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State

Capital

Finland

Helsinki

Suomi

Currency unit

euro

Connections

Aaland Islands

Arctic

Baltic

Borders

EFTA

Estonia

EU

Nordic

 Russia

Sweden

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

History

The Finns are a people distantly related to the Magyars who entered Europe from central Eurasia. There are Finns and related peoples living in northern Russia. They are also related to the Sami (Lapps).

Finland was a dependency of Sweden from 1323 and from 1721 of Russia (Sweden received Norway in exchange). The influence of Russia during its period as a Russian Grand Duchy was limited - it was ruled at arms length. There remains a Swedish minority and Swedish is an alternative national language. During the Russian period the people developed a National feeling, based on the Lutheran religion and the literature of its distinctive language, especially the Kalevala, a national epic of stories and poetry. In the 19th century its national composer Sibelius wrote its distinctive and inspiring patriotic music.

Thus the nation was ready when the Russian Revolution occurred in 1917 and declared independence when there was no strong Russian government and managed to keep it in the years following despite a war with the Soviet Union in 1941-1944 - though the Soviet Union annexed the eastern province of Karelia and imposed a punitive peace agreement including a Soviet naval base at Porkkalla, industrial reparations and Soviet influence on Finland's government. These conditions have long since been abandoned.

"Finlandization" was once held up by western statesmen during the Cold War to be the Soviet Union's intention for the fate of much of western Europe. Finland was supposedly neutral during this period but the government had to "consult" the Soviet Union before taking many steps. It has been alleged that a long term president, Kekkonnen, was an employee or stooge of the Soviet KGB. It was "allowed" to have a western political and economic system, though the governments formed tended to be dominated by the social democrats (but so were the other Scandinavian countries, two of them in NATO).

Despite its considerable linguistic difference Finland shares much of the culture of the other Scandinavian states, particularly in its social policies, which follow the pattern of the Swedish social democratic model. The Åland islands in the Gulf of Finland are inhabited by Swedes but there is no dispute as the islanders have autonomy.

Finland has been admitted to membership of the European Union and approved it by referendum.

The return of Karelia from Russia is a possible demand, but not very likely to be achieved.

There are linguistic similarities with the former Soviet Republic of Estonia. Now that Estonia has become independent and has joined the EU it can be expected to come under Finnish economic influence, already evident to some extent.

Languages

Finnish - a non Indo-European language of a type found all across Russia

Swedish

A radio station broadcasts in Latin.

 History

 Economics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Politics

Multi-party democracy, with ceremonial president and executive prime minister. However, the president has influence larger than his apparent powers. During the period of Soviet influence on Finland the President may have been the main agent of that influence.

The political situation now conforms to the European pattern.

 History

 Politics

 Green

 Rights

 Climate

Economics

A modern economy including shipbuilding and forest products - newsprint and other paper. The electronics group Nokia started out as a forest products company before diversifying. The prosperity was originally based on trade with the Soviet Union - about 25% of Finland's trade was with the Soviet Union. The collapse of the Soviet economy has hit Finland with growing unemployment(20%) and a balance of payments deficit. Trade with the European Union may compensate for the loss of Soviet buying.

In thefinancial crisis beginning in 2008 Finland has opposed assistance to the southern EU countries, especially Greece.

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Rights

 Climate

Green/Ecology

Finland is building a new nuclear power station (over budget and late).

 History

 Politics

 Economics

 Green

 Climate

Human Rights

Climate effects

There are reports that the extremes of winter have moderated. Snowfall is later than in the past and ice cover on the lakes is forming much later than in the past.

Last revised 10/07/12


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