Editorial in Pravda, December 4, 1939

Comrade V. M. Molotov, head of the Soviet Government, concluded his speech over the radio on November 29 with the following words:

"The sole purpose of our measures is to safeguard the security of the Soviet Union, and especially of Leningrad, with Its three and a half million inhabitants. In the present warheated-state of international affairs, we cannot allow the settlement of this vital and urgent problem of state to be dependent on the malevolence of the present rulers of Finland. That problem will have to be settled by the efforts of the Soviet Union itself in friendly collaboration with the Finnish people.

"We have no doubt that a favourable settlement of the problem of safeguarding the security of Leningrad will furnish a basis for unshakable friendship between the U.S.S.R. and Finland."

Comrade Mololov's speech evoked tremendous enthusiasm among the Soviet people, who unanimously hailed the decision of the Soviet Government to put an end to the insolent provocations of the puppet Finnish ministers and thereby to open the way for friendly negotiations with true representatives of the Finnish people.

Some two or three days have passed. The bankrupt bourgeois politicians of Finland have been thrown into panic and dismay by the mighty blow delivered by the valiant Red Army in reply to the provocative sorties on the Soviet border. Governments are tumbling one after another, clinging vainly to their foreign patrons and instigators. But in liberated Finland the voice of the genuine labouring people has resounded. The Government of the Democratic Republic of Finland has called upon all its people to fight together with the Red Army against the instigators of war and the oppressors of the Finnish people.

Friendly cooperation between the Soviet Union and the people of Finland has been established since the very first steps taken by the Red Army, which is smashing the chain of foreign imperialism that fetters the labouring people of Finland. This collaboration has now been sealed by the treaty of mutual assistance and friendship between the Soviet Union and the Democratic Republic of Finland.

Messrs. the Cajanders and Tanners were unable to find a common language with the Soviet Government, because they were guided, in deference to their foreign masters, not by a desire for peace but by feelings of hostility towards the U.S.S.R. The negotiations dragged on fruitlessly. They were disrupted by Finland's instigators of war. The press of the imperialist fomenters of a world war, those who like others to pull their chestnuts out of the fire for them, encouraged the shortsighted politicians of the Finnish bourgeoisie to fight the U.S.S.R.

The negotiations between the Soviet Government and the representatives of the Democratic Republic of Finland, on the other hand, were concluded in short time. A common language was found from the very start, because it is the language of friendship and profound mutual confidence.

The treaty opens a new page in the history of the relations between these two neighbouring states, removes forever all grounds for mutual distrust, and creates a basis for enduring and indestructible friendship.

This treaty removes one fo [sic] the most dangerous hotbeds of war, created on the frontiers of the Soviet Union by the former plutocratic government of Finland to please the imperialist robbers. The boundary on the Isthmus of Karelia is shifted from Leningrad to the north with the transfer of 3,970 square kilometres of Finnish territory to the Soviet Union, the latter paying Finland the sum of 120,000,000 Finnish marks in compensation for the sections of Finnish railways passing into possession of the U.S.S.R.

On the other hand, the age-long aspirations of the Finnish people for the reunion of the Karelian people with the kindred Finnish people in one Finnish state is being realized. For this purpose, the Soviet Union expresses its consent to transfer to the Democratic Republic of Finland 70,000 square kilometres of Soviet territory with a predominantly Karelian population.

The treaty further guarantees the mutual interests of the Soviet Union and Finland in the defence of the coast of the Gulf of Finland, in strengthening the security of the U.S.S.R. and Finland. The Soviet Union receives a lease of the Hango Peninsula, the surrounding waters, and the adjacent islands, for the establishment of a naval base capable of defending the entrance to the Gulf of Finland against aggression. The Democratic Republic of Finland is selling the Soviet Union a number of islands in the Gulf of Finland, enumerated in the treaty, as well as part of the Rybachi and Sredni peninsulas on the coast of the Arctic Ocean, for the total sum of 300,000,000 Finnish marks.

Lastly, the friendship between the U.S.S.R. and the Democratic Republic of Finland is consolidated by mutual obligations not to take part in any alliances or coalitions hostile to the other party, by the development of economic relations on the basis of a trade agreement, and by the undertaking of the Soviet Union to assist the Finnish People's Army with armaments and other military equipment.

Such are the contents of the treaty.

It goes without saying that none of the "democratic" powers, say, Britain, France or the United States, would have agreed to sign such a treaty with a small and weak country like Finland. Any one of these "democratic" powers would have preferred to utilize the might of its army to seize Finnish territory, to turn Finland into a dependent state. Only the Soviet Union, which rejects the very idea of seizing foreign territory and enslaving foreign peoples, could go to the length of using its entire political and military might, not to seize or enslave Finland, but to strengthen the independence of Finland, to extend Finland's territory at the expense of territory of the Soviet Union, to establish friendship with Finland.

The historical significance of the treaty of mutual assistance and friendship between the U.S.S.R. and Finland is that it gives the lie to allegations of the foreign press and foreign politicians regarding the substance of the foreign policy of the U.S.S.R., establishes peace in Eastern and Northeastern Europe, and obviates the possibility of Finland being turned into a base of operations against the U.S.S.R—hence it safeguards the security of both Finland and the U.S.S.R., as well as of the Baltic countries in general.

The foreign press and foreign "democratic" rulers have been howling for several days now that the entry of the Red Army into Finland means the seizure of Finnish territory, the destruction of Finland's independence, and the conversion of Finland into a province of the U.S.S.R. Now, after the treaty with the Democratic Republic of Finland, this lie circulated by the "civilized" slanderers may be considered exposed. These "civilizers" are lying barefacedly when they attribute to the U.S.S.R. intentions that are alien to it. Not only is the U.S.S.R. seizing nothing from Finland, but, on the contrary, it is giving Finland 70,000 square kilometres of Soviet territory, helping it to reunite with the Karelian population neighbouring on Finland.

The warmongers, parading under the flag of "neutrality" so as to deceive the masses, are shouting from the housetops that the Red Array is violating the neutrality of the northern countries, that it has entered Finland as an aggressor, as a conqueror, that it is unleashing war in the northeast of Europe and threatening the northern countries. Now, after the treaty with the Democratic Republic of Finland, this lie may also be considered exposed. These gentlemen are lying barefacedly when they attribute to the Red Army intentions that are alien to it. The Red Army has come to Finland not as an aggresssor, not as a conqueror, but as the deliverer of the Finnish people from their oppressors and the instigators of war of the Cajander-Erkko-Tanner-Mannerheim clique. The Red Army certainly constitutes a danger for the gentlemen from the Tanner-Mannerheim camp. It would be absurd, however, to identify this discredited clique of incendiaries of war with Northeastern Europe, i.e., with Finland, Sweden, Denmark, and Norway, whom the Red Army has not the slightest intention of threatening. The Red Army has come to Finland to help the Finnish people and its People's Government in their struggle against the Messrs. Tanner and Mannerheim. It is acting in Finland on the invitation of the People's Government of Finland. It will lose no time in leaving Finland as soon as the People's Government of Finland deems it necessary.

In April 1919 the British Conservative newspaper The Times, regarding Finland as a base of operations for an attack on our country, wrote:
"So far as stamping out the Bolshevist is concerned we might as well send expeditions to Honolulu as to the White Sea. If we look at the map we shall find that the best approach to Petrograd is from the Baltic, and that the shortest and easiest route is through Finland ... Finland is the key to Petrograd, and Petrograd is the key to Moscow."

The Times knew what it was talking about. For Finland is indeed the key to Leningrad, and Leningrad is the key to Moscow. He who wishes to defeat our Soviet country must have Finland at his command as the key to Leningrad, and Leningrad as the key to Moscow, the heart of our country. From this, however, it follows that to ensure friendship between Finland and the U.S.S.R. and to strengthen the security of the approaches to Leningrad means at the same time to safeguard the security of our whole country. The historic significance of the treaty between the U.S.S.R. and the Democratic Republic of Finland consists, among other things, in that it transforms Finland from the hotbed of anti-Soviet intrigue and war provocations it has been until recently into a reliable bulwark of peace in Northeastern Europe.

Thereby an end is put to the imperialists' anti-Soviet machinations in this part of Europe. The security of Leningrad and its approaches should henceforth be considered as safeguarded.
Source: The U.S.S.R. and Finland. Outstanding Facts and Documents, pp. 41-46. Foreign Languages Publishing House. Moscow 1939.

Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940