In Finland, partisan prime minister cheers as he paints Tutankhamun

    A group of young friends at a wood-burning sauna location by the Baltic Sea. Misa Mirimaki in the center said she liked the country's prime minister's youthful demeanor,

A group of young friends at a wood-burning sauna location by the Baltic Sea. Center girlfriend Miisa Myllymaki likes the youthful behavior of the country’s prime minister, Helsinki, Finland, August 23, 2022. (Saara Mansikkamaki/The New York Times)

HELSINKI, FINLAND — Last fall, Finnish prime minister Sanna Marin, a 36-year-old rock festival regular, vowed that she wanted to “live like her contemporaries” and “shake” the highest positions. government office.

A year later she did just that.

Marin has weathered the pandemic with one of the lowest death rates in Europe and has used her trademark leather coat to gain support for a crucial bid to join NATO in the face of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. I wore a jacket and traveled to Sweden.

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Her popularity rate is near an all-time high. But so far no one is talking about it.

A video of Marin dancing wildly at a party was leaked last week, escalating into a riotous national drama, with 5.5 million people cheering for her with people urging her to step down in a normally tranquil country. It divided people (including one man who had the image tattooed on his calf). of Marin sliding her knees across her floor).

In Finland and elsewhere, this issue raises the question of whether Marin, as a young woman leading the country, is held to a different standard than older male leaders. There is also a growing debate about what action is. As a result, she has become a polarizing figure in the country. Some say it hasn’t quite caught up to the fact that it has become a beacon of progressive modernity.

“In the space of a generation, Finland has gone from a joyless, cramped Protestant society to a very modern and digital one,” says Roman Schatz said. country during World War II.

“Sanna Marin is part of that new Finland,” he added. “We are seeing the growing pains of Finland 3.0.”

Lauri Tierala, a former advisor to one of Marin’s predecessors, said:

Even by Finnish standards, Marin is very young and her government is very feminine.

At 34, Marin was one of the youngest leaders in the world when he took office in 2019. When he took office, he was more than 20 years younger than his two immediate male predecessors. he is in his 30s. Of her cabinet members, she has 10 women and 9 men.

“This hurts certain types of older men,” said Tarja Halonen, who was in her 50s when she became the country’s first female president in 2000. From President Joe Biden.

“They fear the situation, that women of all ages are becoming more and more the norm in political roles, and that women are the rule rather than the exception,” she added.

Marin is unabashedly leaning into the anxiety she can inspire, posting images of her nursing her daughter on Instagram and strutting to rock concerts in boots and denim shorts. He has openly said that he grew up in a “rainbow family” because his mother fell in love with a woman after he divorced his father. Marin, the first in her family to go to college, still buys glittery festival costumes at her flea market. Her husband, a former soccer player, took her parental leave when Ms. Marin took office, where she now looks after her 4-year-old daughter.

“I represent the younger generation,” Marin told Finland’s public broadcaster in October.

There is no shortage of food for those looking to be provoked.

Marin’s penchant for partying earned her the “Party Sanna” moniker early on and has previously catapulted her into the headlines.

“Party Sanna strikes again! Chancellor Marin drank beer, snapped his fingers at bartenders and danced wildly in Helsinki’s nightlife.

Just a few weeks ago, the prime minister was using his Instagram account to effectively tell the older generation to relax. “Hey boom boom boomer, put some ice in your hat and keep cool,” she wrote, citing a passage from a Finnish rap song.

However, this report did not disappear so easily.

Finnish news media jumped in last week after a far-right message board claimed the term “jauhojengi” or “flour gang” (interpreted as a reference to cocaine) was shouted in the background of one of the leaked dance videos. I was. that. Marin took a drug test and said he never used drugs, even as a teenager.

The test result was negative, but the same day, at another party, photos surfaced showing two women kissing in the press room of the Prime Minister’s official residence, revealing their breasts, rekindling anger.

“What’s next? A porn movie?” asks Matti Virtanen, a 59-year-old construction worker waiting for a bus in central Helsinki.

“This gives Finland a bad image. I’m ashamed,” said the 74-year-old grandfather.

In fact, the comments from abroad were mostly glowing, if not positively envious of Marin’s relative youth.

Comedian Trevor Noah said of one dance video, “I know that clip might confuse Americans very much. Some countries have leaders who don’t suffer from osteoporosis. ”

Former bodybuilder Bruce Oreck, who served as the U.S. ambassador to Finland from 2009 to 2015 and still spends part of the year there, said the U.S. should take notice.

“It’s very generational,” Oreck, 69, said. “Older generations are incredibly reticent about passing on the torch.” They will not survive the climate crisis. ”

“The purpose of the institution is not to maintain the institution itself, but to serve the people of the present and future,” he said.

As Yasmine M’Barek summarizes in the German weekly Die Zeit: live with it!

This sentiment was widely shared among young Finns who emerged from their wooden cabins one afternoon in a public sauna in Helsinki to take a dip in the Baltic Sea.

“Inspiring!” Miisa Myllymäki, the 23-year-old bartender who was prime minister at Flow, one of Finland’s biggest music festivals, was his friend. “She shows that she can be young and human and still do politics in Finland.

At Siltanen, a music venue in central Helsinki, Johanna Helle, aka DJ Uha, was on deck. “The media always target the prime minister. She’s female and young,” Helle said, calling the episode “clickbait.”

Nico Wilhelm, one of the lead singers of the self-proclaimed “violent pop” group Blind Channel, which represented Finland in last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, said when his phone lit up with warnings and social media memes, He said he was on a tour bus. About the prime minister’s party.

“The headline was crazy. I’ve never seen anything like it. And it didn’t stop,” Wilhelm said. ‘Media needs to be calm’

Juha Ristamaki, political editor of the tabloid that first published the dance video, defended his decision in the newsroom on the third floor of Iltalechi, across town.

“We are living on high alert because of the Russian threat,” Listamaki said. “Looking at her behavior against that backdrop, it’s time to question whether she was able to do her duty.”

Nothing wrong with her political record, he admitted: “She’s been very popular and has had some very good moments. When Russia invades, she starts applying for NATO membership.” She has kept many of her promises.”

“But was it appropriate for the establishment to be drunk at 4 a.m. in a nightclub?” asked Ristamaki.

Ismo Reikola, a Finnish stand-up comedian living in Los Angeles, said she was embarrassed by the criticism. “She just — danced,” he said.

In his view, Finland’s tourism board should use the video to market his country as the ‘party capital of the world’.

This week, Marin briefly broke down in tears while talking about the aftermath of the controversy.

“I am a person and sometimes I need joy and fun in the dark clouds,” she said. “I have never missed a day of work and I have not left a single task unfinished because all this will pass and together we must make this country stronger.”

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