enter image description here

The cartoon is a British one. I found it at http://lenta.ru/articles/2013/05/28/secretwar/ but without any specific attribution.

  • 3
    Finland had to pay reparations at the time, and, thus, under Soviet economical pressure. Also, refusal to participate in Marshall Plan was one of the first collaborative actions of Eastern Bloc countries (July, 1947), and Finland was among them. Commented May 29, 2013 at 12:58
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    Cartoon is by British cartoonist Leslie Gilbert Illingworth, published in Daily Mail 16.06.47. Google Images search returned extended version with better colouring Commented May 29, 2013 at 13:54
  • default locale, the provided link shows only a description, not the photo Commented May 29, 2013 at 14:06
  • I see the full image.
    – MCW
    Commented May 29, 2013 at 14:08
  • @DarekWędrychowski I see image there. Here is a direct link to full picture. Does it work for you? Commented May 29, 2013 at 16:43

4 Answers 4


See the description of the hashing applied to Finland "countries in the Soviet political economic and strategic block".
While nominally independent, Finland was economically subservient to the USSR because of their losing out in the wars between the countries which happened in parallel to WW2 (the Soviet invasion of Finland led to Finland aligning with Germany during WW2 without joining the Axis powers, they were to pay for that for a long time after).
At the time, and for a long time yet, Finland would be highly influenced by the USSR on many fronts. While never technically in the Soviet block, they were a Soviet leaning unaligned country similar to India and (for a time) Indonesia. Their military had almost exclusively Soviet equipment, trade was mostly with the USSR, Soviet equipment filled Finish factories, Soviet cars their roads, etc. etc.
Over the decades those ties loosened, and now they're more focused on the EU, but just after WW2 they were firmly under the Soviet economic and military umbrella.

  • Surprising but true! I didn't realize that before... Commented May 30, 2013 at 7:16

Finland was kind of a special case. They weren't a Warsaw Pact country, but geography put them in a position where if their Russian neighbor wanted to invade, no power on earth would really be capable of stopping them.

Due to this reality, the country adopted a policy of not doing anything whatsoever that might prod the USSR in that direction. They signed a self-defense pact with the USSR, separate from the Warsaw Pact, and on occasion felt it advisable to carry out the same policies that the Warsaw Pact did (including not participating in the Marshall Plan). Their foriegn policy was made essentially the same as the rest of the Soviet Bloc, and they kept their government structured in ways that didn't offend Soviet sensibilities. They would even censor their local media according to Soviet complaints, ultimately banning thousands of books and many American movies.

In the West a special term was coined for this kind of process: Finlandization. Fear of that process spreading to other countries had a large hand in the expansion of the USA's military in the Cold War period. It was thought that if the USA couldn't provide a credible military counterbalance, other Soviet Block neighbors in Asia and Western Europe might adopt the same polices.

  • Thanks for the excellent answer. A pity I can't accept both. Commented May 30, 2013 at 20:16
  • @FelixGoldberg - No worries. I voted the accepted answer up too, and IMHO it is "correct", so accepting it is perfectly reasonable. However, I had some slightly different points to make (particularly the first and last paragraphs), and questions on SE sites really ought to have multiple answers to provide perspective.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented May 30, 2013 at 22:24
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    No power on Earth could stop the Soviets from invading Finland... except the Finns themselves. Yeah, I know, the Soviet army in 1939 is no comparison to that in 1945. Still, it's worth noting.
    – Schwern
    Commented Jun 4, 2014 at 17:41
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    @Schwern - As a lifetime fan of underdogs, I'd like to think you are right. However, the Finn's own behavior I think pretty clearly shows they didn't like their own chances.
    – T.E.D.
    Commented Jul 20, 2016 at 16:27

An important point not mentioned in the other two excellent answers is that Finland extradited political refugees, i.e., people who crossed the border over to Finland and asked for a political asylum were immediately arrested and escorted to the Soviet Embassy.

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    Can you give examples? Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 18:52
  • It had been "common knowledge" in the USSR that one has to reach Sweden either by land or by a ferry without announcing oneself to the Finns. Google for details or find Jussi Pekkarinen and Juha Pohjonen "Ei armoa Suomen selkänahasta. Ihmisluovutukset Neuvostoliittoon 1944-1981" ("No mercy at Finland’s Expense. Extraditions to the Soviet Union 1944-1981").
    – sds
    Commented Jul 12, 2013 at 19:56

Because that was the reality of the time. Note that even Sweden and France both have question marks.

One year earlier, in 1946, Churchill had spoken of an Iron Curtain "from Stettin on the Baltic to Trieste on the Adriatic." He didn't extend it north through the Gulf of Bothnia (between Sweden and Finland), but he could have.

In the case of Finland, this was grounded in several historical realities:

  1. Finland had been a part of Russia until 1917. Finnish independence, like that of the (south) Baltic states, was a new concept.

  2. Finland had lost two wars to Russia, the Winter War of 1940, and the so-called "Continuation" War of 1941-1944. Finland had done just well enough not to be occupied and was barely independent.

  3. Finland is adjacent to Russia to a greater degree than many other east European countries, and has a long, fairly invadable border with Russia.

  4. Finland was economically dependent on Russia for industrial raw materials and also machinery.

As a result, Finland also aligned its foreign policy with Russia's for some decades thereafter.

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