Finnish monster emerged from Loch Ness

The prime minister, Sanna Marin, knew she was being filmed so she recognized her phone as trustworthy, and its owner – as a friend. This situation is best characterized by the prayer: “Lord, protect me from my friends, I can take care of my enemies”.

Always in the summer, particularly in August serious issues in the media have been replaced by the so-called “counter-irritants”. At present, in connection with, say, the war in Ukraine the moods aren’t perfectly holiday-like although the immortal Loch Ness monster is able to emerge in a different form, in disguise.

Following Finland’s recent accession to NATO the media, at first the social ones, then – the rest, were flooded with soap opera starring the country’s prime minister. Mrs Sanna Marin was seen in a video recorded with a cell phone while dancing among a group of friends in a private house. To tell the truth, it was more of fooling around than of a dance. The society – mostly composed of women – was grinning at the lens, singing refrains and cavorting around not too vulgarly, at least in comparison to most music videos. Unruly teenagers, maybe slightly too old but then again, who cares?

SIGN UP TO OUR PAGE The clip arrived in Poland together with Finnish reactions, rather surprisingly harsh. On Twitter user wrote that the prime minister (ministress?) was frivolous, should take her leather jacket and step down. The jacket is an allusion to another, prior recording of Sanna Marin from a rock festival. The electorate, or rather fellow MPs demanded that Marin be tested for drugs as in the sound background supposedly somebody spoke a word colloquially used for cocaine addicts. The Finns wrote that the country is in crisis and one shouldn’t do such things late at night, after work. Well, a crisis is what have in our part Europe because of the war in Ukraine, but the Finnish Twitter mentioned health system and senior care, etc.

In such a crisis there is every democratic country as the health system argument is repeatedly raised by every opposition in the US an EU. When, then, can the prime minister spend the evening with her friends, and drink alcohol? It was alcohol that the Finns seemed to be particularly outraged by – we are talking about members of a society that likes the hard stuff, which successive governments have fought against with various sales restrictions.

The Finnish indignation presented to the Poles along with the video gave rank, weight and emotion to this storm. The word “storm” used in such cases also consists of the first part, making up the whole epithet that we all know.

The series with Mrs. Marin is not a typical holiday Loch Ness monster. As a reminder, during the summer drought of important information, editorial offices in the British Isles, and those on the Continent after them, wrote that “Nessie” again leaned its head out of the Scottish lake. This ... storm with Sanna Marin, or rather the reactions to this “event”, tell a lot about the condition of the so-called public debate and politics as such.

We learned that in Finland the opposition has allegations against the prime minister in connection with an innocently juvenile party. Nothing new – the opposition already has it. But considerable concern was expressed by the party in the coalition with Sanna Marin’s social democrats, as it happens between (political) friends. As for friends in the original sense of the word, the party was among friends themselves and one of them, in a gesture of friendship to Marin, posted the recording on the Internet, or actually shared it with one of his Twitter accounts, which is one thing. Sanna Marin knew she was being filmed, so she recognized her phone as trustworthy. Prime Minister Marin’s friends are perfectly suited to the prayer – “Lord, protect me from my friends, I can take care of my enemies”.

Sanna Marin quickly apologized, promised to take a drug test – it is already known that the result is negative – but at the same time she started to defend herself that she didn’t do anything illegal, always leaves parties on her own and has never had a hangover. Congratulations, no matter if it’s a psychological feature or the result of self-control in consumption.
2) Sanna Marin on May 26, 2022 on a visit to Irpien, a Ukrainian city destroyed by the Russians. Photo: STRINGER / Reuters / Forum
Legal, illegal as if it was a legal issue… It's a case for the vice squad, but not only that. Finnish critics shared their concern whether the prime minister could make any decisions if necessary – after all, the war is close to the borders. Marin replied that the government doesn’t gather at night. Critics say being prime minister is a 24-hour job. Yes, in history it has been so, and if you are not Winston Churchill, whose blood was permanently mixed with alcohol and he was doing well, then one should be careful.

In fact, the other people in the video seem more blissful than Sanna Marin, and if it hadn’t been for the filming, there would be less expressive behavior evoking a “hot” party. Everything is done for Instagram, such times. People fooling around to get attention start behaving conventionally right after the cell is turned off. So why did the Loch Ness Monster make a tide on the lake?

For older generations, not only in Finland, the prime minister is someone serious, a bit celebrating even this seriousness of power, sometimes even hieratic. No matter how much in the election campaign they were a good guy or a cool girl, shaking countless hands. The old and the new are at odds here, where the old still remembers kings in the depths of the historical subconscious. Not everyone wants to be ruled by a hip-shaking girl, though not as provocatively as long ago did Elvis Presley. Those taking their citizenship and the state more seriously may be offended, or at least disgusted.

It is on them that the Kremlin’s propaganda is counting on, turning the subject up. Especially that the video was made public after Finland’s unexpected accession to NATO and shortly after Marin’s criticism of the stance of the German chancellor on not allowing Russians to enter the Schengen area. Even if none of the Prime Minister's friends shared the video with Visegrad24, what is it for the FSB to hack private Instagram accounts, you just need to know which ones.

Moscow’s long arms can explain a lot, but such things always leak out. Marin’s recordings from Helsinki’s nightclubs, where she had been in spite of pandemic restrictions, were recalled. We also saw her dancing hugged to a famous Finnish singer – he kissed her on the neck or not, that is the question. In the case of prime ministers, for traditionalists, the question does not concern social gossip, but the seriousness of the state, even raison d'état.

Sanna Marin’s party scandal broke out in mid-August and should have been long forgotten, but – as prosecutors say – it turned out to be developmental. Last week we got to know a photo of two ladies kissing in a topless outfit, where what you don't usually see was somewhat covered by a cardboard box with the words “Finland” on it. This original promotion of the country was performed by Sanna Marin’s friends in her residence. Marin was sorry and she cut herself off.

Shall we see something else, or maybe counterintelligence in the new NATO country has already woken up?

Many comments in Poland on the Marin videos took up the fight against the patriarchy. It is a kind of deaf phone, where the ideologically disliked side of the ideological dispute is assigned the views and statements that – according to the opponents – should have been made.

On a TV station on Saturday's cyclical program grouping only [male] masters, although there are also female masters there, not included in its name, it was immediately known what the critics of Marin's conduct on the Polish Internet meant. According to one of the female masters, the shock and disbelief was aroused by the fact that “a woman in a strapped shirt is having fun, goes to the club instead of being wrapped in a headscarf and reading the works of John Paul II to children".

Another voice was that “Sanna Marin embodies all the nightmares of a PiS [that of the ruling party Prawo i Sprawiedliwość] mind” because she is “young, independent, does what she wants”. It was also about destroying the image of a woman, and above all, that the same would not disgust anyone in the case of a man. Boris Yeltsin was given as the most exaggerated example.

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The pictures of the often drunk Yeltsin – as I remember – were initially terrifying, after all, he had this atomic “button”, but this eventually gave way when it turned out that he allowed Poland to enter NATO in a drunken spin and opened the Soviet archives. The embarrassment remained until the end of his presidency.

Men are allowed, and there is glass ceiling above women – this is proclaimed by the masters and their students believe it, which in this case has nothing to do with reality. The unfavorable assessment of Marin's behavior in some of the comments is not an attack by the patriarchy on independent women. It would be the same if the Prime Minister of Finland was Sanno Marin and he had a bushy beard. There would be those who would not like the sight of the Prime Minister kneeling on the floor, glasses tilted around, the body of an anointed nation tilted back, “wild eyes, filthy dress”. There are still quite a lot of voters not “cool” and not permanently attached to Insta.

The portals read by those whose minds experience nightmares reported factually opinions from Finland, often adding to the suspicion of FSB activity in the context of Finland in NATO. Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki joked that Mrs Marin might have sipped too much of Finland (a vodka brand) because of Finland’s entry into NATO and she has reasons to be happy and “she has pleased us all with such a dose of joy”.

As you can see, a deaf phone and at the same time a tomato game, where any doubt about a woman's behavior qualifies as a tomato, sorry – sexism, and no sympathy is noticed, even if it comes from the highest circles of disliked opponents.

Militant patriarchalism cannot be found in the only really sharp opinion of Sanna Marin on Polish Twitter. But there is hyperbolization of what you don't like combined with great emotional commitment. A KUL [Catholic University of Lublin] professor and a former judge of the Tribunal of State wrote there:

“The prime minister of Finland – daughter of two lesbians – realizes herself in satanic orgies (...) Putin has a really good hand to shape the “new elite” in the EU and, as you can see, in NATO too”. It is a deaf phone in combination with another child's play – who is afraid of the bogeyman. It is difficult to suspect the author of the entry of being at orgies, as evidenced by the qualification of what he saw to orgies, even satanic. These Satanists are terrible, and with Putin to join the company – fear to be afraid.

The storm – let it be storm – with Sanna Marin is, however, a holiday one. After the holidays, not only does school begin, but also the political season and the image of the sides of the worldview dispute will be filtered through fantasy and mutual fears, prejudices and wishful thinking of the adversaries in a very loose connection with facts but with much greater firepower. What is the recipient and voter to do with it? Anyone who has had a successful vacation will probably manage somehow.

– Krzysztof Zwoliński
-Translated by Dominik Szczęsny-Kostanecki

TVP WEEKLY. Editorial team and jornalists

Main photo: 1) Prime Minister Sanna Marin in the stands of the Helsinki stadium during the UEFA Super Cup match between Real Madrid and Eintracht Frankfurt on August 10, 2022. Photo: Aleksiej Witwicki / Forum
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