The Paasikivi-Kekkonen Doctrine and Its Impact on Finland-Russian Federation Security Relations in the Post-Cold War Era

Document Type : Research Paper


Assistant Professor, Department of Regional Studies, Faculty of Law & Political Science, University of Tehran, Tehran, Iran



In the context of the resurgence of strategic rivalries between Russia and the West in northern Europe, Finland has the longest border between Russia and the West and is a buffer zone. Finland is formerly a Russian colony and has experienced close ties. In fact, Finland has the closest and most nuanced relationship with Russia. Maintaining good neighborly relations was a lifeline for Finland after the Second World War, and hence it developed a distinctive version of neutrality where it constantly anticipated Russia’s reactions to its foreign— and sometimes internal policy moves. Although the relationship with Russia is fundamentally different now, anticipation of Russia’s reactions is reflected in the Finnish foreign policy style. Furthermore, the level of activity and density of political and economic links between Finland and Russia stand out in a Nordic comparison. Although Russia is Finland's most important security threat, it has never faced Russia in the post-Cold War era and has strangely managed its relations and secured its national interests and security. A key factor in Finland’s current security policy line is the guarantee of credible defense based on military non-alignment, albeit without reference to a policy of neutrality and most often without reference to an attempt to remain neutral in the event of a war. In the "worst case" scenario, in which Finland is attacked, the country would have its independent defense but it would also be able to receive the available outside assistance. This success was due to the Paasikivi-Kekkonen doctrine of the Cold War era. The innovative Pasikkivi-Kekkonen doctrine had been an important factor in the management of Finland-Russia relations since the Cold War. Sometimes, this doctrine is mentioned as a supporter of Finland's neutrality policy, but the concept of this doctrine is broader and more pragmatic. The question to be answered is: How has the Paasikivi-Kekkonen doctrine affected Finland's security relations with Russia in the post-Cold War era? In the hypothesis, it is asserted that despite the expansion of relations between Finland and the West after the Cold War, the Paasikivi-Kekkonen doctrine has been the dominant approach in orienting its foreign policy towards Russia. This approach reflects the two areas of relations with the European Union and interaction with the US-led NATO. In order to examine Finland's security policy towards Russia in the form of the aforementioned doctrine and the method of tracking the process, it was concluded that Finland succeeded in creating a special type of neighborhood policy in the form of its innovative doctrine in order to de-escalate tensions with Russia and maintain its interaction with the West. and even have extensive relations with NATO. This policy became the foreign policy of this country; and even the issue of Finland’s NATO membership can be analyzed in the same way. Given the importance of Russia in Iran's security policy, Finland's strategy can be a way to optimize our country's strategic choices against this actor and is a step towards producing literature on the Nordic and Scandinavian studies. This defense “credibility” aims on the one hand to provide a sufficient threat effect and on the other hand, to allow for a political solution in a hypothetical conflict situation through a combination of Finland’s own defense and possible out-side assistance. At a political and security policy level, this type of military non-alignment allows for nearly everything except NATO membership. Russia’s overall attitude toward Finland’s current military non-alignment is clearly positive. However, from a Russian perspective, slightly controversial or competing interpretations have been made about the nature of Finland’s military non-alignment. With respect to Finland’s current line, the vagueness of the concept is a problem, should Russia in some situation aim to define the contents of military non-alignment and thereby of Finnish politics.


Main Subjects

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