Finnish Politics

Georgia Burns to The Silence of The Finnish Lambs…….

Finland currently heads the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) but you wouldn’t know it. For any country chairing that organization, it means having to give voice to authority, meaning “stepping up to the plate and call things as they are”.

Presently, not one of the Finland’s government leaders have condemned outright the Russian attack on Georgia’s sovereignty, something of which the US, Germany, UK, France have done.

Finns loathe the Cold War term “Finlandization of Europe”, but nothing could be more evident in the past few days than the virtual silence of Finnish leaders over the actions of the Russians. Finnish FM, Alexander Stubb, visited the Georgian Republic yesterday and is currently in Russia with the French FM, Bernard Kouchner, negotiating with Kremlin leaders, but it’s highly unlikely that he’ll stomp his foot at President Dmitri Medvedev or Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Personally, I’m ashamed of the Finnish leadership’s lack of enthuisiasm for supporting Georgian sovereignty, and while the situation is not any where near what Finland faced in 1939, Georgia is still a fellow democracy and deserves our support. The Cold War mentality in Finland is unfortunately alive and well. KGS

16 Responses

  1. Mr. Tundra Tabloid.
    May You kindly tell me what the state of Israel has stated about the situation in Georgia.
    Sincerely Yours

  2. “Israel is following with great concern the developments in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and hopes the violence will end.

    Israel recognizes the territorial integrity of Georgia and calls for a peaceful solution.”

    http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/About+the+Ministry/MFA+Spokesman/2008/MFA+statement+on+the+situation+in+Georgia+10-Aug-2008.htm

    A pale response as well, but as we all know, Israel is not heading the OSCE, Finland is. If I were an Israeli, I’d suppose I’d be clamoring about the lack of a proper response with teeth as well.

  3. The more worrying aspect of current “Finlandization” is the fact that other European countries tend to appease Russia more eagerly than they did during the Cold War.

    The timid Finnish response should not come as a surprise to anyone. Prime minister Matti Vanhanen began his career during the era of “Finlandization”.

    Here is an op-ed written by Vanhanen in 1985.

    Baltic Star (in Finnish)

    The site is a Seppo Lehto site but the text is genuine and describes accurately the political climate of the time.

    President Tarja Halonen used to be a member of the anti-EEC activists that tried to prevent Finland from signing the free trade treaty with EEC in the early 70’s. Halonen also took part in lobbying for the recognition of DDR.

    The only member in the Finnish cabinet that has no experience of the politics of Finlandization is Alexander Stubb, but he’s an europhile and tends to rely too much on the EU and OSCE, which are completely toothless against blatant Russian aggression.

  4. Dear Mr. Tundra Tabloid

    I appreciate Your way to defend the free world but may I tell You concerning Finland ja Georgia.

    1. Finland’s President Halonen called President Medvedev directly and asked him to stop the warfare in Georgia.

    2. Finland’s foreign minister Stubb has asked with president Sarcozy the cease-fire in Georgia and president Medvedev has advised to stop the invasion.

    What else You want from Finland’s side. Perhaps violent demonstrations on the streets ?

    Sincerely

  5. Condemning the invasion in strong terms like the presidents of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia and Poland just recently did.

    Screw the “soft politics”. The Kesisuomalainen editorial in today’s edition lauded Finland’s nuetral position (myth) and how it has landed Finland in a position of peacemaker.

    What the other Baltic states has learned however, is that if or when they are invaded, don’t count on Finland to voice any strong statements of condemnation. We will cry soft tears of condolences and ask for assurances, but don’t look to us to do anything more.

  6. To kgs.

    You have to remember that Estonia, Poland, Latvia and Lithuania are member states of NATO. They are in an other position compared to Finland.

    Btw Israel enjoys respect from the site of finnish citizens. We have no need to comment arrogant the behavior
    of Israel.

    For example US appreciates the finnish diplomacy to the eastern direction.

  7. All the more reason for Finland to join NATO and shoulder the burden of defending the Free West. How much longer will we Finns be free riding the West with our golden calf…”neutrality”?

    Please give an example of Finnish diplomacy actually acheiving something concretely positive for the US?

    I hope your example doesn’t include the disaterous “Detente” of the 70’s.

  8. I tend to agree with KGS on this. The so called ‘soft diplomacy’ is completely useless against an aggressive empire prepared to invade a smaller neighbor.

    Finnish foreign policy is delusional at best. The so called NATO option that our foreign policy establishment keeps repeating guarantees absolutely nothing. And EU military dimension is not worth the paper it’s written to.

    And when it comes to Finland’s reputation as a peacemaker, it serves only as a means to congratulate ourselves and masks the true reason of our appeasement policy towards Russia, which is fear.

    All this is tolerable but the way some Finnish politicians try to lecture the Baltic countries about how they should deal with Russia simply makes me puke.

  9. To kgs.
    After WWII Germany was occupied by US, Soviet Union, France and Great Britain.

    Also Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia were occupied by russian army.

    Finland defended successfully her western democracy in summer 1944 when Stalin’s army tried to occupy the country.

    Even if Finland has good relations to her neighboring country Russia, both countries tolerate the possible critique from each others side.

    Finland is a peace partner with NATO in many foreign countries and enjoys respect from NATO’s side.

  10. Hi Pekka,

    I admire your stanima, and I guees this hits a raw nerve of yours,but don’t take this personal.. OK?

    First of all, The Allied Powers did in fact occupy Germany. Occupation in itself is not an unjust act, it depends upon the circumstances.

    The Western forces justifiably oocupied W.Germany, the Soviets of course did so in the Baltics and elsewhere…unjustifiably. There can be no comparison.

    I do not believe for a minute that Russia ” tolerates the possible critique”. When Finland speaks of Russia, it’s ALWAYS couched in vague and uncritical diplo-speak. Finland views its relationship with Russia as a priority, while Russia views Finland as just one of many relationships.

    The only exception I can see in Finnish politicians vis-a-vis Russia is Heidi Hautala. She has taken alot of flak for her harsh words.

  11. To KGS
    I can see that You are an emotional person which is human but between the states there is no room to big emotions.

    You are right that by supporting the opposition in Russia the citizens of western countries help Russia to build a democratic society.

    Prime minister Putin’s vision about the role of opposition is negative.

    Perhaps You understand that Russia’s problems are inside the russian borders and Finland has not a major responsibility what is hapening inside Russia.

    BTW I personally am a supporter of Israel.

  12. Eh…puhleeeze! You’re kidding right? You are the one all “knee jerky” about me calling them as I see them.

    I believe that I have looked upon the whole situation in a very reasonable, logical fashion. That you refuse to acknowledge Finnish timidity where Russia is concerned, I find amusing. Just look at the comments made by other Finns, they tend to back up my POV.

    That said, I whole heartedly thank you for your support of the Jewish state, Israel needs all her friends.

    That said, I fail to see why you drag Israel into all of this in the first place, this is all about Finland prostrating itself before Moscow.

    They do it all the time. I watch and read all the Finnish TV/newspaper reports, and my stomach has turned on many occasions.

    Vanhanen rolled over like a young pup in much the same way during the Mohammed cartoon crisis. Finlandization and Dhimmitude have much in common,… fear through intimdation.

  13. Dear KGS

    When You analyse the finnish policy, You have to follow the deeds, not so much the speech.

    For example in the media was said that finnish artillery is bigger ( a little bigger) that the artillery in Germany.

    Perhaps there is a difference between mediterranean and northern temperant.

    I guess that posture of Israel would be more pragmatic concerning Russia if she had a 1000 km shared border with Russia.

    Sweden has safe to criticize Russia behind Finland’s back.

  14. The fact is that Kremlin currently controls most of the media outlets in Russia. There is dissent but it has been effetively marginalized.

    The fact is that Kremlin’s policy in Georgia has widespread public support. It is fair to say that the majority of Russians support current policy in Georgia.

    Almost 50 per cent of Russians think that Stalin was the greatest hero of all time.

    It is naive to think that that a state like Russia that is ruled by thugs can be effectively appeased. You need backup and the only credible backup available is NATO. It is hardly perfect but what other options do we have?

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