KARELIA - STOLEN TERRITORY
The Soviet aggressions towards Finland
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 23.08.1939 between Germany and the Soviet Union (SU) made the WW II possible. The SU attacked Finland in 1939 and in 1941, and started the Winter War and the Continuation War.
The consequences of these aggressions were almost devastating for Finland: 90,000 dead, 250,000 wounded, totally 800,000 of 3.5M citizens were evacuated in dif-ferent phases, 45,000 km2 territories were to be ceded to the intruder.
During the Winter War Germany and the SU were political, military and economic partners. Dur-ing the Continuation War the SU was political, military and economic partner of the United States and Great Britain.
Maps: The Soviet Union (red) and Finland (blue) and current Finland (green) and the ceded ter-ritories (grey), i.e. the total Finland according to the Tartu Peace Treaty in 1920.
Almost 80,000 children were sent during the Continuation War mainly to Sweden. There were not enough food at many homes and no nurses during the daytime as the women were working to keep the country running. Leaving the home was usually tragic. There were about 30,000 war widows.
After the Winter War people from Karelia were internally evacuated in different parts of Finland. At the beginning of the Continuation War, when Finland occupied back its territories, about 280,000 people returned to their homes – and were again to be evacuated when the SU launched the colossal attack in 1944. The evacuation was a huge task, but it possibly saved Fin-land in the Continuation War and later. There were no refugee camps in Finland.
After the Winter War the SU got Hanko district but it lost that territory in the Continuation War. After the Continuation War the SU “hired” Porkkala district, only 20 km from Helsinki. It was very risky because Finland was not allowed to check the trains going to Porkkala.
In the Continuation War the SU was able to conquer by force only 1/3 of the territory it took by the Paris Peace Treaty in 1947. This treaty can be called as a violent agreement. Karelia can be called as a stolen territory. But the SU was not able to capitulate Finland or its capital Helsinki.
Some economic figures
The economic burden of the wars was enormous. The war remedies were finally 216.5M gold dollars. On a GNP basis they would now be 50-60B euro. The total economic burden of the wars would now (GNP basis) be almost 500B euro. The GNP of Finland is now about 200B euro.
The Lend-lease aid that the USA gave to the SU would, counted on Finland’s GNP basis, be about 2,200B US-dollars.
Effects after the wars
Effects of the Allied (read: Soviet) Control Commission were frightening, as it intervened also in Finland’s domestic matters. Later the Soviet influence in the political and economic system was multifaceted. 62 per cent of the Finnish people are still Russophobes. The Soviet influence in Finlandization and current Finnofobia is big.
The Allied (i.e. Soviet) Control Commission had a great influence that a Finnish court of law condemned eight Finnish political wartime leaders in the prison as “war criminals”. The SU also had a remarkable causation in the Finnish domestic policy.
After the wars Finland and Finnish people were short of everything. The killed people were to be replaced. The destroyed country was to be rebuilt. The Finnish war veteran generation made an unbelievable Hercule’s effort: it saved Finland’s independence and the country from capitulation, it built Finland again and it built a competitive welfare society.
The most important consequence of the Soviet aggressions was the loss of trust. No one trusts on Russia, least Russian people themselves. Trust has been compensated by corruption that is wider than ever – and by threat of violence. The lack of trust is the biggest obstacle of true in-ternational cooperation, as trust is the basis for all human interactions and security.
Solving of the old crimes, as Germany has made, create more secure future for the total world. For this reason its sensible for our generation to take the old aggressions and war time crimes into public discussion. The totalitarian regimes have caused unbelievable much fear, terror, murders and human losses. It’s time to solve these problems for better and more secure future of our children and grandchildren.
Veikko Saksi's presentation in Bryssels: David and Goliath: Small Nations Under the Totalitarian Rule, 19.03.2013 European Parliament.
Further information: Veikko Saksi
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