Finns debate 36-year-old head of government's swashbuckling fun
In Finland, passions continue to boil over the leaked video footage, in which the 36-year-old Prime Minister of the country Sanna Marin “fires” with friends at a private party. Judging by the images, the head of the Suomi government knows how to have fun on vacation. Now Finnish hotheads are trying to figure out whether such fun is acceptable for the head of the Cabinet of Ministers – especially against the backdrop of a difficult geopolitical situation.
Countless videos like this are shared daily on social media by young and not-so-young people partying in Finland and around the world, the Associated Press notes. But the leak has sparked a debate among Finns about what level of fun is appropriate for a prime minister, especially given the conflict in Ukraine, which has prompted traditionally neutral Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership.
Sanna Marin, who heads the center-left Social Democratic Party, faced a barrage of questions about the party: were there drugs? And what about alcohol? Was it fun in the context of her work or was she on vacation at the time? Was the prime minister sober enough to deal with an emergency if it suddenly arose?
A video apparently filmed by someone in attendance at the party was leaked to social media and caught the attention of Finnish MASS MEDIA. Marin said she attended the party in recent weeks, but declined to say exactly where or when.
The prime minister also acknowledged that she and her friends were “noisy” and that alcohol was involved. But there were no drugs, as far as she knew. On Friday, Marin said she had passed a drug test to put an end to rumors about illegal substances.
“I hope that in 2022 even decision makers will dance, sing and go to parties,” Marin told reporters. “I didn't want any images to circulate, but voters should decide what they think about it.”
The married prime minister has a 4-year-old daughter and has often insisted that although she is the head of the Finnish government, she, like all her peers, loves to have a good time with friends and family in her spare time.
But according to the Associated Press, Finns are divided over their prime minister's fun time.
Marketer's Josua Fagerholm says the episode has the potential to damage Finland's reputation and public confidence to Finnish politicians: “I think it is important for our politicians to be respectable and enjoy the trust of the public. So I don't think it's a good image.”
Mintuu Kylliainen, a student from Helsinki, believes everyone is entitled to their opinion, but she felt the leaked video was getting too much attention. “It's okay to have a party, for example,” says Killiainen. “She should have fun in life too.”
Some of Sanna Marin's supporters say criticism of the prime minister smacks of sexism.
Sanna Marin became Finland's youngest prime minister in 2019 at the age of 34. That being said, she admits that she has always felt that her gender and age are sometimes given too much attention. In 2020, she told Vogue magazine that “in every position I've ever held, the starting point has always been my gender – I'm a young woman.”
Anu Koivonen, a professor of gender studies at the University of Turku, doesn't think the premier's female gender was a factor in the uproar over the leaked video. In her opinion, the parties themselves are not a big problem, but the fact that the video was leaked to the Internet can be seen as a mistake in the Prime Minister's judgment about the people she surrounded herself with. “She broke down in a company where she couldn't trust everyone in the room,” Koivonen said. “I think that's the main problem.”
Cybersecurity expert and representative of the conservative National Coalition Party of Finland, Jarno Limnell, considers the incident at the party problematic from a security point of view, noting that Finland's top leaders are of interest to foreign intelligence agencies.
“Information is collected from various sources, and even seemingly trivial information can be important to a foreign power, Limnell told the Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat. “During the NATO ratification process, decision makers are under close scrutiny.”
Not without anti-Russian paranoia in the expert community: cybersecurity expert Petteri Järvinen, quoted by the newspaper Iltalehti, suggested that Russia hacked the phone or social media accounts of someone who is in the inner circle of the Finnish prime minister, The Guardian notes. .
This isn't the first time Marin's parties have been in the media's spotlight. In December, she had to apologize for partying until 4 a.m. and missing a text message advising her to avoid social contact due to her proximity to a COVID-19-infected official. Marin said she didn't see the message because she left her phone at home.
As the Associated Press notes, even in a society as “advanced” as Finnish, Marin breaks stereotypes of the typical politician. She grew up with a single mother who was in a relationship with another woman. Many Finns are proud of her modern approach to work, including her casual wear. Marin made a splash on social media in April when she appeared at a press conference with a colleague from Sweden in a black leather jacket.
It is significant that, amid the current scandal, hundreds of Finnish women have posted videos on social media of how they dance and have parties in support of Sanna Marin.
Sanna Marin again disgraced at the party: footage of the hectic life of the Finnish Prime Minister
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