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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Six perspectives on Finland's postwar relations with the Soviet Union Katona, Arthur

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis is to investigate Finland's postwar relations with the Soviet Union from six different perspectives (systemic, strategic, domestic political, personality, economic and cultural) in order to (1) achieve a better general understanding of this unique situation in international relations, and (2) make a systematic analysis of the variables which are most salient in describing and explaining this relationship. The study is approached mainly from the Finnish point of view, although Soviet factors and perspectives must obviously be included, especially in discussing systemic and strategic variables. It is hypothesized that the critical phase in postwar Finnish-Soviet relations was the 1944-48 period. Once Finland's status as a sovereign and independent buffer-state was established, the development of her relations with the Soviet Union can be characterized by (1) her constant striving to widen her maneuverability in international relations, and (2) the Soviet Union's increasingly lenient attitude towards Finland as the international situation improved and as the Russians became more certain of Finland's intention to maintain friendly relations and a credible neutrality. These developments are discussed in the context of each of the six perspectives. The thesis concludes with an assessment of the relative importance of the perspectives in analyzing Finnish-Soviet relations and a discussion of the relevance of the Finnish model in studying small power-great power relationships and neutral buffer-state policies.

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