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Veikko Saksi
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Veikko Saksi


In their early history Finns were brave. In the twentieth century reigned Finlandization. By the early years of the twenty-first century a sort of Finnophobia began to develop. Finlandization was adapting Finnish domestic and foreign policy to the will of the Soviet Union, even though the outside appearance of independence was maintained.

Finlandization was called by several names in the 1960s: silent “Satellization”, running for Moscow matters, time of self-censorship or incompetence to select their own political leaders. Some people looked at Finlandization positively: skillful promotion of our own benefits, proportional victory of foreign policy, cold-bloodedness and competence of the administration, or reduction of dependency.

It does not pay to be proud of Finlandization. It was submission under the authority of a stronger state. A powerful example of this was the Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance.

A positive Soviet attitude was projected as the visible manifestation. Those politicians, people and representatives of the media who did not bow to the East, were anti-Soviet. It was an effective weapon that ended the careers of several people.

Finlandization had greatly influenced Finnish society in almost all spheres, although its grip has diluted during the decades. First the shackles slipped from people’s grip, then gradually from the media. Lies or propaganda will not last indefinitely. The politicians in power are slow to become aware of this matter.

Not even the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 fully devastated Finlandization, although Finns dared to breath more freely and self-censorship weakened.

Finlandization is no longer the sole right of the Finns. Some Estonian politicians are “Finlandized”, because they see that the Finnish politicians have managed to cooperate so well with Russia.

Germans are strongly “Finlandized”. They are still whipping themselves because of crimes of the Nazi era, although they have apologized repeatedly for those actions, and compensated the victims. A German is afraid of political suicide, if he or she dared ask for a balanced treatment.

The Soviet Union and Russia have never made a genuine apology for Soviet crimes, not to mention compensation for their actions to the victims or returning the occupied territories. Yet the Russian people are “Finlandized”.

At first Homo Sovieticus was cultivated in the Soviet Union. Now Vladimir Putin leads Russians with a powerful stance to accept the atrocities of Stalin’s time as economically crucial. For instance, acceptance of the power vertical, widely spread corruption and managing by violation are part of this Russian “Finlandization”.

“Finlandization” in Russia has not led to outside but inside bowing. The state leader is bowed to and feared. A Cossack leader was afraid of the collapsed Soviet Union so much that he refused to take back Cossacks’ own land, even though the government offered it to him. This Cossack leader behaved exactly as Finland’s president did in the 1990s because of the fear.

Finlandization is a passing folklore. It has now been replaced by Finnophobia, which means the Finnish fear of advocating for own rights and legal benefits. It is to invalidate their own achievements and leads to feelings of guilt for those crimes that Finland never committed.

Finnophobia is thus self-repression and claiming of guilt, the need to defend a stronger party’s right to use pressure and to accept aggression against oneself. It has similar characteristics as Stockholm syndrome, i.e., to identify with the will of the oppressor.

Finnophobia as a concept is broader than Finlandization. It considers not only the Soviet or Russian attitude, it also insists Finns should support corrupt countries and financers of southern Europe.

Finnophobic people accept that violent treaties bind them and do not consider that it is allowed to try to change them peacefully. This means that, for example, the war guilt sentences, which are against the Finnish Constitution, or the return of Karelia, could not be opened, not even as a win-win event.

Englishmen have a good expression – chilling effect – which means ice cold and hamstring effect. This concept is often translated in Finnish as an atmosphere of fear. This is part of Finnophobia.

In jurisprudence the chilling effect means preventing use of one’s constitutional rights. For this reason a significant part of the population do not dare to the use their freedom of speech.

Finnophobia can be described as a concept or an attitude. Attitudes will change and other people can affect them. Change is always a possibility. A Roman poet Horace articulated immortal words: Sapere aude, i.e., dare to be wise.

Using your own common sense to stop Finlandization and Finnophobia is a positive thing. It means adhering to a sound national identity that is ultimately possible only by accepting the truth.


This article has originally been published in: Baltic Rim Economies Reviews 05/2013, 31.10.2013.

Additional information: Veikko Saksi

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