Finland Europe

Finland is a small country in the Northern Europe. It is located between Sweden and Russia. It has about 5 million inhabitants. Its area is 337 thousand sq km. I can count only 5 countries in the European Union that are larger in area. That area is mostly covered with arable land, and forest. Terrain is rather flat except for the most Northern parts. There are tens of thousands lakes in Finland. There are also thousands of islands in the archipelago located in the south west corner of Finland.

Finland has been constitutional democracy since 1917. President elected by the people leads foreign policy. Prime minister selected by the parliament leads other policy. Parliament is elected by the people every fourth year. 3 largest parties are social democrats, agriculture party (liberals?), and conservatives. Each of them have little more than one fifth of the seats. Green party and former communists each have about 10 percent of the seats. Other parties have the remaining seats. Current government consists of social democrats and agriculture party.

Finnish people are quiet and shy. Quiet? Yes. Shy? In my experience, this is rather a misperception by foreigners from more extroverted cultures where people generally aren't quiet unless they are feeling shy. They may seem rude to foreigners since they don't open their mouth very often. However, they are known to be friendly after you get to know them. They do help you when you're in need of help - but you must ask for the help first.

Finland was part of Sweden from 12th century. In 1809 Finland became autonomous grand duchy of Russia after a lost war. Finland got its independence December 6th 1917 during the revolution in Russia.

Few years later there was a civil war in Finland. The war was started by the communists who received help from the Soviet Union. Although the most of Finnish citizens supported communists, far better supplied and organized white troops won the war. This war caused very much hatred inside the country. Finland was able to unite only when the second world war broke.

Who are those "white troops" ? See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finnish_Civil_War

In 1939 Soviet Union attacked Finland unprovoked. Its plan was to conquer Finland quickly and to install communist government to Finland. Soviet believed that Finnish communists would join them in the fight but that did not happen. In fact it was the Soviet attack that united Finnish communists and "whites". Hatred against Russia, which had oppressed Finland for centuries, was stronger that the love of ideology. Small Finland was able to defend itself incredibly well and the Soviet attack was stopped. After few months of war Finland made a peace with Russia and surrendered some territory near the border of Russia.

In 1941 after Germany attacked Russia, Finland joined the war and attacked Russia. This time Finnish troops very much better equipped due supplies from Germany. Finland did take back its own territory and stopped there. Despite German pleads Finland didn't continue its attack further inside Soviet Union. Finland did allow German troops to use Finnish territory though.

In 1944 Soviet Union launched a massive attack against Finland. After losing much territory Finland was able to stop the assault. Finnish army was in very bad shape after the massive attack but Finland was able to negotiate a peace. This was mainly due the fact that allied troops had invaded the Normandy and Soviet Union needed all troops to conquer the Berlin before the allied troops did. Thus, it also needed its troops from Finnish border. So again Finland was able to sustain its independence although it had to pay very high price to Soviet Union for the peace. So Finland was never occupied and has never been part of Eastern European communist countries.

After the war Finland has turned from agricultural country into industrial country with high GDP/person. Finland is known for its forestry products, Nokia and LinusTorvalds. But there is also strong metal, electronics, and computing science / information technology industry in Finland.

Part of the EuropeanUnion


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