Finland votes to join NATO. Well, to each their own, and Finland choses to exchange a prosperous border trade with almost transparent border without any remotely significant number of troops stationed along it to a locked border with a heavy concentration of military hardware and Helsinki added to the nuclear deterrent target list. If Finland wants to have the longest NATO border with Russia with all the consequences it entails, so be it.
In this post I want to present to translations of articles, one looking back at the history of Finnish-Russian relations, which the Finns prefer not to remember (or, maybe, they do remember, and are afraid of retribution?), and one looking at the possible future consequences, including economic, of the Finnish choice.
Sergey Vasiliev on April 15, 13:45
In 1550, the Swedish king Gustav I Vasa, by his decree, resettled several hundred residents of the city of Borgo, in Finnish – Porvoo, at the mouth of the Vantaa River flowing into the Gulf of Finland, ordering the construction of a commercial port. The river with the local name Helsing had several rapids – in Swedish “fors”, which gave the name of the settlement – Helsingfors. By the time it became part of the Russian Empire under the Friedrichsham Peace Treaty, the city had only four thousand inhabitants. Quite a backwater.
The first thing that Russians always did when they came to the wild lands was to build furiously and selflessly. The poor, shabby former outskirts of Sweden did not escape this fate either. Emperor Alexander I made Helsingfors the capital of the Grand Duchy of Finland. Under Nicholas I, a university was transferred here from the capital, named by him in honour of his brother Alexandrovsky. Alexander II granted the Russian colony its own constitution and a set of rights and freedoms that no one else enjoyed in the metropolis. Finland did not know serfdom. Finns were not recruited into the army even during the World War. They did not pay taxes, but enjoyed all the rights of subjects of the Empire. Finland had schools and gymnasiums with instruction in the Finnish language, had its own parliament and court. Along with the rouble, the Finnish Marka issued by the Bank of Finland was in circulation. The internal market of the principality was protected by customs while Finnish goods crossed the border of the Empire duty-free.
According to the tsarist authorities, all these goodies were supposed to arise a sense of gratitude among the local population, awaken a burst of patriotism and firmly bind the Scandinavian outskirts to the Russian Empire. Everything happened the other way around. Spoiled by the unprecedented benefits and privileges that fell on them for who knows what merits, the Finnish population gradually began to look at the titular people of Russia with disdain, as losers who were not able to organize for themselves the same standard of living as the Scandinavians, basking in the warmth of the tsar.
The Grand Duchy of Finland paid nothing to the treasury of the Russian Empire. The welfare of the natives exceeded the average Russian level. Thanks to this, peasant day-workers came from nearby provinces streamed to the Finnish village. Newcomers in Finland have always been disliked, a rural policeman could detain them, rob them for no reason, simply out of a sense of personal hostility. Archival reports have preserved eyewitness accounts of how, long before the revolution, the robbed peddlers from the Russian villages had to flee from the Finnish “hospitality”, while local policemen shouted: “Kill the damned Russians, nothing will happen to you!”.
Everyday nationalism, growing like a wild flower in the backyard of a Finnish village, as the local intelligentsia formed, successfully attached its root to the Russian treasury, flourished at the beginning of the twentieth century in the high society of the principality. In Finnish opposition newspapers, at first timidly, and then more and more insistently, appeals began to appear: “If we love our country, we need to learn to hate its enemies… Therefore, in the name of our honour and freedom, let our motto sound: “Hate and love! The death of “ryusya”! Or: “Russia has always been and will remain the enemy of humanity and humane development. Has there ever been a benefit from the existence of the Russian people for us? No!”.
And then there was 1918 and the systemic genocide of Russians that began in Vyborg. On April 29, Vyborg was taken by the Finns. Finnish units entered the city with the slogan: “Shoot the Russians!”. The Finns seized all the Russians they found on the streets: officers, officials, high school students… They were led to the Friedrichgam Gate, behind which death was awaiting.
An eyewitness described what happened in Vyborg in this way:
“… not far from the Pimenovs’ house, two realists were killed, who ran out in uniforms to greet the “whites”; 3 cadets were killed in the city; the Finns cordoned off and drove people into the fortress moat; at the same time they captured part of the crowd that was on the streets, and indiscriminately and without any talk finished them off in the moat and in other places…. Before the shooting, they tore off people’s watches, rings, took away purses, pulled off boots, clothes, etc…. Russian officers were especially hunted… relatives then found them in piles of bodies in the moat: even their underwear was removed from them.”
A Swede Lars Westerlund has published a research book dedicated to this tragedy. From the book:
“The youngest of those killed was 12-year-old Sergei Bogdanov and 13-year-old Alexander Chubikov, who were shot between the ramparts. The 14-year-old son of a worker, Nikolai Gavrilov, has disappeared. Perhaps it was the same boy that Impi Lempinen was talking about: I again ended up in a small group where Russian was spoken in whispers, and there were a lot of Russians,” he said. “There was also a friend of mine, a 14-year-old boy who spoke Russian, who was born in Vyborg. One monster rushed to the group with a branch of fir on his hat and shouted: “Don’t you know, all Russians are to be killed?” Then this young boy bared his chest and shouted: “There is one Russian here, shoot.” The monster took out a weapon and fired, the dead boy was a brave Russian.”
The Russian population of Finland was completely destroyed… No one, of course, recognized the tragedy as genocide. But this story has a sequel. In 2018, Finland issued a commemorative medal dedicated to this “feat”. It captures the documentary moment of the shooting of the Russian civilians by the Finnish soldiers.
Finland remembers! Finland is proud!
We will remember, too…
Rostislav Ishchenko, 23.04.2022, 15:48
The Finnish Parliament voted overwhelmingly (56% of the list of deputies) for the country’s accession to NATO. In principle, against the background of traditional Finnish everyday Russophobia and the anti-Russian hysteria staged by the West in recent months, this was to be expected.
But it’s still unpleasant. The policy of “Finlandization”, propagandized as the most successful example of convergence, ended in complete failure.
Moreover, the increase in the border with NATO by two thousand kilometres is not the worst news. Of course, the border must be strengthened, new groups of troops must be created, and it is necessary to proceed from the fact that that in the event of the expansion of the Ukrainian crisis at least to Eastern Europe, Russia risks getting a full-fledged front, the same length as in the Great Patriotic War: from the Black Sea to the Barents Sea.
However, the military part of the problem has some positive feature. That being the absolute clarity. The fact is that the political leadership of any state does not like to spend extra money on strengthening borders if there is no absolute guarantee that a threat is coming from that direction. On the contrary, they usually try not to “provoke” even a not very loyal neighbour, so as not to frighten and provoke retaliatory measures that draw countries into a bad sequence of mutual escalation of tension. In the conditions of ordinary peacetime, such a policy is fully justified and effective, but it is rarely possible to catch the moment when peace is still on the lips, but war is already on the threshold. Usually they still try to blow on the milk so as not to get burned with water.
At the same time, the West, when it considered such an approach advantageous, never tied itself to someone’s neutrality if it could violate it with impunity. We are well aware of cases of Germany violating the neutrality of Belgium, Holland, Denmark and Norway in two world wars. But it was not only the Germans who sinned with this approach.
For example, on the eve of World War II, Great Britain and France warned Belgium that if it did not join the Allies voluntarily, they would be forced to use Belgian territory for military purposes against the will of the Belgian government. There is reason to believe that similar plans existed before the First World War.
Great Britain and France, during the First World War, after the defeat of Serbia, forced Greece to act on the side of the allies, even achieving the abdication of the Greek king Constantine for this. During the Second World War, Great Britain launched an operation to seize the northern Norwegian ports, but the Kriegsmarine was several hours ahead of the Home Fleet with their deployment. During the Second World War, all the great powers, without exception, looked at the sovereignty of the Balkan countries as “an unfortunate misunderstanding”.
That is, the neutrality of buffer states exists exactly as long as one of the opposing great powers does not consider it advantageous to violate it. In our case, it is not necessary to be Merlin to understand that in the event of a major European war, NATO under the leadership of the United States and Britain would in any case violate Finland’s neutrality, with complete non-resistance to the violent evil on the part of the Finnish authorities and the army. Sweden’s neutrality, theoretically, could be formally preserved solely in order to protect from the Russian strikes the NATO’s transit of the military transports through its territory.
Thus, unpleasant certainty in this case is politically better for us than pleasant uncertainty, forcing us to hope for the best and preventing us from preparing for the worst.
But there is another side to this coin. Finland was not the only country that proclaimed permanent neutrality as the basis of its foreign policy. Austria and Switzerland took a similar position. Permanent neutrality was declared the basic basis of the Ukrainian state in the Declaration on State Sovereignty of Ukraine. Coupled with NATO’s commitment not to expand eastward, all this created a huge buffer zone of permanently neutral and newly independent states between Russia and NATO. This zone, which ensures the absence of direct contact between the borders of Russia and NATO (except for a narrow section of the Norwegian border), was the basis of international security in the 90s. In order to create a threat to Russia, NATO needed to first appropriate this vast space in military and political terms.
In 1999, the development of neutral space began with the admission of Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic to NATO. It is now being completed. There is no need to even accept a nazified Ukraine into NATO. She voluntarily and for free drags the hottest chestnuts out of the fire for the USA. The neutrality of Finland and Sweden is being destroyed before our eyes, after which a consolidated hostile Russophobic Europe grows up on the Russian borders, propped up by the USA and Canada from across the Atlantic.
However, on this path, the United States lost Turkey, which, formally remaining a member of NATO, but in fact pursues an independent policy of “armed neutrality” — does not spoil relations with anyone completely, waiting for the winner of the global confrontation to be determined in order to make the final choice. In terms of economic and its own security, friendship with the developing Russian-Chinese bloc (within the framework of “Greater Eurasia”) is certainly more profitable for Ankara, but Turkey will not enter into conflict with the United States until it is convinced that the former hegemon has finally been defeated. In fact, in the conditions of a hybrid Third World War, Turkey is not without success trying to repeat the policy of avoiding participation in alliances that it conducted during the Second World War.
So, in an effort to get a mechanism first to control Russia, and then to destroy it, the United States destroyed the buffer zone, brought NATO to the entire space of Russia’s western borders and created a real military threat to the entire European part of Russia, provoking a military conflict in Ukraine and trying to expand it to the whole of Eastern Europe. In fact, Washington is trying to turn the entire former buffer zone into a war zone, leaving the classic West outside of it. In extreme cases, they are ready to sacrifice the whole of Europe, just to stay above the fight themselves and habitually get the dividends on someone else’s blood.
It is clear that in order to achieve maximum success, the United States needs to throw as many allied Eastern European armies as possible into the maws of war with Russia all at once. Lacking numerical and absolute technical superiority, Russia will either have to enter a war of attrition to the delight of the United States (in which the West has more resources), or begin a general mobilization, which will give little in military terms (millions of untrained will not change the situation on the battlefield), but will undermine the economy and socio-political stability of the country, or to sweep the pieces off the board and create a new geopolitical reality with one massive nuclear strike, in which the old civilization no longer exists, and whether there will be a new one and when, if so, is unknown.
Washington believes that in such a situation, Russia will not dare to launch a preventive massive nuclear strike, and other ways quickly or slowly, but surely, will lead it to defeat. However, the Eastern European coalition still needs to be created and forced to fight, and to do so, before the anti-Russian sanctions, suicidal for the West, destroy the US and EU economies and put a stop to their geopolitical ambitions.
It is important for Russia not to allow the unification of the military potentials of Eastern European limitrophes under the American umbrella. The American Eastern European anti—Russian bridgehead must be destroyed in the same way as the Americans eliminated the buffer zone – one-by-one or in small parts.
The military defeat of the Kiev Nazi regime and the destruction of the aggressive Ukrainian state will temporarily stabilize the situation on the southern flank and in the central part of the Russian-NATO front. Poland and Romania will not risk rushing into the conflict after the Ukrainian army ceases to exist (it’s one thing to prop up someone else’s cannon fodder from the rear, it’s a totally different thing to be such fodder yourself).
This period will be favourable in order to completely destroy Finland economically, whose economy depends on Russian raw materials and the Russian market by slightly less than 100%. A financial and economic catastrophe always and everywhere entails a socio-political catastrophe. One cannot fight in such state, while the Finns can powerlessly Russophobize in Muurikkala and Parikkala as much as they want.
After the northern and southern flanks (from the Mediterranean to the Barents Sea) are out of danger, the US will not be able to oppose Russia with something significant in the centre (between the Black and Baltic Seas). And by that time, the economic crisis will make itself felt in the West in full potential. In general, the main thing is not to let the Americans organize a crusade of Eastern Europe against Russia until the middle of 2024, and then it should become easier: their own economic problems will occupy all the attention of the West.
However, Europe will not be the same. In particular, permanent neutralities have almost no chance of revival in the near future. In its fruitless attempt to preserve global hegemony, the United States has raised the stakes so high that no post-war compromise, no balance of power in the western direction is any longer possible. Only one system will remain — the second one will collapse completely, as it was with Nazi Germany, only now the entire West mobilized by the Americans for war with Russia is in place of the Reich. (Translator note: actually, it was the same during WWII. See: The Great Unknown War. A must-see documentary about the WWII prelude. By Andrei Medvedev)
The need for an Eastern European buffer has disappeared. Now the “transatlantic” West itself, in the best case for itself, can claim the role of a temporary buffer (until the final establishment of a new world order) between Russia and China. Russia in Europe will partially return the old imperial provinces that once fell off, and partially create new protectorates. But in this new picture of the world, there is no place for either neutral Finland or independent Ukraine. They are heading for such an economic and demographic catastrophe, after which only a strong Russia can restore normal life in these territories, revive civilization, and why should a strong Russia give to the ungrateful neighbours revived lands once again at its own expense?
The forms of control can be different: from complete Russification with incorporation into Russia, to formally maintaining independence with a total ban on independent (without coordination with Moscow) military, foreign, domestic, economic and financial policies, but control must be absolute (at least for the first hundred years). Otherwise, the transatlantic evil will resurface on European soil and creep to our borders.