Part of: Prelims and GS II – International Relations
Context: Despite several rounds of talks between the representatives of the Russia and Ukraine, it remains unclear when and how the war might end.
- Russia invoked the threat of Ukraine joining NATO as a pretext for the invasion.
- President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has now acknowledged that his country will not be part of the US-led military alliance in the foreseeable future.
- Among the scenarios that have been seen as potentially workable is the “Finlandization” of Ukraine.
- It was proposed earlier in 2014, the year Russia annexed Crimea and fighting broke out in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
- ‘Finlandization’ refers to the policy of strict neutrality between Moscow and the West that Finland followed during the decades of the Cold War.
- The principle of neutrality was rooted in the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance that Finland signed with the USSR in April 1948.
- Finland’s capital Helsinki is situated just across the Gulf of Finland from St Petersburg (Leningrad).
- The treaty protected it from being attacked or incorporated into the USSR like the Baltic and eastern European states.
- It allowed the country to pursue the path of democracy and capitalism while staying out of the conflict between the great powers.
- It took neutral positions on matters on which the Soviet Union and the West disagreed.
- It stayed aloof from NATO and European military powers, and used this positioning to ward off pressure from Moscow to become part of the Soviet bloc or the Warsaw Pact.
Ukraine and Finlandization
- If Ukraine undergoes this model, following outcomes may be relevant:
- Ukraine should have the right to freely choose its economic and political associations, including with Europe.
- Ukraine should not join NATO, to avoid further invasion and attacks.
- Ukraine should be free to create any government compatible with the expressed will of its people.
- Wise Ukrainian leaders may then opt for a policy of reconciliation between the various parts of their country.
- Internationally, they should pursue a posture comparable to that of Finland.
- Finland leaves no doubt about its fierce independence and cooperates with the West in most fields but carefully avoids institutional hostility toward Russia.
News Source: IE