Magdalena Andersson and Sanna Marin - the Swedish and Finnish leaders who are defying Putin

Two women making a historical change
Finland's young prime minister
Growing up in a rainbow family
Marin's time at university
Working while studying
The YouTube sensation from the city council
MPs for Pirkanma
A rising red star
Cabinet member
Easy come, easy go
At the helm before she turned 35
A young, female government
Wedding bells for the PM
The topless officer
The morning after
Magdalena Andersson, a career politician with a penchant for rock music
Born in Uppsala
Young social democrat
The woman who controls Swedish money
Prime Minister since 2020
First woman to be Prime Minister in Sweden
Magdalena Andersson's favorite band
On the way to NATO in the face of the threat from Russia
Two women making a historical change

Magdalena Andersson (pictured left) is Prime Minister of Sweden and Sanna Marin (right) is Prime Minister of Finland. Both are changing the histories of their respective countries, which are now demanding NATO membership after decades of being neutral and non-aligned states. But who are these two women challenging Vladimir Putin?

Finland's young prime minister

Sanna Marin, Finland's prime minister and one of the world's youngest heads of state, has faced criticism for visiting a club after someone in her cabinet tested positive for Covid-19. But who exactly is Sanna Marin?

Growing up in a rainbow family

Sanna Marin was born in Helsinki in 1985. Her parents separated when she was little because her father was an alcoholic. The Prime Minister was raised by her mother and her partner, and Marin describes herself as coming from a "rainbow family".

Marin's time at university

The future Prime Minister joined the youth wing of the Social Democratic Party when she was studying administration at the University of Tampere. She managed to become the first vice-president of the social-democratic youth.

Working while studying

Sanna Marin was also the first person in her family to receive higher education. During her studies she also worked as a cashier and in a bakery.

The YouTube sensation from the city council

The young politician quickly rose through the ranks of the Social Democrats. In 2012, she was elected to the Tampere City Council, where Marin is best known for watching YouTube videos of her heated debates with other council members, according to the BBC.

MPs for Pirkanma

At the age of just 29, Marin was elected to Parliament for Pirkanma constituency. The New York Times describes her as "left-leaning, even within her party, and climate change, equality and social welfare are high on her agenda".

A rising red star

The former student at the University of Tampere was quickly spotted by party leader Antti Rinne and became a part of his inner circle.

Cabinet member

When Rinne became Prime Minister in June 2019, it was no surprise that Marin was included in his cabinet as Minister for Transport and Communications.

Easy come, easy go

However, it was not easy for the Social Democrats. Rinne resigned six months after being sworn in as Prime Minister after the Center Party left the governing coalition over his handling of a postal strike.

At the helm before she turned 35

Sanna Marin was elected Prime Minister on 3 December 2019 following her previous mentor. At the time, she was the youngest head of government in the world at just 34 years old.

A young, female government

The Finnish Prime Minister quickly drew media attention as she stands in sharp contrast to older, male-dominated governments. 12 of the 19 members of her five-party cabinet are also women, and three of them are younger than Marin.

Wedding bells for the PM

Despite all the responsibility and media attention, Sanna Marin still finds time for her private life. In August 2020, the Prime Minister of Finland married her boyfriend Markus Raikkonen in a private ceremony. The couple have a daughter together.

The topless officer

In October 2020, she was criticized for wearing only a blazer during a photo shoot for Trendi magazine. Opposition activists described the pictures as "tasteless" and "degrading", according to The Evening Standard.

The morning after

The latest controversy for the young prime minister is that she went to a nightclub hours after one of her cabinet members tested positive for Covid-19. Marin claims she only found out about the ill collegue on the following Sunday morning. The opposition found Marin to have been "irresponsible".

Magdalena Andersson, a career politician with a penchant for rock music

Sanna Marin's Swedish counterpart is professional politician Magdalena Andersson, a profession to which she has dedicated her entire life. However, she still finds time to listen to rock music.

Born in Uppsala

Magdalena Andersson was born on January 23, 1967 in Uppsala, north of Stockholm. Her father was a university professor. Young Magdalena excelled as a swimmer and competed at a high level. But her political passion distracted her from her sporting goals.

Young social democrat

In 1983 she joined the League of Young Social Democrats and was soon elected chair of the local group in which she was active. She studied economics in Stockholm and worked in the Prime Minister's Office starting in 1996.

The woman who controls Swedish money

Thanks to her training as an economist, she has been appointed to various positions closely related to money: Director of the Inland Revenue (2009), Minister of Finance (2014) and Chair of the Monetary and Financial Committee of the International Monetary Fund (2020).

Prime Minister since 2020

Like Sanna Marin, Magdalena Andersson became prime minister after her predecessor resigned amid a government crisis. This happened in 2021, and her election was eventful: Parliament voted her down once and a subsequent vote re-elected her as Prime Minister.

First woman to be Prime Minister in Sweden

It is the first time Sweden has had a female prime minister. Magdalena Andersson is married to Richard Friberg, a professor of economics.

Magdalena Andersson's favorite band

The Prime Minister's fondness for rock music dates back to an interview she gave to Bandit Rock radio station. There she said that her favorite band was System of a Down.

On the way to NATO in the face of the threat from Russia

And so it is the heads of state of Sweden and Finland who must steer the NATO membership of two countries that have always championed for peace. But the war in Ukraine is perceived as a threat in these two countries, forcing them to form a military alliance in the event of war.

 

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