Blog Editor’s Note: We think The Guardian missed the point on the story below, so we created our own headline for this post.
Reading the article carefully reinforces the idea that the Russian government coordinates most of its interactions with the outside world very carefully.
Ostensibly the article is about aircraft flying over Kaliningrad and experiencing interference with GPS reception. Stepping back one or two paces though, one notices several other items in the report that fit into a recent overall pattern of Russia trying to regain regional and world dominance. Several things to note:
- The interference began right after the Finnish president met with President Biden. Recall that Putin recently threatened Finland and Sweden with invasion if they sought to join NATO.
- The jamming in Finland’s east has caused flights to be cancelled. Certainly an expression of Russian power to, with the flip of a switch, cause Finnish commercial flights to be cancelled. Another point for our readers to note is that, despite having terrestrial navigation aids, commercial flights are still often cancelled when GPS is not available for whatever reason.
- This is not just about Finland – it is Russia flexing its muscles for the whole region. GPS interference from the Russian province of Kaliningrad. Kaliningrad is bordered by NATO members Poland and Lithuania (see map courtesy Shutterstock). Between Kaliningrad and Finland lie the only former Soviet states that are now NATO members – Lithuania, Latvia, and Estonia. So, “Nice aviation system ya got there, former states. Would be a shame if anything happened to it.”
- It is also about Europe writ large. Note in the article that most European flights pass over or near Kaliningrad, so all have the opportunity to experience disruption.
The interference began soon after a meeting between presidents Sauli Niinistö and Joe Biden
Aircraft flying near the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad and near Finland’s eastern border with Russia have noticed interference with their GPS signals, according to Finnish authorities.
The interference began soon after Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö met Joe Biden in Washington on Saturday to discuss deepening defense ties between Finland and Nato due to Russia’s attack on Ukraine.
Prime Minister Sanna Marin told Reuters she had no information about the source of the disturbances, nor about whether they originated in Russia, while the foreign ministry said it was looking into the events.