Conclusion: Finnish-Soviet Relations, a Model?
Many Western observers have tended to regard Finland as lying within an extended and loosely defined Soviet sphere of influence. Finnish policies and political practices have often been interpreted simply as responses to the proximity of Soviet power. Such assumptions underlie the notion of Finlandisation. But as this study reveals, the influences which have determined Finland’s domestic and foreign policies have been multifarious, and the Soviet Union has been far less intrusive in its relations with Finland than is commonly believed. These Finnish policies have frequently been misconstrued by those who have little knowledge of Finland but have been intent on uncovering the hidden Soviet hand in this country. Western commentators attracted to the model of Finlandisation have downgraded the importance of historical factors and have greatly underestimated the resilience and diversity of Finnish political life. They have often overlooked the broader interests behind Finland’s neutral foreign policy and failed to appreciate the role of Finland’s post-war treaties. The priority given to the maintenance of cordial relations and a positive dialogue with the USSR in the spirit, and in some areas the letter, of these treaties, has resulted at times in peculiarities or anomalies in Finnish politics.
KeywordsForeign Policy Political Practice Peaceful Coexistence Nordic Region Military Defence
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Notes and References
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- 5.Speech on 28 August 1955, T. Vilkuna (ed.), Urho Kekkonen Puheita ja Kirjoituksia I, pp. 358–9.Google Scholar
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- 7.Argued by J. Erickson, March 1980. Cited in F. Halliday, Threat From the East? Soviet Policy from Afghanistan and Iran to the Horn of Africa (London: 1982) p. 148.Google Scholar