Small Neighbors of a Big Country: What Can We Learn from the Experience of Finland and Estonia?
Dr. Marina Oborotova, CFIS-AIA
August 27, 2017
Visit Finland and Estonia and you will enjoy the pleasures of two small, civilized, calm, and stable countries; not much seems to be happening. But first impressions can be deceiving. Both countries lie on the fringes of Russia. Both have complex and conflicted relations with their giant neighbor, marked by tragedy and triumph. The 20th century experience of these two countries provide striking lessons for the present.
In her talk Dr. Oborotova will present comparative analysis of the historical evolution of Finland and Estonia. Both countries were parts of the Russian Empire and gained independence for the first time in 1917. But as a consequence of the Nazi-Soviet pact, the freedom of both countries became precarious. In 1939-1940 Finland fought a bitter “Winter War” against a Soviet invasion and retained its independence after World War II. Estonia, on the other hand, was reincorporated into the Stalin’s empire in 1940 and remained part of the USSR until its demise. How can we explain Finland’s success in maintaining its independence? What was the legacy of Soviet rule for Estonia? And what does the experience of Finland and Estonia tell other small and not so small neighbors of Russia? This historical question is clearly relevant today given the efforts of Putin’s Russia to reincorporate parts of the former Soviet empire.
Dr. Marina Oborotova is the Founder and the President of the Center for International Studies and the Albuquerque International Association. She has an M.A. from the Moscow State University for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Foreign Office and a Ph.D. from the Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russia’s leading think-tank, where she worked as a senior researcher. Her career includes experience in many parts of the world in foreign policy, international business, academic research, and university level teaching. She has written two books and over 40 articles on foreign relations and has presented numerous papers at international conferences. In the U.S., she has taught at the University of New Mexico in the Departments of History, Political Science, the Anderson School of Management and the Honors Program.
Supported by New Mexico Humanities Council,Sandia National Labs & Los Alamos National Bank