Finland’s glamorous Prime Minister Sanna Marin has denied using drugs and said she has nothing to hide after a video emerged of her partying wildly with celebrity friends.
The 36-year-old world leader was in high spirits in the video, which appears to take place in a private apartment, as the group cavorts and dances for a mobile phone camera.
In light of the raucous scenes, Finnish MP Mikko Kärnä, from Marin’s coalition partner Centre Party, took to Twitter to urge her to take a voluntary drugs test.
Marin denied using drugs and said in a press conference this morning that she had ‘nothing to conceal or hide.’
‘I haven’t used any drugs, so it’s not a problem to take a drug test, but I also think it’s quite special that something like this is required,’ she said to reporters at Kuopio’s Rissala airport.
‘I didn’t see any evidence that anything was used anywhere,’ she added.
Earlier this morning, she defended her behaviour in the video to reporters, saying ‘I have danced, sung, celebrated, done legal things.’ She added that she had not been drinking heavily.
She also hit out the person who leaked the videos, which she said were from a couple of weeks ago.
Finland’s glamorous Prime Minister Sanna Marin has been seen dancing wildly and partying hard with a group of celebrity friends after video was leaked online
The release of the raucous video comes just months after Marin was forced to apologise for going out clubbing till 4am after coming into contact with a Covid-19 case
The 36-year-old world leader is in high spirits in the video, which appears to take place in a private apartment, as the group cavorts and dances for a mobile phone camera
The release of the raucous video comes just months after Marin was forced to apologise for going out clubbing after coming into contact with a Covid-19 case
Sanna Marin pictured today answering media questions as the news of the video leak spread. Picture taken before the start of the Social Democratic Party’s parliamentary group summer meeting
Marin denied using drugs and said in a press conference this morning that she had ‘nothing to conceal or hide’
‘I trusted that since the videos are private and published at a private event, they would not be published,’ Marin said. ‘It feels bad that they have been published.’
When asked if the video was a matter for the police to investigate, Marin said that she still didn’t know if anything illegal had happened and that it would ‘hardly be a police matter.’
Giving more details on the wild night, Marin said that the evening had been spent in two separate flats, with about twenty people. They also went to two bars.
The leaked video was taken from the Instagram stories of a private account and appears to show Finland’s prime minister and her group of Finnish celebrity friends completely unguarded.
Among the public figures seen in the video are Finnish singer Alma and her sister Anna, rapper Petri Nygard, TV host Tinni Wikstrom, photographer and influencer Janita Autio, radio host Karoliina Tuominen, as well as MPs from her own Social Democratic party.
At one point a man swishes what appears to be an alcoholic drink past the camera as the beat drops and Marin and her friends dance wildly
The leaked video, which is sure to cause embarrassment, was taken from the Instagram stories of a private account and appears to show Finland’s prime minister and her group of Finnish celebrity friends completely unguarded
Marin pictured ready to party at the Flow festival in Helsinki with photographer and influencer Janita Autio – who was featured in the party video – on the latter’s Instagram account
The fun-loving video has drawn criticism within Finland by those who consider the behaviour inappropriate for a world leader, especially in a time of national emergency, with Finland ending its historical neutrality to join NATO and grappling with a belligerent Russia.
At one point a man swishes what appears to be an alcoholic drink past the camera as the beat drops and Marin and her friends dance wildly.
A little earlier in the video, someone can be heard shouting that ‘damn this is going to be a good feeling’.
Marin was dubbed ‘the coolest politician in the world’ by German tabloid Bild just this week for her relaxed and down-to-earth style of leadership which some critics have slammed as ‘careless’.
The paper described her as ‘relaxed, modern and self-confident’ but it added that she ‘can also party’.
Marin belongs to the ‘cool generation’ which Putin really doesn’t like, Bild wrote.
Despite the incoming flak for the young prime minister, there are also those who see the video as giver her a potential popularity boost for behaving the way many young people do.
The embarrassing video comes just months after Marin was forced to apologise for going out clubbing till 4am after coming into contact with a Covid-19 case.
She came under criticism for missing the text telling her she needed to isolate because she had left her work phone that, as prime minister, she should have had on her at all times at home.
Back in December as Omicron rocked Europe, Marin was seen enjoying a Saturday night out at the Butchers nightclub with friends.
Sanna Marin became one of the youngest world leaders in 2019 when she became Finland’s prime minister at the age of 34
Premier Sanna Marin, 36, was seen enjoying a night out at the Butchers nightclub with friends on Saturday – so much so that she did not leave until 4am
However, hours earlier she her Foreign Minister who had had been in close contact with tested positive for Covid. Initially Marin claimed that she did not need to isolate as she was fully vaccinated.
But because she had left her prime minister’s phone at home, she missed the instructions from her own government that she did need to stay home.
She came under fierce criticism for this mishap, with people wondering what would have happened had there been an emergency.
In a statement on Facebook, she said: ‘I am very sorry for not understanding that I needed to do that.’
She was spotted at the nightclub at midnight with her husband Markus Räikkönen and their friends, where she drank Heineken beer and danced.
An eyewitness told the local newspaper: ‘[Marin] sat down with friends and it seemed fun. I noticed that Sanna was a little disturbed by people staring.
‘At the end of the evening, the party surrounded the Prime Minister so that she could be more at ease.’
Marin’s Instagram lifestyle and celebrity friendships attracted the criticism of Sweden’s largest morning newspaper Dagens Nyheter after the nightclub incident.
Columnist Saga Cavalli wrote that Marin ‘seems to love surrounding herself with celebrities and likes to pose on social media,’ and described it as ‘celebrity ass licking’.
According to the author, there is a problem if politicians feel that chasing likes on social media is more important than their weighty political positions.
In Sweden, similar ‘celebrity ass licking’ has largely been spared, or at least it has been kept secret, he wrote.
Sanna Marin with fellow female leaders from the region, Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrin Jakobsdottir, and Norway’s Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Store on Monday August 15
Marin became one of the youngest world leaders and Finland’s youngest ever when she assumed the role of prime minister at the age of 34 in 2019.
She is part of an emerging trend of female leaders emanating from Scandinavia, which includes Katrin Jakobsdottir of Iceland, Magdalena Andersson of Sweden, Mette Frederiksen of Denmark and also Kaja Kallas of Estonia.
The all-female leaders hail from countries in Scandinavia and the Baltics which are staring down Russian warmonger president Vladimir Putin at a time of intensely heightened international tension.
Marin and her Estonian counterpart Kaja Kallas have called for an EU-wide visa ban on Russian citizens as part of the latest prong in the economic war being fought against Putin.
Finland is already planning to slash the number of visas it issues to Russians, with the land border between the two countries being one of the few entry points into Europe for Russians after a string of Western countries closed their airspace to Russian planes.
How the world’s youngest leader, 36, became a politician for the Instagram generation – and is now staring down Putin by leading Finland into NATO
On a girls’ sauna night out – well that’s what you do in Finland – a few years ago, a journalist asked Sanna Marin whether she was going to be leader of her party, the Social Democrats.
‘She just looked at me as if to say, are you even asking me this?’ recalls Kristiina Tolkki. In a situation where most aspiring politicians would try to hide their ambition, Mrs Marin was refreshingly straightforward.
Two years ago – aged 34 – she fulfilled that ambition and became the world’s youngest prime minister.
Having a much bigger – and terrifying – next-door neighbour, Finland has long pursued a policy of neutrality. But Russia’s invasion of Ukraine changed everything.
Mrs Marin has charted a course into NATO, which will almost certainly be followed into the alliance by Sweden (pictured, Mrs Marin meets Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson)
Mrs Marin has impressed with her crisis management since becoming leader – handling the Covid pandemic and now the Russian invasion (pictured with Belgium’s Prime Minister Sophie Wilmes, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and Angela Merkel in 2020)
Even before the conflict began, as Russian troops were massing on the Ukrainian border but the Kremlin was denying any plans to invade, Mrs Marin broke ground in her New Year’s address.
Finland had the right to join NATO, and should consider it, she said. The Russian media was outraged, with critics claiming ‘Moscow was stabbed in the back’.
The Russian crisis has revealed a steely side to the Finnish PM who had previously attracted most attention – perhaps unfairly – for her youth, good looks and progressive social policies.
Some say if the creator of Love Actually was to write the character of a 21st-century female prime minister (akin to Hugh Grant’s dancing PM), he would come up with someone very like Mrs Marin.
The leader of 5.5million people, she was raised in challenging circumstances by her mother, who had split with Mrs Marin’s alcoholic father Lauri at a young age.
Her mother’s next partner was a woman, meaning Mrs Marin grew up in an all-female environment – or a ‘rainbow household’, as she herself later put it.
Ms Marin, who spent her teenage years working in a bakery, said her mother has always been very supportive and made her believe she could do anything she wanted. Pictured with her husband
Ms Marin and her husband, pictured together during her pregnancy (left) and at a Finnish Independence Day ball last year (right), have been together for over five years. She admitted she never expected to get into politics when she was growing up
Ms Marin pictured while pregnant with her husband Markus Raikkonen at Finland’s 100th Anniversary Independence Day Reception in Helsinki
The proud mother and dad Markus shared a photo of their daughter Emma Amalia Marin at four weeks old on her Instagram page
The mother-of-one also shared a candid photo of her breastfeeding Emma in February last year, admitting her little one was so hungry that she and her husband barely got any sleep
Plagued by financial difficulties, the family were often surviving on benefits and Mrs Marin had to work from a young age, working in a bakery and delivering magazines.
And she was far from a child prodigy. Pasi Kervinen, her secondary school teacher in the small town of Pirkkala – on the outskirts of Tampere in southern Finland – told the BBC she was an ‘average’ student, though sometimes asked for extra homework.
In her final year of studies she met partner Markus Raikkonen, a professional footballer who she would date for the next 16 years before marrying in 2020.
Graduating in 2004 at the age of 19, her grades were good enough to get her into university in Tampere – the first in her family to attend – where she studied Administrative Science.
It was while studying that she had her ‘political wake-up call’, when she recalls as a sudden awareness that hard work could not just benefit her own life but the lives of those around her – the poor and women, in particular.
Her affiliation with the Social Democrat party that she now leads began with membership in 2006, and saw her become its first vice president from 2010 to 2012.
Marin’s first foray into active politics actually began with defeat: A loss in the Tampere City Council elections when she was aged just 22.
Speaking after her appointment, Ms Marin said she has ‘never thought’ about her age or gender
Ms Marin appears to have a sweet tooth, having shared fun photos of her tucking into ice cream and candy floss
According to Finish media, Ms Marin was brought up in a ‘rainbow family’ by her mother and her female partner
Ms Marin was born in Helsinki and lived in Espoo and Pirkkala, before moving to Tampere, where she became the first person in her family to go to university. Pictured on a holiday to Italy in July 2017
But at the next election, in 2012, she won – and within months had been promoted to council chairman, a position she held from 2013 until 2017.
During that time she was also elected second deputy chairman of the Social Democratic Party (2014) and elected to the Finnish Parliament as an MP from the electoral district of Pirkanmaa (2015).
Winning a second council election in 2017, she roe to public attention due to popular videos of her chairing council sessions which appeared on YouTube.
She also won a second election to parliament in 2019, and then took on her first truly high-profile job as Minister of Transport and Communications in June that year.
That role introduced Marin to the global stage, representing Finland at EU summits of other transportation ministers.
It was during her first journey to Brussels, in December 2019, that the crisis erupted which would propel her to the very top of politics.
Marin actually had to depart that summit early after Antti Rinne – Social Democrat leader who had been Prime Minister for just six months – summoned her home to help respond to a crisis involving a postal strike.
Rinne eventually lost the confidence of his coalition partner and was forced to step down, with Mrs Marin taking his place as the leader of a new five-party coalition led entirely by women – only one of whom was aged over 35 at the time.
A politician for the Instagram generation – she has posted pictures of herself breastfeeding and pasta recipes – Mrs Marin’s policies have included raising the school-leaving age to 18 and extending parental leave.
Inspired by her own upbringing, her centrepiece legislation has been an Equality Programme aimed at benefiting women and those from low-income backgrounds.
The programme has so-far included policies to encourage parents to share caring responsibilities equally, crack down on domestic violence, close the gender pay gap and improve education for children from poorer backgrounds and immigrants.
Her handling of the pandemic won her plaudits and a majority of public support, though some accuse her of being too dogmatic and unwilling to compromise.
Somehow, amidst the turmoil of her first year in power, she found time to marry Markus – with whom she has a two-year-old daughter, Emma – in a ceremony held at her Prime Ministerial retreat on the Baltic Sea in 2020.
Not long after she took over as head of Finland’s coalition government she caused a sensation by posing for a 2020 magazine photoshoot in a sleek jacket – with nothing underneath.
Some thought the picture eroded her credibility but #imwithsanna quickly took off online, with legions of fans praising her style.
During her rise to success in the political field, Ms Marin has regularly attended Pride events – sharing photos from Turku, a city on the southwest coast of Finland (pictured)
The transport minister was picked by her Social Democratic party after its leader, Antti Rinne, quit as prime minister and will be sworn in this week
Ms Marin charted her pregnancy journey on her Instagram page, sharing selfies of her pregnancy bump (pictured)
‘In every position I’ve ever been in, my gender has always been the starting point – that I am a young woman,’ she told Vogue.
‘I hope one day it won’t be an issue… I’m no better and no worse than a middle-aged man.’
Now faced with another crisis of an entirely different nature – an aggressive and war-minded Putin who violated international norms and security guarantees given to Ukraine by invading – Mrs Marin has once again stepped up.
Tearing up a decades-long neutrality agreement with Russia that has held since the Winter War – Moscow’s ill-fated attempt to invade Finland shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War – Mrs Marin plotted a course into NATO.
Speaking alongside Sweden’s Prime Minister, she stated unequivocally that it is in her country’s interests to apply to join the alliance ‘within days’.
The move represents a complete re-drawing of the security architecture of Europe and marks the beginning of a new phase of post-war relations.
Ultimately, the fear is that Russia will invade. That seems unlikely while its military is tied up fighting in Ukraine, but that war will end sooner or later – and Putin is known to harbour grudges.
Any such war would be devastating for Finland which shares a near-indefensible 800-mile border with Russia, meaning any fighting would more-than-likely happen on its territory.
Never-the-less, Mrs Marin has made her determination clear.
‘Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,’ she said in May.
‘We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.’
It remains to be seen whether the gamble will pay off.