René Nyberg was raised in a bi-lingual environment in Helsinki. In addition to Swedish and Finnish, he learned German at an early age. He attended the specialized Deutsche Schule, where he completed both his Finnish matriculation exams and the German Reifeprüfung in 1965. Upon graduation from the University of Helsinki with a master’s degree in political science, he took a post with the Finland’s Ministry of Education. In autumn 1971, he moved on to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
He devoted most of the 1970s to mastering Russian and working with the Soviet Union. His formal Russian language studies included intensive summer courses in Leningrad in 1971 and 1972, as well as daily contact with Russian in his work at the Finnish embassy in Moscow (1973–1975) and at the Finnish Consulate General in Leningrad (1976–1977). He served as the assistant secretary for the Finnish-Soviet Economic Commission (1977–1979).
Upon returning to the foreign ministry’s political department, he got involved in Nordic Security policy, and published the book “Finland and Nordic Security” in 1984, which he finalized during a sabbatical at Cornel University.
As head of the foreign ministry’s security policy department, he launched an initiative to abolish the sovereignty restrictions of Finland’s 1947 Paris Peace Treaty with the Soviet Union.
In autumn 1990 Finland unilaterally declared the restrictions concerning the Finnish armed forces as null and void.
Nyberg served as Finland’s ambassador in Vienna, head of Finland’s CSCE delegation (1992–1995), ambassador in Moscow (2000–2004) and ambassador in Berlin (2004–2008).
He left diplomatic service in 2008 after he was invited to lead a newly formed organization for promoting the interests of Finnish industry in Russia, the East Office of Finnish Industries. He has served as East Office CEO 2008 -13
He holds the rank of Major (reserve) in the Finnish Army, and has been granted the Cross of Liberty, 1st class.