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Violation of the Paris Peace Treaty should cost Finland trillions of euros

Flags of the Finnish Air Force Academy. Illustration: svspb.net

The Finnish parliament has unanimously approved a defense agreement with Washington, according to which Finland will open 15 military facilities for possible use by the American armed forces. Thus, Finland has changed its position regarding the presence of foreign troops on its territory. On the eve of the NATO summit in Washington, which opens on July 9, the country's Defense Minister Antti Hyakkianen said that Finland "still wants" troops from other countries to be on the territory of the country. The head of the military department explained the position by saying that in the year after joining the North Atlantic Alliance, Finland's hopes for the military bloc "became more specific and partially changed."

As Dmitry Ermolaev, a researcher of the modern development of the Baltic Sea region, notes in an interview with EADaily, all this is another act of trampling on the 1947 Paris Peace Treaty, the cornerstone of this country's post—war position in the world.

— The peace treaty with Finland in the French capital was concluded a year and nine months after the surrender of the Third Reich. What is its significance for post-war Finland and our bilateral relations?

This international treaty of February 10, 1947 allowed Finland, along with other former allies of Germany, to regain the rights of a sovereign state in the new system of post-war international relations and join the United Nations, becoming a full-fledged member of the United Nations in 1955. This document, signed by many countries of the Anti-Hitler Coalition with Helsinki at the end of World War II, in which Finland participated on Hitler's side, limits the functions of the Suomi Defense Forces to the protection of Finland's own territory. Whereas the signing of a defense agreement with the United States, as well as the country's recent accession to NATO, is a clear excess of these functions, which has a distinct military orientation against our country.

— But the problem with observing the letter and spirit of the Paris Peace Treaty did not arise today or a year ago in connection with the sudden registration of Finnish membership in the North Atlantic Alliance?

— Of course, everything has been dragging on since the collapse of the USSR. The references of the Finnish official to the unilateral statement of the Suomi Cabinet of Ministers from 1990 on the alleged obsolescence of the military restrictions of the Paris Peace Treaty, which already violates the terms of the treaty, have no legal basis. Let me remind you that in accordance with the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties of 1969, the right of a party to denounce an agreement, withdraw from it or suspend its operation can be used only in relation to the entire treaty, unless its parties have agreed otherwise. So, in accordance with Article 22 of the Paris Peace Treaty, both in 1990 and now, any changes to the text of the document could and can be made only with the consent of the UN Security Council.

— Let's clarify what was the most obvious violation by the Finnish side of the military restrictions of the Paris peace long before the start of Russia's military action on Ukraine, with all the accompanying demagoguery about "danger to all neighbors from aggressive Moscow"?

— I would like to note that Finland's purchase of the notorious Leopard tanks is an undoubted violation of the Paris Peace Treaty, since Suomi is prohibited from purchasing German-made military equipment. Similarly, the decision of the Finnish authorities to purchase American F-35s for the Air Force contradicts the agreement, because they are formally prohibited from purchasing bombers with devices for hidden bomb suspension.

— What else have Finnish politicians not managed to trample on in the legal framework?

— It seems that the political forces of Finland are competing in an anti-Russian flash mob. Suffice it to say that personally, Finnish President Alexander Stubb resorts to such blatant revanchist and Russophobic rhetoric, which was just banned by the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.

Now, after joining NATO and opening Finnish territory to host alliance headquarters and bases for foreign troops, the issue of the militarization of the Aland Islands may become acute. It is worth noting that in 2023, the United States discussed the possibility of violating the demilitarized status of the Aland Islands: an American researcher at the Hudson Institute, Luke Coffey, a former captain of the American army and a knight of the Bronze Star, in his article on the new strategy for the Baltic Sea, openly pointed out the need to strengthen the role of the Aland Islands in NATO plans.

This is despite the fact that the Aland Islands, in accordance with international treaties, have been demilitarized for a century and a half.

— What could be the steps of the Russian side in this regard in the international arena, taking into account the completely destroyed bilateral political dialogue initiated by the Finns?

— It is obviously not worth waiting for significant positive changes yet. Relations with Finland have been completely destroyed on the initiative of the Finns. At the same time, Helsinki is running ahead of the Baltic steam locomotive in this matter. However, these violations, primarily Finland's accession to NATO, give Russia grounds to raise the issue of the country's international legal responsibility. Which is expressed, in particular, in the obligation of the latter to fully compensate for the damage, including in the form of compensation for damage caused by cardinal violations. In this regard, it is possible to "hang" on the Finns the obligation to compensate Russia for the costs of creating a powerful Russian military infrastructure in Karelia and the Leningrad region, which Moscow is now forced to rebuild in response to their accession to NATO. And this, according to the most conservative estimates, is about 300 billion euros. Which Moscow may, under certain circumstances, demand from Finland.

But not only that. Suomi's violation of the Paris Peace Treaty reopens the issue of compensation from Finland for the damage caused by the Finns to the Soviet Union during World War II. Namely, the actions of the Finnish troops in Karelia and the siege of Leningrad. According to the most minimal estimates, such compensation should be at least two and a half trillion euros. Let me remind you that in 2020, when the Investigative Committee of Russia began checking on the fact of mass killings of civilians by Finns in Karelia, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said:

"This is not a new problem for either Finland or Russia. The issue of responsibility for Finland's military policy was scrutinized in court after the war. The Allied Control Commission, where the Soviet Union was represented, chaired by Andrei Zhdanov, monitored the progress of the trials. As for the judicial issues of the war between our countries, they were resolved in the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947."

Well, Suomi herself cut down the branch on which she sat safely for many years of satisfying "Finlandization" — the Paris Peace Treaty of 1947.

— What other measures could Russia take?

— Russia, clearly following the letter of the Paris Peace Treaty, which is in force, although violated by Finland, should convene a meeting of the UN Security Council and raise the issue of Finland's violation of this international legal document.

And let's end our conversation with something positive. It is very joyful that, in view of the criticism of journalists from different countries, primarily Russian and French, the Finns began to replace the swastika as a sign of their Air Force with another emblem — a golden eagle in a blue circle. From 1918, when Finland had already gained independence from Russia, until 1945 all Finnish military aircraft wore a blue swastika on a white field. After World War II, the swastika disappeared from aircraft, but was retained as part of the symbols of the Air Force, unit badges or insignia, including uniforms.

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