The Winter War
The Soviet-Finnish, or “Winter War”, was a military conflict between USSR and Finland, which lasted from November 30, 1939, to March 13, 1940.
In September 1939, USSR, as a result of the partition of the Polish state, subjugated the Western part of Ukraine and Western Belarus, but this did not fully satisfy the aggressive ambitions of the Soviet leadership, which also sought to establish control over the Baltic States and Finland.
The Soviet totalitarian regime put before the choice the leadership of Finland that they should voluntarily transfer a number of strategically important territories (the Hanko Peninsula and the Fishery, the Karelian Isthmus) in exchange for part of Soviet Karelia. In turn, USSR intended to seize territories with great industrial potential. Instead, the Finns were offered to give away undeveloped territories in East Karelia, where the lands were completely empty and cultivated.
In this regard, Finns refused the proposal, after which USSR resorted to use of military force. The reason for the start of war was the November 26, 1939, seemingly from the territory of Finland, the shelling of the border village Minila. The shelling was organized by Soviet special services. Then, on November 30, 1939, Soviet troops, with the support of the Baltic and Northern Fleet ships, launched an attack on a wide front from the Barents Sea to the Gulf of Finland. At the same time, Soviet aviation bombed 20 Finnish cities, killing and injuring several thousand civilians. On December 14, 1939, USSR was excluded from the League of Nations as the aggressor.
Further, the totalitarian regime of the USSR tried in every possible way to “communize” Finland and create the so-called legal cover for the invasion of Soviet troops. Also, the Finnish People’s Government and the Finnish people’s army were established in the USSR. On December 2, 1939, the USSR and the Finnish Democratic Republic concluded an agreement on friendship and mutual assistance. So, officially, the Soviet Union did not fight with Finland, but assisted the “red” Finns in the fight against the “white” Finns.
In addition, the fighting intensified in February 1940, when the Soviet side was able to focus on the Soviet-Finnish front of more than 760,000 troops. Due to unequal forces and the impossibility of further resistance, Finland agreed to a “peace” treaty, signed in Moscow on March 12, 1940. The Karelian Isthmus, a number of islands in the Gulf of Finland, crossed USSR. March 31, 1940 from these territories, as well as the Karelian ASSR was established Karelo-Finnish SSR. In addition, the leadership of USSR still sat at the negotiating table with Finland, a significant factor in the threat of intervention in the war on the side of the last United Kingdom and France. Although Finland was forced to make significant concessions, it still maintained its independence.
In the Soviet-Finnish war, the Soviet side suffered enormous losses – 400,000 killed and wounded, which was several times higher than the Finnish – 60,000 killed and wounded. 6,000 Red Army soldiers who were captured and later transferred to the Soviet side were subjected to repression by the Stalinist regime: nearly 700 of them were sentenced to death as “traitors”, and 4,5 thousand were sent to concentration camps.
Very similar tactic Russian Federation nowadays implement in Ukraine. Russia created its proxies, so called “LPR” and “DPR” republics in order to keep influence on pro-EU and NATO oriented course of Ukraine. Now Ukraine fights for its independence not with “LPR” or “DPR”, but with Russia. And the outcome of its battle will influence not only on Ukraine, but on whole civilized world.