Understanding the nature of relationship between Finland and the erstwhile Soviet Union

Contact Counsellor

Understanding the nature of relationship between Finland and the erstwhile Soviet Union

  • Finland and Sweden should not base their security on damaging security of other countries
  • Their accession to NATO can have detrimental consequences and face some military and political consequences.


  • Origin of Finlandisation can be broadly traced back to Cold War when Finland did not join NATO and enjoyed non-interfering stance from Moscow due to Finno-Soviet Treaty of 1948.
  • Moscow was deeply concerned with developments in Finland and did not want them to sway towards Moscow’s ideological adversaries.

Turn of events

  • Social Democrats of Finland felt that Kekkonen did not support government during Night Frost crisis and thus, alongside the Conservatives, fielded a candidate against him.
  • This was viewed by Moscow as potential German interference
  • Part of larger international ploy at work aimed at strengthening German influence in the region.
  • For reasons which can only be debated without much proof, the candidate stepped back.
  • Kekkonen won the next election, and then a few more, eventually ending his 26-year long presidency in 1982.
  • While the term ‘Finlandisation’ can largely be seen to mean that smaller power bows down in front of a larger power to safeguard its titular independence, we need to be careful when applying same principle to other countries.
  • In the current context, Finlandisation of Ukraine makes little sense.
  • For one, Moscow has already stormed an assault on sovereignty of Ukraine, and would be looking to balkanise the region in the event of peace talks failing and then successfully crushing Ukrainian defences.
  • Secondly, current geopolitical reality is starkly different.
  • We see a dwindling Russia, an ascending China, and a U.S. which, while still being militarily strong, is not the ultimate hegemony that it once was.
  • We also don’t see any similar incursive tendencies from a European country.


  • Post-Cold War geopolitical climate has not just been one of maintenance of status quo of America’s hegemony
  • Proxy wars are being fought around the world.
  • China’s ascension has shifted dynamics and bent game in its favour.
  • Looking at Taiwan, we see how unlikely a Finlandisation of it from an American perspective is going to work.
  • If the Americans are not coming to help Ukrainians by lending them military support and are only trying to help through imposition of economic sanctions on Moscow, what hope can Taiwanese have, if China decides to get a little more adventurous.