Monday, May 30, 2022

‘Finlandization’ as Policy Choice Now ‘in Dustbin of History,’ Grani Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 15 – During the Cold War, Finland maintained its own social, economic and political system by not doing anything that could anger its eastern neighbor, the Soviet Union, a policy that not only acquired the name “Finlandization” but also has become a favored recommendation by some in the West for other countries faced with similar challenges.

            But now that Finland, together with historically “neutral” Sweden, has applied for membership in NATO, that policy has come to an end in the country which gave it its name, along with neutrality elsewhere in the face of Russian aggression, according to the editors of the Grani portal (

            Today the voices of the most inveterate promoters of cooperation with Russia are being drowns out by others who recognize as Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas recently put it that “peace cannot be the final goal if it means that aggression pays off” (

            “Experts are unanimous,” Grani says, “that Sweden and Finland will not only go under the nuclear umbrella NATO officers but will be donors to European security … Now, the Baltic Sea will become completely a NATO body of water; and NATO policy makers will be in a position to think even more broadly about security issues far from its core concerns.

            But what is most important, the portal suggests, is that people of good will will stop telling the Ukrainians who are fighting for their lives that Finlandization is a good idea and that the Ukrainians should respond to Russian aggression by adopting that policy rather than continue to fight for their right to control their own fate.

            Although the editors of Grani do not raise the point, the end of neutrality they do speak about also applies to those governments on the territory of the former Soviet space who are trying to adopt the same strategy Finland did in the past, an approach most often known as “a balanced foreign policy.” In the age of Putinist aggression, that is not a viable option.

            Such countries will have to make a choice; and one can only hope that the West will provide them with sufficient support that they will be able to make one that will benefit themselves and their nations rather than put them under the yoke of the Kremlin once again. 

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