In an article entitled “Russia and the Baltics: Who is Scaring Whom?” Russian regionalist Vadiim Shtepa writes that this month is the 25th anniversary of Moscow’s efforts to hold the USSR together by using force in Lithuania and Latvia. This instead accelerated the breakup of the Soviet Union by exposing it as a state held together by force alone.
He says: “Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia played a leading role in the liquidation of the Soviet empire, above all by insisting on the denunciation of the secret protocols of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact by which Stalin and Hitler divided up Eastern Europe…The democratic Russia of 1991 willingly recognized the independence of the Baltic countries,but present-day Russia has evolved in the direction of the former Soviet imperial worldview. Now Putin declares that the disintegration of the USSR was ‘the greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century.’”
JANUARY 1940 – RAATE ROAD
Finnish soldiers returning from Raate Road
One of the most important battles of the Winter War, the Battle of Raate Road, was fought Jan. 1–7, 1940. It was a part of the larger Battle of Suomussalmi , whose aim was to cut Finland in half at its ‘waistline’, through Suomussalmi in eastern Finland to Oulu on the west coast.
Two Soviet divisions and one Soviet tank brigade were brought to the theater of Suomussalmi, a total of 55,000 Soviet forces.
In preparation for a victory parade in Oulu, the Soviets also brought a brass band.
The heavily outnumbered Finnish 9th Division stopped and decisively defeated the invading Red Army on the Raate Road during the first week of January, 1940. The battle showcased the effectiveness of Finnish “motti” tactics, in which the enemy is encircled, entrapped and decimated. Continue reading
This is an interesting slideshow about medieval Finland. It was a part of the Swedish kingdom and heavily influenced by Swedish culture.