Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Window on Eurasia: In Karelia, Finlandization in Reverse?

Paul Goble


            Staunton, December 24 – The procuracy in Karelia has refused to find a website which has denounced the Russian occupation of that land and called for a referendum on its future extremist and thus subject to banning, an indication that Moscow may be practicing a kind of Finlandization in reverse and thus avoiding antagonizing its neighbor.


            Sites elsewhere in the Russian Federation which contain far less dramatic materials have been subject to banning, but when Sergey Pirozhnikov, a deputy in the Karelian parliament, asked the powers that be to take the same step with the Stop the Occupation of Karelia portal (, they refused (  and


            On the basis of what it said were expert opinions, the procuracy refused to ban the site for extremism even though it contains articles denouncing the Russian occupation of the republic, Moscow’s suppression of the legitimate government of that area, and the failure of the authorities to allow a referendum on the future status of the region.


            The procuracy did say, in a letter to Pirozhnikov, that some of these materials were extremist even though it refused to find the site as a whole worthy of that designation. The letter added that it would seek approval of the courts to declare those materials extremist and thus subject to ban.


            In most parts of the Russian Federation, such calls would be more than sufficient for the authorities to declare the site extremist and seek to block it. But apparently, both officials in Karelia and officials in Moscow overseeing Karelia have decided that trying to ban the site, which is based abroad, would offend many Finns and thus counterproductive.


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