Dismantling the Soviet Security System: Soviet–Finnish Negotiations on Ending Their Friendship Agreement, 1989–91

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The Soviet Union had tied Finland to its security system through the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (FCMA) signed between the two in 1948. As the Soviet Union began to disintegrate at the end of the 1980s, Finland exited the Soviet sphere of influence – the region controlled through a system of bilateral and multilateral agreements. This article analyses the Soviet–Finnish negotiations to discard the FCMA treaty as a case study of the changing Soviet European neighbourhood policy. It gives important insights into the disintegration of the Soviet foreign policy mechanism during the Gorbachev era as it elaborates on both the intra-bureaucracy conflicts between the Kremlin and the Soviet foreign ministry, MID, and later between the Soviet central government and the Russian republic. As Finland was part of the Soviet security system, analysing Finland's exit from it sheds light onto the crucial change that took place in the Soviet foreign policy doctrine during the perestroika years. The Gorbachev leadership's decision not to defend its sphere of influence with force paved way for the upheavals of 1989 which led to the Cold War's end.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International History Review
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)83-104
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 615 History and Archaeology
  • USSR
  • Finland
  • sphere of influence
  • friendship agreement

Cite this