What is Finlandization?
- It refers to the policy of strict neutrality towards Moscow (Russia) and the West that Finland followed during the decades of the Cold War.
- The principle of neutrality was rooted in the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance (or YYA Treaty) that Finland signed with the USSR in April 1948.
- Article 1 of the treaty reads: “In the eventuality of Finland, or the Soviet Union through Finnish territory, becoming the object of an armed attack by Germany or any state allied with the latter (meaning, essentially, the United States), Finland will, true to its obligations as an independent state, fight to repel the attack.
- Finland will in such cases use all its available forces for defending its territorial integrity by land, sea, and air, and will do so within the frontiers of Finland in accordance with obligations defined in the present agreement and, if necessary, with the assistance of or jointly with, the Soviet Union.
- In such cases, the Soviet Union will give Finland the help that it requires, subject to mutual agreement between the contracting parties.
What did Finland do after its War with Russia was over?
- The 1948 treaty between Finland and Russia, which remained in effect until 1992, played a crucial role in shaping Finland’s foreign relations. In international studies, it’s referred to as the “Paasikivi-Kekkonen line” and had a significant impact on Finland’s foreign policy doctrine, especially from 1946 to 1982.
- Finland, located just across the Gulf of Finland from St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), viewed this treaty as a shield against potential aggression or annexation by the USSR, in contrast to the fate of the Baltic and eastern European states.
- This treaty allowed Finland to follow a path of democracy and capitalism while staying clear of conflicts between major world powers. It provided Finland with the freedom to make its own choices and decisions in international affairs.
- Notably, Finland did not participate in the Marshall Plan, a U.S.-sponsored initiative aimed at revitalizing the economies of 17 Western and Southern European countries after World War II. Instead, Finland maintained a neutral stance on issues that divided the Soviet Union and Western nations.
- Finland also avoided aligning with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and European military alliances. This strategic neutrality helped Finland resist pressure from Moscow to join the Soviet bloc or the Warsaw Pact, ensuring its independence and autonomy.
Way Forward for Ukraine
- Ukraine deserves the freedom to make its own choices when it comes to economic and political partnerships, even when it comes to Europe.
- Ukraine’s decision to join NATO should be optional, allowing the country to establish a government that truly reflects the desires of its citizens.
- Ukraine should adopt a stance similar to Finland, which is known for its strong independence. While cooperating with Western nations across various areas, it should be cautious about engaging in any antagonistic actions against Russia.
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