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 Karjalan palautus
The Soviet Union (SU) attacked Finland in 1939 and in 1941, and started the Winter War and the Continuation War. The consequences of the aggressions were almost devastating for Fin-land: 90 000 dead, 250 000 wounded, totally 800 000 people of 3 500 000 citizens were evacu-ated in different phases, 45,000 km2 territory was to be ceded to the intruder.
If the war remedies would be counted as a burden for current Finland on the GDB basis, they would be 50B – 60B euros. The total economic burden of the wars would be about 500B euros, i.e. about 90,000 euros per every Finnish citizen.
The SU was able to conquer by force only 1/3 or the territory it took by the Paris Peace Treaty that can be called a violent agreement. The SU in no phase was able to capitulate Finland or its capital Helsinki.
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.
The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact in 23.08.1939 between Germany and the SU made the II WW pos-sible. During the Winter War Germany and the SU were political, economic and military part-ners. During the Continuation War the SU was political, economic and military partner of the United States and Great Britain. The Lend-lease aid that the USA gave to the SU would, counted as current Finland’s burden, be about 2,200B US-dollars.
Russia still has in its possession the Finnish territories and the property of the Finnish evacuated people f. ex. against the Hague Conventions or the Atlantic Charter (Pact from 01.01.1942). With its aggressions the SU broke several mutual agreements, the most important of them is the Tartu Peace Treaty that was not a violent agreement as all the later peace agreements.
The ceded territories have today a great importance. Karelia does not act as a gate for the east and the west, and it is not spreading the welfare to Finland and Russia. It’s also not able to serve the metropolitan city of St. Petersburg.
The forced annexation of Petsamo (Pechenga) has closed Europe Union’s direct connection to the Arctic Ocean. Because of Ocean’s fast melting, the Europe-Asia and Asia-US-eastern coast logistics will already in 2015 transfer to the Arctic Ocean for 6 - 8 months/year. Europe’s losses will be immense.
According to the international research 62 % of Finnish people are Russophobes. The most im-portant consequence of the soviet aggression is the loss of trust. No one trusts on Russia, least Russian people themselves. Trust has been compensated by corruption that is wider than ever. The lack of trust is the biggest obstacle of true international cooperation, for trust is the basis for all human interaction.
Interpretation of Soviet aggression in different facets
The Finnish government does not recognize the existence of the Karelian issue but says that Finland has no claims for Russia. On the other hand Finland is ready to speak if Russia so wants. Is there in the world any another state that as a victim completely renounces the will of the ag-gressor, even though all the possibilities to open the issue prevail?
Official Russia will not hear any more of this issue but tries by threats to silence also the citi-zens’ discussion. President Martti Ahtisaari said in 1999 the truth: “The Karelian issue will also in the future abrade the minds of Finnish and Russian people. Whoever in Kreml keeps Russia’s highest power, in his/her subconscious will always be as a permanent spike the issue of ceded Karelia.”
The Finnish media has mainly got rid of Finlandization. The Russian media is mainly under the government monopoly and the power vertical. No one of parties has denied the existence of the Karelian issue, thus the issue exists, but it is latent. The Karelian issue means the return of the total annexed territories, i.e. the return of the borders of the Tartu Peace Treaty.
Finnish people and NGO’s and the return
In 2000 under 10 % of the Finnish people stand up for the return. Finlandization had thus bit hard the citizens, but most of all politicians and the media. In 2007 according to the poll 38 % of the Finnish people stand up for the return. Now it is estimated that the return is supported over 40 % of the population, and this figure is increasing.
For the Karelian League (a big Finnish Karelian NGO) the return is now only a dream, though the issue is mentioned in the 2nd paragraph of its rules. The league is concentrating on cherish-ing the Karelian culture. The Karelian League says they act in the Karelian issue only through the official Finland – which in this issue is completely passive.
Pro Karelia ry sees that Finland is a victim and it shall be active. Pro Karelia actively advocates the return of Karelia but always peacefully and by negotiations, on a win-win basis. The founda-tion sees that the return increases trust and is a catalyst having lots of emergence by its nature.
What Russian people and international institutions know of the issue?
Russian citizens, not including people in St. Petersburg, the ceded territories and the Republic of Karelia, know very little of the Karelian issue. In current ceded Karelia it is said that the opin-ions behalf and against the return change between 30 % to 80 %.
International researchers do not discuss this issue and there are only some mentions of it in dif-ferent researches handling territorial issues or disputes or international relations.
CIA knows well the Karelian issue: “Various groups in Finland advocate restoration of Karelia and other areas ceded to the Soviet Union, but the Finnish Government asserts no territorial demands”.
The international institutions, like EC, EU and OSCE know the Karelian issue. They have con-demned the crimes of totalitarian communist administrations.
Is the return of Karelia possible?
In the international politics nations transfer from colonialism and political realism towards con-structivist thinking. International laws and agreements have signification. The legitimacy of in-ternational institutions does not hold if commonly ratified laws and agreements are continuously contravened. Russia is a giant standing on clay feet and it has a flagrant shortage of trust.
The return is possible. At its best it happens voluntarily, on a win-win basis that saves the faces of the parties and gives the best possible benefit to all parties, in the frame of reference of in-ternational relations and trust.
Further information: Veikko Saksi
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