager.
Meanwhile, Russian-Finnish trade has been all but rosy. The weakening of the ruble has further aggravated the trade slump, inflicted by the European Union's anti-Russian sanctions together with low oil prices. By experts' admission, Russia's economic and political problems are mirrored in the country's trade and hit Finland hard.
However, some say there appears to be some light at the end of the economic tunnel. A full 52 percent of the companies surveyed by the barometer in May said they believe that Russia's economy will bounce back, bringing trade figures up. Jaana Rekolainen, the Finnish-Russian Chamber of Commerce's CEO, admitted to Finnish national broadcaster Yle that belief in Russian markets is getting stronger, yet stressed that a full recovery remains in the distant future.
So far, the newly-made foreign trade minister said his main goals were to promote the export of environmental technology and ensure that Finnish companies will get a firm foothold in Africa.
"In recent months, private consumption [in Russia] has begun to increase, and the ruble has strengthened slightly. The chances are that the trade will recover somewhat during autumn, if the cards are played correctly," Mykkänen told the Finnish newspaper Kaleva.