Finland did not bow to Russia

More than 80 years ago, little Finland opposed Russia. Today, the country has not bowed to the Russians again. And humiliate Vladimir Putin.

I was a teenager when my godmother Olga first told me about the “Winter War” between the Soviet Union and Finland in the winter of 1939/1940. When Stalin began his ill-prepared campaign of conquest against Finland under a fictitious pretext, Olga worked as a nurse in Moscow.

“Only a few lines were mentioned in textbooks in this textbook.”

It was horrible. They brought in countless young soldiers with horrible frostbite and wounds from snipers who could not be cured at all. The Finns destroyed our army, but we were forbidden to talk about it. They had to give us several areas, but we never managed to conquer them, “said my godmother. This was a real shock to me because in our textbooks this war was mentioned in just a few lines.

During my childhood, ie. in the 1970s and 1980s, Finland was seen in the then Soviet Union as the “friendliest” of all capitalist countries. Some Finnish products, such as melted cheese or winter jackets, were almost the only Western products that Soviet citizens were able to obtain. But after the stories of my godmother Olga, I could no longer look at the Finns as harmless cheesemakers.

Years later, I heard for the first time a famous Finnish song from the 1939 war, whose refrain “Net, Molotov” ridiculed Stalin’s People’s Commissar for Foreign Affairs, Vyacheslav Molotov. The Finns had indeed managed to preserve their independence, albeit at the cost of certain restrictions and conditions dictated by Moscow.

Observance of neutrality was the most important of these conditions. In other words, the ban on Finland from joining NATO was founded in 1949. Even when the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991, the Finnish public remained reluctant to join the Alliance.

Finland has always been very closely linked to Russia economically. Most of the country’s oil and gas needs are met by Russian supplies. Rosatom, Russia’s state-owned nuclear power plant, is even planning to build a plant in Finland. And this is rare for a western country.

Maintaining political contacts with the Kremlin has been an integral part of Finnish politics. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is one of the few Western politicians to have had regular talks or meetings with Russian President Putin until January.

Today, however, the old 1939 military hit is being sung again in Helsinki. The Finns say “No” again – this time to Putin. And they are ready to join the North Atlantic Alliance. Finland’s neutrality – one of the longest-lasting features of European security architecture since World War II – collapsed in just a few weeks – under the influence of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.

For Putin, this is a severe political blow. Since his first official visit to Finland in 2001, he has consistently worked hard to maintain political and economic contacts between the two countries. And now he is forced to see how the fruits of his policy have been destroyed in just a few weeks. Finland has also taken a second symbolic act, abandoning the Rosatom nuclear power plant project.

In response, Russia cut off electricity supplies to Finland on the night of May 14. However, the Finns are prepared for possible difficulties and are already looking for new energy suppliers. Their many years of experience in contact with Russia have taught them that the Kremlin takes seriously only those who are willing to sacrifice and who do not bend.

Putin’s attempt at military extortion is doomed to failure

The war in Ukraine has revealed how unfortunate the state of the Russian army is. At the same time, the Finnish Armed Forces regularly participate in NATO exercises, have modern weapons, and are fully compatible with the rest of the Alliance’s armies.

If the Kremlin decides to increase its military presence along the 1,000-kilometer border with Finland, Finns will be able to count on the support of their new NATO allies, including the United States, which will transfer its troops and weapons to the region.

Russia’s strategic position in northern Europe will deteriorate significantly. Sweden will probably follow the Finnish example, and so the Baltic region will become a de facto NATO territory.

As long as the Alliance wishes, it will be able to isolate Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave between Poland and Lithuania, much easier.

What an irony: Putin has turned the fight against NATO enlargement into his trademark, and now he is forced to watch NATO troops stationed 130 kilometers from St. Petersburg. Molotov would not like that at all.

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