Plenty of space for the modern
The Free World long ended at Finland’s eastern border.
No other Western country had such a long border to the
East Bloc. The longest segment of the “Iron Curtain” ran
through the densely forested and sparsely populated
border region between Finland and the Soviet Union.
A precarious situation, one that called for a major
balancing act — at home and abroad as well as in
economic terms. During the “Cold War” Finland had to
build confidence in the east, maintain good bilateral
trade relations, without losing sight of the need to build
friendly relations with the other Scandinavian countries
and, in particular, to remain strictly neutral. The basis
for this was the Treaty on Friendship and Cooperation
concluded with the Soviet Union in 1948. Urho Kaleva
Kekkonen, who, between 1950 and 1981, first served
the country as prime minister and later as president,
succeeded in this balancing act. And in the end Finland
even served as a mediator between the big powers. In
1975 the Final Act of the Conference for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) was signed in Helsinki,
paving the way for an initial round of disarmament talks.
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