) is the influence that one powerful country may have on the policies of a smaller neighboring country.

It is generally considered to be pejorative, originating in West German political debate of the late 1960s and 1970s. As the term was used in Germany and other NATO countries, it meant the process of turning into a neutral country which, although maintaining national sovereignty, in foreign politics resolves not to challenge a more powerful neighbour. Commonly in reference to Finland's policies vis-à-vis the Soviet Union during the Cold War, but could refer to similar international relations, such as Denmark's attitude toward Germany between 1871 and 1940.

Origin and international usage

In Germany, the term was used mainly by proponents of closer adaptation to US policies, chiefly Franz Josef Strauss, but was initially coined in scholarly debate, and made known by the German political scientists Walther Hallstein and Richard Löwenthal, reflecting feared effects of withdrawal of US troops from Germany. It came to be used in the debate of the NATO countries in response to Willy Brandt's attempts to normalize relations with East Germany, and the following widespread scepticism in Germany against NATO's Dual-Track Decision. Later, after the fall of the Soviet Union, the term has been used in Finland for the post-1968 radicalization in the latter half of the Urho Kekkonen era.

Finnish perception

In Finland, the use (by others) of the term "Finlandization" was perceived as blunt criticismFact|date=March 2008, stemming from an inability to understand the practicalities of how a small nation might hope to make a deal with a culturally and ideologically alien superpower, without losing its sovereignty. It is said that the purpose of Finlandization was primarily Realpolitik: to survive. On the other hand, the threat of the Soviet Union was used also in Finland's domestic politics in a way that possibly deepened Finlandization (so called "idänkortti", "east card"). Finland cut such a deal with Joseph Stalin's government in the late 1940s, and it was largely respected by both parties — and to the gain of both parties — until the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991. While the Finnish political and intellectual elite mostly understood the term to refer more to foreign policy problems of other countries, and meant mostly for domestic consumption in the speaker's own country, many ordinary Finns considered the term highly offensive.

Historical background

Finland's foreign politics before this deal had been varied: independence from Imperial Russia with support of Imperial Germany in 1917; participation in the Russian Civil War (without official declaration of war) alongside the Triple Entente 1918–1920; a non-ratified alliance with Poland in 1922; association with the neutralist and democratic Scandinavian countries in the 1930s ended by the Winter War (1939); and finally in 1940, a rapprochement with Nazi Germany, the only power able to protect Finland against the expansionist Soviet Union, leading to the Continuation War in 1941.

The Wehrmacht's defeat in the Battle of Stalingrad led Finland to basically revert to its 19th century traditions, which had been perceived as highly successful until the Russification of Finland (1899–1905). Finland's leaders realized that opposing the Soviets head-on was no longer feasible. No international power was able to give the necessary support. Nazi Germany, Finland's chief supporter against Russia, was losing the war. Sweden was not big enough, and its leadership was wary of confronting Russia. The western powers were allied with the Soviet Union. Thus Finland had to face its big neighbour on its own, without any greater power's protection. As in the 19th century, Finland chose not to challenge the Soviet Union's foreign policy, but exerted caution to keep its independence.

Paasikivi doctrine

After the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947, Finland succeeded in retaining democracy and parliamentarism, despite the heavy political pressure on Finland's foreign and internal affairs by the Soviet Union. Finland's foreign relations were guided by the doctrine formulated by Juho Kusti Paasikivi, emphasizing the necessity to maintain a good and trusting relationship with the Soviet Union. To this end, Finland signed an Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance with the Soviet Union in April 1948. Under this pact, Finland was obliged to resist armed attacks by "Germany or its allies" against Finland, or against the Soviet Union through Finland, and, if necessary, ask for Soviet military aid to do so. At the same time, the agreement recognized Finland's desire to remain outside great power conflicts, allowing the country to adopt a policy of neutrality during the Cold War. As a consequence, Finland did not participate in the Marshall Plan, and took neutral positions on Soviet overseas initiatives. By keeping very cool relations to NATO, and to western military powers in general, Finland could fend off Soviet preludes for affiliation to the Warsaw Pact.

Self-censorship and excessive Soviet adaptation

However, from the political scene following the post-1968 radicalization, the Soviet adaptation spread to the editors of mass media, sparking strong forms of self-control, self-censorship and pro-Soviet attitudes. Most of the élite of media and politics shifted their attitudes to match the values that the Soviets were thought to favour and approve, developing into a self-imposed Finlandization that often is argued to have exceeded Soviet expectations. Fact|date=February 2007

Civil servants, politicians and journalists accepted the practice that, if they cared about their careers, they did not talk about injustices such as the Soviets' assaults leading to the Winter War, or contemporary Soviet political repressions, such as the fate of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Such discussions were sanitized in the name of maintaining a working relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union. Fact|date=February 2007

Only after the ascendancy of Mikhail Gorbachev to Soviet leadership in 1985 did mass media in Finland gradually begin to criticize the Soviet Union more.

Human rights violations associated with Finlandization

Finlandization caused numerous human rights violations in Finland.

During the period of Finlandization freedom of speech was limited. Public libraries removed from circulation books, more than 1,700 titles, that were deemed anti-Soviet and bookstores were given catalogs of banned books. [cite journal |last=Ekholm |first=Kai |year=2001 |title=Political Censorship in Finnish Libraries |journal=Libraries & Culture, |volume=36 |issue=1 |pages=51–57 |doi=10.1353/lac.2001.0008] The Finnish Board of Film Classification likewise banned movies that it considered to be anti-Soviet. Banned movies included "The Manchurian Candidate", directed by John Frankenheimer in 1962, and "Born American" by Finnish director Renny Harlin in 1986.

One aspect of Finlandization was the participation of Finnish authorities in human rights violations perpetrated against Soviet citizens. According to the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights political refugees have a right to asylum. Finnish authorities denied this right to Soviet citizens by forcibly returning defectors into to the hands of Soviet authorities. [cite web |url= |title=President Kekkonen insisted on sending back Soviet defectors |publisher=Helsingin Sanomat, International Edition |accessdate = 2007-10-18]


United States foreign policy experts consistently feared that Western Europe and Japan would be Finlandized, leading to a situation in which these key allies no longer automatically supported the US against the Soviet Union. The theory of bandwagoning provided support for the idea that if the US weren't able to provide strong and credible support for the anticommunist positions of its allies, NATO and the U.S.-Japan alliance could collapse.

But foreign policy scholars such as Eric Nordlinger in his book "Isolationism Reconfigured" [ [ Isolationism Reconfigured: American Foreign Policy for a New Century: The Independent Review: The Independent Institute ] ] have argued that "A vision of Finlandization in America's absence runs up squarely against the European states' long-standing Communist antipathies and wariness of Moscow's peaceful wiles, valued national traditions and strong democratic institutions, as well as their size and wherewithal."

Authorities on the foreign relations of Finland often argue that proponents of the term "Finlandization" persistently failed to recognize that Finland had achieved its negotiating position after successfully fending off military attacks of the Soviet Union in the Winter War (1939) and the Continuation War (1941).


* Paraphrasing president Paasikivi, the Finnish political cartoonist Kari Suomalainen (1920-1999) defined Finlandization as "The art of bowing to the East so carefully that it could not be considered mooning the West."
* Finlandization is often compared to Oriental concept of ketman, which is similar Realpolitik-oriented adaptation to disfavourable circumstances.

See also

* Appeasement
* History of Post-war Finland
* Balkanization
* Middle-easternisation
* Satellite state


External links and references

* [ "Finland's Relations with the Soviet Union, 1940-1986"] by Peter Botticelli
* [ "After the War: Finland's relations with the Soviet Union 1944 - 1991"] presented at the web site of the Finnish foreign ministry
* [ "Three cheers for Balkanization!"] by Bruce Walker, re-evaluating the Finlandization concept
* [ "The Silenced Media: The Propaganda War between Russia and the West in Northern Europe"] - review by Jussi M. Hanhimäki of a book by Esko Salminen
* [ "The Silent Estate?"] - review by David McDuff of the same book by Esko Salminen

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Finlandization — (Amer.) n. neutralization of a country regarding its obedience to superpowers; impact that one powerful country can have on the policies of a smaller country close to it; (in the past) policy of impartiality by non communist countries under the… …   English contemporary dictionary

  • finlandization — finlandizacija statusas T sritis Politika apibrėžtis Nepriklausomos valstybės suvereniteto apribojimas užsienio ir saugumo politikoje dėl gretimos galingesnės valstybės interesų. Terminas kilo iš Sovietų Sąjungos ir Suomijos santykių praktikos… …   Politikos mokslų enciklopedinis žodynas

  • Finlandization — noun Etymology: Finland Date: 1969 a foreign policy of neutrality under the influence of the Soviet Union; also the conversion to such a policy • Finlandize transitive verb …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • Finlandization — /fin leuhn deuh zay sheuhn/, n. 1. the neutralization of a country in terms of its allegiance to the superpowers, in the way that the Soviet Union rendered Finland neutral and friendly without making it a satellite state or requiring that it… …   Universalium

  • Finlandization — noun The influence of a larger, more powerful sovereign state on the policies of a smaller, neighboring sovereign state …   Wiktionary

  • Finlandization — or Finlandisation ˌfɪnləndʌɪ zeɪʃ(ə)n noun historical the process or result of being obliged for economic reasons to favour the interests of the former Soviet Union despite not being politically allied to it. Derivatives Finlandize or Finlandise… …   English new terms dictionary

  • finlandization — fin·land·iza·tion …   English syllables

  • Finlandization — Fin•land•i•za•tion [[t]ˌfɪn lən dəˈzeɪ ʃən[/t]] n. gov a former policy by a non Communist country, as Finland, of maintaining neutrality with the Soviet Union with a consequent susceptibilty to its influence • Etymology: 1965–70 …   From formal English to slang

  • finlandization — …   Useful english dictionary

  • finlandize — transitive verb see finlandization * * * /fin leuhn duyz /, v.t., Finlandized, Finlandizing. to subject to Finlandization. Also, esp. Brit., Finlandise. [1970 75; back formation from FINLANDIZATION] …   Useful english dictionary

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