Sergey Oboguev (oboguev) wrote,
Sergey Oboguev

Finlandization for Ukraine: Realistic or Utopian?

Ukraine is not and cannot be a Finland. It’s far too weak, poor, unstable, and corrupt. Finland’s per capita GDP is over $47,000. Ukraine’s is less than $4,000. Finland is the third least corrupt country in the world; Ukraine is 144th (out of 177). (Ukraine’s score on the Corruption Perception Index was more than three standard deviations below Finland’s.)

Finlandization is a utopian goal for Ukraine. It might be a good goal to strive for, but only if the West and the Ukrainians approach it realistically. Finlandization is not something the Russians would just give to Ukraine. The Ukrainians — not the West — would have to earn it. That would be a lengthy, painful process. Russia can and undoubtedly will punish Ukraine for a long time to come. We can’t protect Ukraine from most of what Putin can do. We don’t have the money, the will, or the patience. It’s a big mistake if we pretend we can. We'll lose face, and the Ukrainian people will suffer for nothing.

Finland had to be united and strong in its approach. It had to be determined enough to resist not only Soviet pressure but also efforts by some Western policymakers who, far from the front lines of the Cold War, disparaged the Finnish stance and coined the term “Finlandization” as a synonym for weak-kneed capitulationism.

Finally, we should remember that part of the price of Finland’s own Finlandization was to cede a big chunk of its western Karelia province to the Soviet Union.

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