Finland was part of Sweden until the 18th century when the southeast territory was conquered by Russia. The rest of the country was ceded to Russia by the treaty of Hamina in 1809 when Finland became an autonomous grand-duchy retaining its laws and institutions under a grand duke, the Emperor of Russia. The Diet, elected since 1906 on universal suffrage, produced in 1916 a social democrat majority, the first in Europe. After the Russian revolution Finland declared itself independent but civil war broke out in Jan. 1918 between the ‘whites’ and ‘reds’, the latter supported by Russian Bolshevik forces. The defeat of the red guards led to a peace treaty with Soviet Russia, signed in 1920. On 30 Nov. 1939 a Soviet invasion compelled Finland to cede 32,806 sq. km including the Carelian Isthmus, Viipuri and the shores of Lake Ladoga. When the German attack on the USSR was launched in June 1941 Finland was again involved in war against the USSR. On 19 Sept. 1944 an armistice was signed in Moscow. Finland agreed to cede more territory and to pay reparations. To pacify the USSR, the post-war premier and later president Juho Passikivi pursued a policy of neutralism favourable to the Russians. This policy, known as Finlandization, was continued under Presidents Urho Kekkonen (1956–81) and Mauno Koivisto (1981–94). With the collapse of the Soviet Union, Finland was able to adopt an independent foreign policy which led to EU admission in 1995.
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