There was being some comment about this from Yanis Varoufakis (see below). But some people are challenging if Varoufakis is making any sense...so I don't know the facts. How much was the West involved in this neutrality for Finland? Was there a summit and was the West involved in the summit? Was there being a handshakes between the US and Soviet leader concerning Finnish neutrality?


YANIS VAROUFAKIS: Well, let’s take Finland, shall we? Finland had a war with Russia, with the Soviets. There was a stalemate, very much like what we have now in Ukraine. And the result was neutrality. There was an agreement between Washington, on the one hand, and Moscow, on the other, that Moscow would not interfere with Finland, it would not invade, it would take its troops out, and Finland would be allowed to live an independent, Western, democratic lifestyle, as long as it doesn’t join NATO and it doesn’t host American or European armies in its territory. The result was a wonderful state, a country, you know, that in every ranking outranks your country, the United States, my country, Greece, when it comes to education, to democracy, to technological innovation. Remember Nokia and all the great companies that came out of Finland. Finland is a success story. Neutrality allowed Finland to have democracy, independence and success and shared prosperity, a social democratic country, similarly with Sweden, similarly with Austria. So it’s a well-tested and well-tried-out model.

The reason that Ukraine has not had the same opportunity so far — because some people will say that — it’s been said that they gave up their nuclear weapons, they were not in NATO, therefore they were neutral, and nevertheless they suffered incursions and now this invasion by Mr. Putin. Well, it wasn’t the same. What Ukraine lacks is a summit, a summit between the American president and the Russian president, a summit involving the government of the United States and the government of Russia. This is what Finland had, what Austria had. The two blocs, NATO and the Warsaw Pact, represented by the president of the Soviet Union, or the general secretary of Communist Party then, and the American president, or a series of American presidents, they agreed — they shook hands — that Finland, Sweden, Austria will be left alone, under conditions of neutrality, to prosper democratically and to be part of the West without being part of NATO.

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    Yanis Varoufakis is well known (by his own account) for being an expert in everything. Unfortunately his actual achievements in the areas, where he considers himself an expert, are less well known. I would suggest looking for reliable sources for the background of the Soviet/Finnish relationship. A good starting point would be Finlandization - Paasikivi doctrine. May 7, 2022 at 13:04
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    Russia has disavowed their guarantees made in (1997) for the security and integrity of Ukraine. There was an agreement, Russia reneged. Hence why Finland is considering its options for itself. See en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/…
    – Jon Custer
    May 7, 2022 at 15:05
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    Already the opening passage "Finland had a war with Russia, with the Soviets. There was a stalemate... And the result was neutrality" is quite wrong. I do not think he knows what he is talking about. He conflates the "Winter War" of 1939-40 and the "Continuation War." Neither one resulted in a stalemate. Finnish neutrality was the (eventual) result of its defeat in the Continuation War. In fact, in the immediate aftermath of WWII, Finland was effectively a Soviet satellite, as USSR established a military base near Helsinki, which was returned to Finland only in 1955. May 7, 2022 at 15:36
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    Also would point out that the USSR would have had 0 need to negotiate with the USA on this matter. And further that official agreements with the USA have to be ratified by Congress. Anything else is at best a handshake agreement with the current POTUS, who will be gone in at most 8 years.
    – T.E.D.
    May 7, 2022 at 21:06
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    @NeedGrammarHelp Not involved at all ; No and No ; No. May 9, 2022 at 4:49

1 Answer 1


The comparison between Ukraine and Finland is an attempt to shift the blame for the current war from Russia to the West. Alas, there are plenty of "useful idiots" in the West who are promoting this narrative.

In short, there is nothing in common.



Finns are not Slavs. Their languages are completely different.

Finland was incorporated into Russia only in 1809 and enjoyed significant autonomy until its independence in 1917, despite policy of Russification of Finland.


Stalin tried to conquer Finland and saw that the cost will be too high (guerrilla war) while the value is low (little industry). So he settled for some (developed) land and military bases - getting all the benefits of conquest without the cost of an insurgency and bad PR with the West.


Ukraine is a slavic country, so Russians can claim it to be theirs with some credibility among the credulous.

Ukraine has been the battlefield between Poland, Turkey and Russia for centuries, eventually landing in the Russian hands.

Ukraine is heterogeneous - East speaks mostly Russian, West speaks a version of Ukrainian unintelligible to the rest - however, everyone understands and can speak the "Kiev TV Ukrainian" (cf. "BBC English").

This, the benefits (to Russia, not Ukraine!) of peaceful incorporation of Ukraine into Russia are immense.

Russia miscalculated the costs of the invasion. It might well be that this war will help Ukraine overcome the internal divisions, but this is no longer history...

The bottom line

The West did nothing to save Finland - it fought and won its independence by demonstrating that the occupation cost will be too high. (actually, not quite true, IIRC, US did lobby on behalf of Finland - but that was inconsequential compared to the Finnish war effort).

The West could do nothing to prevent Russian aggression in Ukraine, and the only thing it can do now is keep arming and feeding Ukraine - and not listening to Russian shills.

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