Finlandization : Explained – UPSC GS2

Context: Finlandization is in news in context of Ukraine-Russia conflict.
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.
  • The 1948 treaty formed the basis of Finland-Russia relations until 1992, when Finland signed a new agreement with post-Soviet Russia.
  • It lay at the heart of Finland’s foreign policy doctrine especially 1946 to 1982 and is known in international relations studies as the “Paasikivi-Kekkonen line”.
  • From the perspective of Finland, whose capital Helsinki is situated just across the Gulf of Finland from St Petersburg (Leningrad), the treaty protected it from being attacked or incorporated into the USSR like the Baltic and eastern European states.
  • It allowed the country to pursue the path of democracy and capitalism while staying out of the conflict between the great powers.
  • Finland did not participate in the Marshall Plan. It took neutral positions on matters on which the Soviet Union and the West disagreed. It stayed aloof from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) and European military powers, and used this positioning to ward off pressure from Moscow to become part of the Soviet bloc or the Warsaw Pact.
  • Marshall Plan was a U.S.-sponsored program designed to rehabilitate the economies of 17 western and southern European countries in order to create stable conditions in which democratic institutions could survive in the aftermath of World War II.
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