Finland is a country located in Northern Europe. With the capital city of Helsinki, Finland has a population of 5,540,731 based on a recent census from
COUNTRYAAH. After World War II, a peace treaty was
concluded between Finland and the Soviet Union in Paris
in 1947. In it, the borders of the Winter War 1940 were
restored, which meant that Finland lost about eleven
percent of its area when, for example, Petsamo on the
Arctic Ocean became part of the Soviet Union. Finland
instead regained the important port city of Hanko, but
was forced to transfer the Porkala area west of Helsinki
as a Soviet base. However, Porkala was returned to
Finland in 1955, despite the fact that the area was
leased on lease for 50 years. Finland was also forced to
pay a $ 300 million war damages to the Soviet Union.
An agreement on friendship, cooperation and
assistance, the so-called VSB Pact, was concluded in
1948 between Finland and the Soviet Union. The agreement
meant, among other things, that Finland would stay
neutral in the Cold War and that Finland would defend
itself against German attacks that were ultimately
directed against the Soviet Union. The VSB Pact formed
the basis for a new Eastern policy, which was named the
Paasikivi-Kekkonen Line after the two presidents who
ruled the country in the coming decades.
List of most commonly used acronyms containing Finland. Also includes historical, economical and political aspects of the country.
In order to maintain good relations with the Soviet
Union, Finland, in the post-war period, adapted to
Soviet security interests, a policy that gave rise to
the concept of "Finlandization", a small state's
adaptation to a great power. Fascist parties were
banned, while the Communist Party was
allowed to operate for the first time since the 1930s.
Together with other groups within the Left, the
Communist Party in 1944 formed a new party, the
Democratic Alliance of the People of Finland
(usually called the People's Democrats),
which became a political power factor and joined several
governments. Check best-medical-schools for more information about Finland.
Industrialization is accelerating
Following the communist takeover of power in
Czechoslovakia in 1948, Finland was subjected to severe
pressure to sign an agreement similar to the agreements
imposed by the Soviet Union on a number of Eastern
Rumors spread that a communist coup was also planned
in Finland and the Finnish armed forces began to
mobilize. Interior Minister Yrjö Leino was forced to
resign and in the 1948 parliamentary elections his party
the Democrats strongly resigned and were excluded from
Finland's industrialization took off after the war.
The development paradoxically got a push of the large
war debt to the Soviet Union, because when it was paid
in 1952, Finland received large industrial orders from
the Soviet Union. The following years, upwards of a
quarter of Finland's total exports went east, which
meant that Finland, after West Germany, was the Soviet
Union's largest non-socialist trading partner.
In its other international contacts, Finland was
forced to exercise caution, even though the country
endeavored to show that it belonged to the West. In
1954, freedom of passport was introduced between the
Nordic countries and a free Nordic labor market was
created. One year later, in 1955, Finland joined the
Nordic Council and the United Nations (UN).
A modern industrial nation and welfare state
From time to time, Finland's relations with the
Soviet Union were strained. Soviet dissatisfaction with
bourgeois-controlled Finnish politics led to the
so-called night frost in 1957–58, when Moscow froze
contacts with Finland. In 1961, the Soviet Union sent a
message in the form of a note to Finland demanding that
the countries extend the VSB pact because of the tense
situation in the Cold War Europe. The demand triggered
the so-called note crisis. However, deliberations on the
pact were averted by President Urho Kekkonen meeting
with Soviet party and government head Nikita Khrushchev.
Kekkonen's ability to negotiate with Soviet leaders was
of great importance even at other times.
At the same time, Finland participated in several UN
peacekeeping efforts. The country's great success within
the UN became the host of the European Security
Conference (ESC) in 1975.
In the 1950s, domestic politics was dominated by an
alliance between the Agrarian Party
(1965–1988 Center Party and from 1988 the Center in
Finland) and the Social Democrats - the
so-called "red mill governments". The People's Democrats
were not allowed to participate in government work and
in the late 1950s the Social Democrats were also
excluded, as the Soviet Union openly showed their
distrust of them. Only after the 1966 elections did the
Democrats and Social Democrats return to the government
together with the Center Party and some small parties.
Despite constant recurring government crises, the
economy continued to grow and Finland was gradually
transformed from a peasant society into a modern
industrialization and welfare state.
The Soviet Union disintegrates, Finland goes west
After the 1987 election, the Conservative
National Assembly formed a coalition government
with, among others, the Social Democrats, led by Harri
Holkeri. This meant the end of a period of Soviet
influence over Finnish politics through either the
Center Party or the People's Democrats.
However, the new red-blue government did not last
long. After the 1991 elections, a purely bourgeois
government took office. In the same year, the VSB
agreement was terminated following major changes in the
Soviet Union and throughout Eastern Europe in connection
with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
After the end of the Cold War, new issues dominated
the political debate in Finland and a new generation of
politicians took over. The main symbol of the old era,
President Urho Kekkonen, had passed away in 1981 due to
illness after 25 years in his post. He was succeeded by
Social Democrat Mauno Koivisto, who during his
presidency in 1982-1994 partially continued in
Kekkonen's footsteps with a cautious eastern policy, but
Koivisto gave the Riksdag greater influence over foreign
policy. During his time as president, direct elections
were introduced to the presidential post and a limit was
set for how many times a president could be re-elected.
Koivisto was succeeded in 1994 by Social Democrat Martti
Ahtisaari was internationally recognized as a UN
peace negotiator in, for example, former Yugoslavia in
1999 (see Foreign Policy and Defense).
Finland becomes an EU member
The collapse of the Soviet trade in conjunction with
the end of a speculation wave led to a sharp decline in
the Finnish economy in the early 1990s (see Economy).
The government implemented drastic savings measures that
became visible to the public.
In 1992, Finland applied to become a member of the
European Union (EU). Hopes that membership would boost
the economy were an important argument for EU
supporters. Among the residents, it was mainly highly
educated metropolitan residents who saw the benefits of
an EU connection, while many in the countryside worried
about what the membership would entail. Finland became
an EU member in 1995 since 57 percent of voters voted
yes to the EU in an advisory referendum the year before.
In the 1995 parliamentary elections, the Center was
made responsible for the economic austerity and lost
government power. Social Democrat Paavo Lipponen formed
a government with the Collecting Party, the Swedish
People's Party and a number of small parties, the
so-called Rainbow Coalition. That government, too, had
to implement a cut-off policy to manage Finland's state
In 1999, Finland joined the EU's currency cooperation
EMU. In the parliamentary elections that year, the
Social Democrats managed reasonably well and the Samling
Party went ahead and the rainbow coalition could remain.
The center remained the largest opposition party. One
year later, Tarja Halonen, the Socialist Foreign
Minister, was elected as the first woman to be the
President of Finland. The same year, a new constitution
was adopted in which the power of the parliament was
strengthened at the expense of the president. Instead of
the president, the prime minister now became the most
important political actor in the country.
The financial crisis is followed by the euro crisis
In the 2003 parliamentary elections, the Center
became the big winner. The Social Democrats followed
closely, while the Socialist Party and the Left
Association ended up in the background. The center,
under its new leader Anneli Jäätteenmäki, formed
government with the Social Democrats and the
Swedish People's Party. Shortly after the
election, Jäätteenmäki had to resign after information
that she had used secretly stamped information to
suspect her political rival Paavo Lipponen during the
election campaign. She was replaced by her party mate
The 2007 parliamentary election was a success for the
bourgeois parties. The Green League and
the EU-skeptical and immigration- critical True
Finns also made the choice. The Social
Democrats, on the other hand, lost support and left the
government. Vanhanen could remain as prime minister. In
2007, Tarja Halonen was re-elected president.
The issue of NATO membership ended up high on the
political agenda in 2008 when Alexander Stubb's unifying
party became new Foreign Minister. The NATO issue was
also driven by several other leading politicians, but no
new initiatives were taken when a majority of Finns
opposed an accession to the military alliance.
The global financial crisis that began in 2008 came
to characterize the political debate, as well as the
difficult economic problems that subsequently hit
several countries in the euro zone. Resistance to the EU
support package for countries in acute economic crisis
was strong in Finland, both politically and among the
public. Many Finns felt it was wrong for those countries
that did well to take responsibility for those who had
misunderstood their finances. Another argument was that
Finland could not afford as the country had already been
forced into cuts in, among other things, healthcare and
schooling. Support for the EU-critical True Finns
The Euro crisis gives the Finns traction
In spring 2010, the Riksdag voted yes to the EU's
first emergency loan to Greece, but the issue raised
controversy. The strongest opposition came from the Left
Union and the True Finns, but the Social Democrats also
tried to appease the public opinion by demanding
guarantees from Greece to approve the loans. At the same
time, the party tried to win over voters from the True
Finns by paying attention to problems linked to
In June 2010, Matti Vanhanen was forced to resign as
prime minister following a grant scandal. New head of
government and center leader became Mari Kiviniemi.
In the electoral movement ahead of the parliamentary
elections in April 2011, the debate on the problems in
the euro zone continued to dominate. After Greece,
Ireland had also been granted substantial financial
support from the EU (and the International Monetary Fund
(IMF)). A possible new support package for the next
crisis country, Portugal, fueled the debate. Only the
Center and the Collective Party wanted Finland to help
Portugal, the other parties were opposed.
The true Finns pleaded for an exit from the EU and
demanded that all possible emergency loans to
economically weaker countries within the euro zone be
stopped. In addition to the True Finns, the Center also
opposed new support packages.
Another issue that was discussed during the electoral
movement was how to solve the financing of welfare as
the population grew older, while the shortcomings in
today's elderly care were highlighted. The true Finns
also went to the brink of abolishing compulsory Swedish
education in compulsory school and upper secondary
school, but got discouraged from, above all, the Swedish
The unity party forms a government coalition
All parties except the True Finns lost support in the
parliamentary elections in 2011 compared to the 2007
election result. One reason for the Center's crusade was
that it, as the largest government party, was to blame
for the financial problems at the end of the first
decade of the 21st century.
The government negotiations were extended. Only after
a couple of months could the leader of the Socialist
Party Jyrki Katainen form a new government with six
parties. Initially, talks were also held with the true
Finns, who, however, chose to stand outside the
government after the May Party and the Social Democrats
had agreed in May on the EU decision on a support
package for Portugal.
In December 2011, Germany and France presented a
proposal for amendments to the Lisbon Treaty, which
meant stricter budgetary rules for all EU countries
through a so-called financial pact. The purpose was to
avoid new crises like the one in the future. In June
2012, the Finnish Pact was approved by the Finnish Risk
Finland's economy was also affected by the problems
in the euro area. The industry was forced to save as
important exports to countries in the EU and the euro
zone fell. The crisis also led to increased skepticism
about the euro.
The government is weakening
In the January / February 2012 presidential election,
the Candidate Party candidate, former President and
Finance Minister Sauli Niinistö, clearly won in the
second round over the Green candidate Pekka Haavisto.
Thus he became the first bourgeois president in over
half a century.
Government cooperation was periodically strained and
in March 2014, the Left Federation left the
coalition after disagreement on the budget. The party
opposed reductions in the child allowance, student loans
and the guarantee pension. In May of that year, Katainen
announced that he would resign as chairman of the
Collective Party, which meant he would also leave the
Prime Minister's post. In mid-June, EU Minister
Alexander Stubb was elected new leader of the Assembly,
and on June 23 he was elected new Prime Minister. The
next day, Stubb formally assumed the post of head of
government. He made only minor changes in the
composition of the five-party government.
In September 2014, the Green League also left the
government. The reason for the drop-off was
contradictions around a new nuclear power plant. There
were Russian interests in the power plant building,
which the Green Confederation opposed to the fear of
increased Russian influence.
The 2015 election
Opinion polls before the parliamentary elections in
the spring of 2015 showed that confidence in both Stubb
and his party as well as the then four-party government
fell. At the same time, the Center increased rapidly in
the surveys. The electoral movement came to a large
extent on the Finnish economy, which has been downhill
for several years. The reasons for the economic downturn
were several: serious problems for the large
telecommunications company Nokia and for the important
pulp industry. In addition, Finnish exports had been
severely affected by a series of import bans on goods
from the EU to the important Russian market in Finland.
Russia's import stoppage was a consequence of the
sanctions imposed by the EU on the country as a
consequence of Russia's annexation of the Crimean
Peninsula in Ukraine and the Russian involvement in the
fighting in eastern Ukraine.
In the election, the Center became the largest party
expected, while the Assembly Party gained slightly more
votes than the True Finns, who, however, as a result of
the election system, received a mandate more than the
Assembly Party and became the Parliament's second
largest party. The Social Democrats were fourth largest.
The Greens, the Left League, the Swedish People's Party
and the Christian Democrats also took their seats in the
In May, Center leader Juha Sipilä presented a
completely bourgeois government consisting of the
Center, the Collecting Party and the True Finns. Timo
Soini, leader of the true Finns, was appointed foreign
minister and EU minister. Former Prime Minister
Alexander Stubb became Finance Minister.