Xenophobia and fearmongering are effective age-old control tools to keep the Finnish public in line and on a short leash

by , under Enrique Tessieri

One matter that some political parties like the Perussuomalaiset (PS)* use constantly is the anti-immigration card to get votes and media attention. What can we say when a retired police service commissioner uses xenophobia and fear to boost book sales?  

One important question that journalists should ask when covering a story is why did a certain piece of news become news at a particular time?

Retired Police Service Commissioner Mikko Paatero created quite a stir this week by claiming that asylum seekers in this country are secretly organizing and networking with criminal gangs.

Picking on asylum seekers is easy because they have no power. Paatero acts just like a bully at school.

One of the matters that surprised me about his statements was how much media attention they got.


Xenophobia and fearmongering go hand in hand. Our fear of the outside world in Finland has been an effective tool to control society and quell dissent.  The name of Paatero’s book, “Faltering internal security,” spoonfeeds fear to the Finnish public. I don’t have to buy and read this book to understand what its message is.

Paatero’s book, “Sisäinen turvalisuus horjuu” (Faultering internal security), is political. He uses age-old social ills like xenophobia and fearmongering to keep the public on a short leash and to attack those that disagree with him. One of the messages of his book is to get more money for the police service because, according to him, insecurity and possible crime by asylum seekers, among others, are on the rise.

Is Paatero planning to join a political party and run for public office? 

We don’t know but we’ll soon find out. Finland holds municipal election in April 2017.

Another matter that the former police commissioner said was that public officials give a too rosy picture of the real situation. According to him, they underestimate the threat caused by asylum seekers.

All of these allegations were denied by key public officials.

Chief Superintendent of the National Police Board, Timo Kilpeläinen, and Päivi Nerg of the ministry of interior denied Paatero’s allegations, according to YLE News.

The Finnish name for the Finns Party is the Perussuomalaiset (PS). The English names of the party adopted by the PS, like True Finns or Finns Party, promote in our opinion nativist nationalism and xenophobia. We, therefore, prefer to use the Finnish name of the party on our postings. The direct translation of “Perussuomalaiset” is “basic” or “fundamental Finn.”