30 November 2022

Finnish Winter war showed the way to help Ukraine

Exactly 83 years ago Soviet Union attacked Finland without any warning. Or actually, Stalin´s troops shot some of its own soldiers in Raivola, and used their death as a false excuse for the attack. 

Finland had had a brutal civil war just 21 years before, and Stalin - the head of the Soviet Union - thought that communists would join them, and therefore it would take just few weeks for Russians to get in Helsinki. That did not happen, although soviet army did its best for 105 days, killed ca 26 000 Finns and lost itself some 126 000–168 000 soldiers as dead or missing. 

Not to mention the loss of 260–500 aircrafts and 1 200–3 500 tanks by Russians. Such material losses were gigantic compared to losses of the Finnish army: some 20–30 tanks and 62 aircrafts. And still they did not make their way to Helsinki. And the western great powers did not provide any countable help despite several requests.  

Whatsoever, after 105 days Finland made the biggest mistake independent Finland has ever made. Namely, a small group of Finnish leaders decided to agree with Russians on a peace treaty with extremely unfavorable conditions. 

That was because Hermann Göring of Germany - at the time still an ally of Soviets - had secretly promised Finland that it would regain its losses during a becoming war. The agreement included a cover story - only partially true, but still commonly believed in Finland - that the Finnish army would have been collapsing in any minute. That was, however, not the case - not in the front, and definitely not in the light of  western powers finally being ready to help. 

But western reaction was too slow, and as a consequence, Finland joined operation Barbarossa in 1941, although its military lead refused to join the German attack against Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) despite Hitler´s demands. And ultimately Hitler failed there and everywhere. 

However, while Germany´s military power collapsed by the end of the war, the Finnish army managed to stop the Russian mass attack in the Battle of Tali-Ihantala in 1944 - with altogether some 35 000 Russian and Finnish casualties - and succeeded in making a separate peace, which saved Finland´s way of life as a democracy, but doomed its leaders to suck up Russians for half a century until their communist great power collapsed. 

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During the last few years Finnish Winter War has become common knowledge throughout the world due to its many similarities to Russian´s unjustified attack against Ukraine. And there is a lesson to be learned. 

Namely, at this time the western nations must remember, that heroic defenders under unjustified attack must be supported against dictatorships as long as it takes. That will direct history towards a fair future, and strengthen global values against wrongdoing. 

For Ukrainians the western support will build up the first step towards a western way of life. That is, less corruption as well as more human rights, economic freedom and sustainable society. But we must remember to continue the support even after the war - encouraging and demanding Ukrainians to change their eastern attitude towards more western one at the same time they keep the best parts of their own cultural heritage. And rewarding them as soon as they qualify a true member of the Western world.

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