Finland and Ukraine – from the archive 2014

On March 9, 2014 I put up a post entitled “Finlandization” which is reposted below:

File:Aleksanterinkatu Helsinki summer.jpg


Any of you younger folks ever heard of that word?  I’ll bet not.

You know about Finland.  It is that small country that borders Russia.  Always has.  Always will.

How many times has it been invaded by Tsarist Russia and the old Soviet Union?  How many fingers do you have?  During the days of the Tsar, Finland was a “Grand Duchy” of the Russian empire.

The plucky Finns have beaten them off in the past at a high cost to the Finns.

Finland remains independent and prosperous.  They make Nokia.

The Finns however learned something after World War II; Russia next door was not going to go away anytime soon.  So Finland decided that the Russians needed to  be accommodated.

During the Cold War, Finland’s policies were structured to remain neutral.  In the West these policies were criticized but the Finns were doing what was best for Finland.  No country in the West was going to risk war with the Soviet Union to defend Finland; the Finns were on their own.  Finland developed a Western style market economy,  trading with the Soviets without pissing them off.

We called Finland’s obeisance to the Soviet Union “Finlandization”.  And we understood it.  It is the essence of realpolitik.

There is a saying in Mexico – “So far from God and so close to the United States!.”

Could you imagine a government in Mexico hostile to the United States?  I’ll bet you can’t.  Can you imagine what our C.I.A. would do about it?   I can.  There are enough historical examples.

So now we come to Ukraine.

Thus far diplomacy has been ham fisted – on both sides.

What is needed in Ukraine is a government which recognizes the reality of Russia on it’s borders and comes to the conclusion that it will never be a NATO member notwithstanding what our neo-cons say.  We in the West need to cease support of fascist and neo-fascist elements in the Ukrainian government; Russia will not tolerate it.  Read your history.

Ukraine needs to recognize Russia’s legitimate interests in Crimea if it expects to regain Ukrainian autonomy over the region.

Ukraine can be a prosperous market economy trading with both it’s neighbor and the West.  It simply cannot be militarily aligned with the West – not on Russia’s doorstep.  Neither the United States nor N.A.T.O. will risk war with Russia over Ukraine.  Ukraine is essentially on its own.

And Ukraine needs debt forgiveness or restructure on a very long term – not another IMF “program” which will get the banksters paid and turn the country into Greece.  Besides, a good portion of the debt is owed to Russia itself.

There is a ready example of a smaller prosperous country with a market economy living in freedom and independence on Russia’s borders.

It is Finland.”

This week diplomats from the U.S. and Russia will meet to discuss Ukraine and the massive Russian troop buildup on Ukraine’s eastern borders.  The West is doing its best to dissuade Putin from occupying eastern Ukraine while Russia argues it will not tolerate a full NATO member on its borders.

Ukraine is the second-largest country by area in Europe after Russia, which it borders to the east and north-east. Ukraine also shares borders with Belarus to the north; Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary to the west; Romania and Moldova to the south; and has a coastline along the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea. It spans an area of 233,000 sq square miles with a population of 41.3 million and is the eighth-most populous in Europe.

Like Russia, it has a lot of empty space and is one of the world’s leading grain exporters though poverty is endemic.

After the Mongol conquest in the 13th century there was no Ukraine.  The area was occupied by Poles, Lithuanians, Austria-Hungary, the Ottomans and Tsarist Russia.  After the Bolshevik revolution a Socialist Republic of Ukraine was set up and absorbed into the Soviet Union.  Modern Ukraine became an independent state in 1991 with the collapse of the USSR.

Eastern Ukraine has always been ethnically Russian, with a large majority of the inhabitants desiring close cooperation with Russia or actually joining it.   Russia has legitimate interests in Crimea for its naval outlet to the sea and the city was part of the Tsarist empire for centuries.  It was from Crimea that British warships evacuated Russian nobility after the revolution.  Russia could not accept the closing of the port to the Russian navy as Ukraine began flirting with full NATO membership.

Upon its independence in 1991 Ukraine called itself a neutral state.  In 2014 the duly elected President Yanukovych, who maintained friendly ties with Russia, was overthrown via massive street demonstrations and a new Western oriented government was installed.

Was the CIA involved?  You bet your ass it was.  The coup brought about the seizure of Crimea by the Russian army.

During WWII ethnic Russians fought with the Red Army or in resistance groups while those in Western Ukraine welcomed the Nazis with open arms, began turning over their Jews and murdering ethnic Poles because they didn’t want any Poles living in Ukraine.  They turned on the Germans when they left Stalin’s collective farms in place and began starving Ukrainians.  The Germans saw a Ukraine populated by blond German farm families.

Russian has a number of serious strategic issues.  The population of Russia at 142.3  million, a fraction of that of the United States while controlling the largest land mass on earth.  Russia was only one spot ahead of Mexico and that my friends constitutes a long term strategic issue for Russia and the rest of the planet.  The population density of Russia is only 9 people per square kilometer compared to 96 for the U.S., 452 in India and 1,266 in Bangladesh.  Russia controls a lot of empty space.  Since the fall of the U.S.S.R. and the closing of the collective farms, some 20,000 villages have been completely abandoned

And it has China on its other border with 1.3 billion souls.

Russian has fought 3 wars with France and Germany in the last 200 years.   From their point of view it seems quite reasonable to seek a buffer zone with Western Europe.  Yet NATO continues to advance to Russia’s borders.

The Nordic countries have partnership agreements with NATO.  They will participate in peace keeping missions and the like but are not bound to defend other NATO members as full members are.  Russia desires they not seek full membership.  Norway and Finland both border Russia.

Neither does it want a Ukraine with full membership which would allow the placement of NATO weapons on its territory.  We wouldn’t have tolerated Mexico being a full member of the old Warsaw Pact.

Russia wants Ukraine to be Finland.

If I were a Ukrainian leader I would seek a deal.  NOBODY in Europe or America will send troops or go to war with Russia to defend Ukrainian territorial integrity.

Russia can put mushroom clouds over Wichita.


About toritto

I was born during year four of the reign of Emperor Tiberius Claudius on the outskirts of the empire in Brooklyn. I married my high school sweetheart, the girl I took to the prom and we were together for forty years until her passing in 2004. We had four kids together and buried two together. I had a successful career in Corporate America (never got rich but made a living) and traveled the world. I am currently retired in the Tampa Bay metro area and live alone. One of my daughters is close by and one within a morning’s drive. They call their pops everyday. I try to write poetry (not very well), and about family. Occasionally I will try a historical piece relating to politics. :-)
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2 Responses to Finland and Ukraine – from the archive 2014

  1. beetleypete says:

    I have been to Ukraine when it was part of the CCCP. (Kiev)
    They liked to speak Ukranian, and had Ukranian newspapers. I wasn’t fooled by them. They had fought with the Nazis as the Ukranian SS, murdered communists and jews, (Babi Yar) supplied troops for execution squads, and guards for concentration camps. They did that with glee, they didn’t have to be forced, or ordered to rape and kill.
    Now they have a neo-fascist leader, and a compliant or repressed populace. The west has decided that’s okay with us. Why am I not surprised?
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 2 people

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