Something old, new, borrowed, and blue: towards a bottom-up agenda of the Finnish-Russian relations
While the Finnish-Russian relations of today cannot be fully understood without understanding the past, it is equally important to know how to break away from it. When discussing cross-border interaction, one must be aware of the broader context within which these processes take place. The territorial sovereignty of the nation-state continues to form one of the leading principles upon which international relations are based, yet transnational relations are increasingly run by actors and organisations whose ability to function does not stop at the border. The Finnish-Russian border provides an illuminating laboratory in which to study border change. This article draws on the experience from this border where cross-border cooperation has reflected both the political and socio-cultural change as well as politically and economically motivated interaction. It argues that the best way to normalise neighbourly relations is through increased people-to-people interaction, and preferable this ought to occur from the bottom-up, not from the top-down. Civil society organisations themselves may need to take matters into their own hands and to seek further revenues through social entrepreneurship in order to ensure the continuity of cooperation. Much of the work is carried out heedless of individual project and programme frames. In practice, its success depends on individual actors who are able to shoulder the implementation of the agreed programs and to solve emerging problems and disagreements.