D5.1 Country Report | October 2022

Authors: Laura Horsmanheimo, Roosa-Maria Kylli, & Emilia Palonen – University of Helsinki

The aim with this country report is to address the role of the media in transmitting, mainstreaming, and legitimising radical ideas. We focus on representation, circulation, and consumption through analysis of YouTube videos and their comment spheres that represent far-right radicalisation in Finland. In understanding radicalism, we focus on particular feelings of injustice that result from grievances, alienation and polarisation in the I-GAP framework as conceptualised in the D.Rad project. 

The data consists of two YouTube videos and their comments, the first one being the election video of the radical right-wing Finns Party, published in March 2019, and the second one the introductory video of a new political organisation and a registration-aspiring party, the Blue-Black Movement (Sinimusta liike), published in January 2021. Originally, the Finns Party is not a far-right actor, but after the party split in 2017, the more radical nativist wing, led by Jussi Halla-aho, has brought questions related to migration and national consciousness to the front. The Blue-Black Movement is an ethnonationalist party which started to become an officially registered party in April 2021. During the time of writing this report, the campaign progressed steadily, and registered supporters piled up slowly until June 2022 when BBM became a registered party. The party manifesto of the initiative is strongly exclusivist, ethno-nationalist and includes typical tropes of fascist ideology and mobilisation. 

Our analysis of the YouTube videos and their commentary showed that the violence expressed is not direct but instead the videos create antagonism between “us” and “them”, the outgroup consisting of immigrants, and the political elite. These antagonisms stir feelings such as fear, hate, and distress that can feed into radicalisation. While we focus on particular feelings of injustice that result from grievances, alienation and polarisation (I-GAP), we found feelings of being unrepresented, fear of foreigners and economic injustice towards the in-group. The videos also stress an urgency for action to change the current situation. Both videos and their comments seek to generate a bipolar worldview. 

This similar bipolar worldview is repeated in other communication by the organisations, they articulate a hegemonic confrontation and build on readiness for violence, even if violence is not explicitly encouraged. The heroic role of the far right defending the people from the terrifying realities or futures has resonance with earlier discussions and aesthetics related to the far right transnationally. Further analysis is needed on the use of social media, the study of hegemonic confrontation through different media and genres, as well as the spread of implicitly violent content.