Putin made the same mistake as Stalin, the President of Finland says

January 2,2023 1105
Putin made the same mistake as Stalin, the President of Finland says

In his New Year’s Speech on Jan. 1, 2023, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö analyzed how the year 2022 had changed the world, dedicating a good deal of the speech to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

He pointed out that for decades the Finns had “become accustomed to things always getting better,” and became “becoming the happiest nation in the world.”

“The past year suddenly took us back to the past. To something that, generation by generation, we had begun to consider increasingly distant, and almost impossible in its irrationality. The horrors of a major war returned to Europe.”

The Finnish leader compared Putin and Stalin and said the former had made the same mistake as the latter.

“If Russia believed that a massive threat would rapidly force Ukraine on its knees, it made a serious error of judgment. One cannot avoid thinking about the similarities the situation has with our Winter War when the Soviet Union assumed that they would march into Helsinki within two weeks. As leaders of a country under authoritarian rule, Stalin and Putin failed to recognize a key factor. The fact that people living in a free country have their own will and convictions. And that a nation that works together constitutes an immense force,” Niinistö said.

Putin’s other mistake was to believe that the Western compassion for the Ukrainian people would pass. “Quite the opposite happened. Instead of only feeling empathy, we are deeply living through this with the Ukrainians. We have embraced the matter of the Ukrainians as our own. And the support for Ukraine only grows stronger,” said the president.

He also described the fundamental difference between two “totally different world views” on the sides of the geographical border between Europe and Russia. On the European side, “it is impossible to even think that a nation could ever imagine starting a war against another. On the Russian side of the border, things are different,” and this difference eventually boils down to the respect of humanity and human life.

“The past year forces us to think how all this could happen. Not only in world events but, first and foremost, in our own way of thinking. How did we come to believe that it is impossible for something to happen, that then actually happened?

“Since, in reality, it has been going on all the time. There have been wars in the Middle East, Africa, but also in Europe: on the Balkans, in Georgia – and even in Ukraine for almost nine years. There has been plenty of cruelty around the world. Perhaps we – in Finland, the Nordic Countries, Europe, and the West in general – have just wanted to lull ourselves into thinking that cruelty will not reach us,” President Niinistö said.