A Postscript on Finlandization
In the 1970′s the term “Finlandization” entered the political lexicon and became for a while a major bone of contention. The term referred to the special relationship between Finland and the Soviet Union: it meant, very briefly, appeasement by Finland of its powerful neighbor to the extent that the country could no longer be defined as neutral and independent in the traditional sense. There was no Soviet censorship in Finland, but there was Finnish self-censorship, driven by fear and anxiety, and a great readiness to acquiesce in Soviet wishes was very much in evidence.
Having become interested in the topic, I visited Finland and read everything then available in languages other than Finnish. In December 1977 an article of mine, “The Specter of Finlandization,” appeared in COMMENTARY. The article strove to be measured in tone; I acknowledged that, given Finland’s geopolitical situation, it was obvious that certain concessions toward the Soviets had to be made. But I also argued that Urho Kekkonen, president of Finland for 25 years (1956-81), had carried this trend much too far (though he himself was not a Communist or even a socialist). It was not the policy of wisdom, maturity, and responsibility that Kekkonen and his supporters claimed, and furthermore it set a bad example for the rest of Europe.
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