Many analysts believe that by demanding that Ukraine never join NATO and the European Union, Vladimir Putin is seeking a “Finlandization” of the country. What is it about ?
By massing tens of thousands of soldiers on the Ukrainian border, Russia is showing the West that it does not accept the presence at its gates of NATO, whose troops are stationed in several Eastern European countries. East (Bulgaria, Romania, Baltic countries…).
The accession of Ukraine to NATO or the EU, desired by a large part of the Ukrainian population, would be for Vladimir Putin a line not to cross.
To guarantee the balance between the West and Russia, some believe that a “Finlandization” of Ukraine is necessary. “Finlandizing” the country would amount to granting it a status of neutrality: neither a member of NATO under American influence, nor subject to Russia.
A term from the Cold War
This term refers to the situation in Finland after the Second World War. To avoid being swallowed up by the USSR like its Baltic neighbors, Finland concluded a deal with the Soviets in 1945. In exchange for a foreign policy modeled on that of the USSR, the country could retain its political and economic independence.
During the Cold War, Finland was subject to strict neutrality in strategic matters: it was forbidden to join NATO, to welcome Western troops or to install defense systems on its soil. After the breakup of the USSR, the country joined the EU in 1995, but not NATO.
Emmanuel Macron himself recognized that the “Finlandization” of Ukraine was “one of the models on the table”, while affirming that the country cannot remain “a no man’s land, without the possibility of sovereignty, security”.