Speaking at the International Arctic Summit, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he is prepared to meet his American counterpart, Donald Trump at a future summit in Finland.
“I believe Finland suits this purpose well, and Helsinki is a very convenient platform to organise an event like this”.
Helsinki was of course the place where the USSR, United States, Canada and the majority of European states signed the 1975 Helsinki Accords in which the great power recognised the territorial integrity of their fellow states and renounced violence as a means of conflict resolution.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said he would be happy to host the meeting.
In this sense, Helsinki is emblematic of a former summit where the western powers agreed to respect and live peacefully with the Soviet Union. This contrasts with previous suggestions of a Trump-Putin summit in Reykjavik where in 1986 at a US-Soviet summit, the Soviet Union began the process of capitulation with the United States which played a part in destroying the Soviet state in 1991.
A meeting in Helsinki could in this sense, set the tone for a relationship built on the mutual respect and détente of the Brezhnev-Nixon/Ford era.
With rumours of the still unconfirmed Rex Tillerson meeting in Moscow, Putin’s announcement could pave the way for the first international test of Donald Trump’s infamous campaign pledge to work towards Russian reconciliation.