Posted by : Suomen antifasistinen komitea ry Wednesday, March 13, 2013
The Soviet foreign minister, Vyacheslav Molotov, and Nazi-Germany's foreign minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, signed a non-agression pact in Moscow on 23 August 1939. The pact outlined the "spheres of influence" between the two aggressive powers. The signing of the pact of allegiance with Adolf Hitler was supervised by the Soviet dictator, Joseph Stalin.
The agreement sealed the fates of several independent small states and thrust them into the maelstrom of a new world war. The pact condemned Finland to the status of a victim of the state terror of Stalin's Soviet Union. The aggression inflicted enormous human and material losses on Finland; a Soviet occupation would have cost the lives and liberty of tens of thousands of Finnish citizens more.
The Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 with massive bombings of our towns and cities and the destruction of our civilian population. The Soviet Union, supported by Nazi-Germany and violating its international and bilateral agreements, launched a war of aggression against Finland. The Red Army crossed Finland's eastern border despite a pact of non-aggression that was signed in 1932 and extended in 1934.
Finland's Winter War was a struggle for the Finnish state, social structure, and culture. It was a battle against dictatorship and a society based on communist ideology. It was the Finnish people's unanimous expression of will-power against Bolshevik totalitarianism and red fascism. The Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee reminds of the historical significance of this struggle for our democratic system of government.
Today marks exactly 73 years since the end of the Winter War. Under the peace agreement, hostilities ceased on 13 March 1940 at 11 am. Finnish Foreign Minister Väinö Tanner read a speech on state radio, in which he reminded that Finland was drawn into the war not because of its own actions, but because of the Soviet Union’s territorial claims. "Finland trusted the agreements that we had signed with our neighbour and in the latter’s repeated declarations of peace," Mr Tanner said.
Even though the conditions of peace were harsh, Finland retained its independence. "Defending against an overwhelming enemy, our army has had to deploy all its strength. It has managed its task superbly. Our defence has exceeded all expectations. It was generally thought that the mission was impossible, but this was not so. [...] We have shown the way to small nations faced with demands from dictatorial states," Mr Tanner stated.
Every year, Russia commemorates the "Great Patriotic War," which it regards as having started, when Nazi-Germany attacked the Soviet Union in 1941. The Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee points out that Finland's "Great Patriotic War" began two years earlier, in 1939. More than a million soldiers and civilians were killed in the Soviet Union's war against Finland. This agony began with the Soviet aggression.
The official historiography in today's Russia upholds the myth of a "Great Patriotic War" that was instilled into the Russian psyche during the era of Soviet totalitarianism. The falsification of the history of the Second World War and the Soviet Union is aimed at keeping Russia mentally apart from the rest of Europe. Alas, we must remember that "those who do not read history are doomed to repeat it."
Russia has thus far failed to recognise that it began the Second World War together with its ally, Nazi-Germany. Instead, Russia’s official historians have even gone as far as accusing the victims of Soviet aggression of starting the war. Because of this failure to recognise history, the wound that has divided Europe for decades is still inflamed. Today, on the anniversary of the end of the Winter War, the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee reminds that Finland defended European values: justice, democracy, and equality.
Helsinki, 13 March 2013