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Radio address by Prime Minister of Finland Risto Ryti,
8 December 1939

We have been in war with Soviet Union for nine days. Without a slightest cause being given from our side and ruthlessly in contradiction of numerous agreements made and affirmed with us and without regard of their international agreements and commitments with several others, the Soviet Union has, on all of our borders, on land as well as by air and sea attacked us and used all methods of destruction made available by modern technology in order to crush our people and to destroy our existence as an independent, self-governing nation.

Unprotected cities and centers of population have been bomber from air, women and children have been machine-gunned, poison gases used against our troops in battle, use of all of these methods being prohibited by international covenants, to which the Soviet Union also is a signatory.

In a new way the story of king Ahab and poor Nabob from the Bible is repeated. Strong and powerful wants by wrongdoing and by criminal means seize the orchard owned by the weak and poor in order to make it a part of their own holdings. But the spirit of this Bible story will be repeated in that wrong and violence will revenge itself.

Various territories of Finland were demanded by the Russians during negotiations initiated by themselves, supposedly in order to provide additional protection for Leningrad and Soviet Union. Finland took part in these negotiations in good faith and with hopes that via these means peaceful solutions in accordance of righteous and reasonable requirements and interests of both sides could be reached. The population of Finland does not ask or demand from the Soviet Union or any other nation, anything but to be able to, as an independent and self-governing nation, safely work towards development and improvement of their wellbeing and civilized way of life. It understands, that due to its geographic location it will always remain a neighbor of Russia, and due to that also understands, that good and trustful relations with this Eastern neighbor are to advantage of both. But, it cannot voluntarily subject to dependence on Soviet Union’s discretion or endanger its safety and independence, yet alone surrender its adopted politics of peacefulness and impartiality. It was with these points of view as basis that Finland took part in negotiations with the Soviet Union, but instead of negotiations being continued, the Soviet Union broke off diplomatic relations and commenced with a hitherto unknown in history unscrupulous attack intended to destroy.

Even following this, the cabinet of Finland attempted until the very end to utilize all options in order to achieve a peaceful solution and notified the Russians that it was prepared to discuss the possibility of peaceful solutions and table new proposals, which it believed to be able to fulfill the reasonable wishes for increasing safety of Soviet Union and Leningrad, without simultaneously endangering safety of Finland itself. This proposal also went without any attention being paid to it by the Soviets. It become evident from their point of view the question was not the matter of increasing safety of Leningrad by peaceful negotiations, but rather they desired war in order to realize far reaching, purely imperialistic intentions.

In the present government of Soviet Union, principles declared by Lenin regarding rights of self-determination of nations have been forgotten, as have their nice assurances regarding Soviet Union’s wishes of peace and peace protecting actions. Cold and rough imperialism, for which the soviets have during the decades immediately past blamed other nations, has proved to be the ultimate intention of the present government of Soviet Union. Taking advantage of the presently prevailing unfortunate world situation, where the civilized nations of Europe are lacerating each other in a bitter war, the Soviet Union is aspiring to complete their centuries old aims for realization of Russian control in Europe. Due to its geographical location Finland has been the first victim of this tragedy of mankind.

It looks however, the Russians have commenced these violent actions based at least in part on wrongful assumptions and provision of faulty information. In accordance of that they have set up at Terijoki a supposedly democratic cabined under the leadership of Kuusinen, presumably in belief that with aid of this kind of shadow cabinet they could entice to their side at least a small number of citizens of Finland. In this hope, they are destined to be disappointed. Mr. Kuusinen and his “democracy” are sufficiently well known in Finland, that from here nobody except a handful of those “roublecommunists” who during the independence of our country in and outside of our borders have worked against their fatherland will follow it.

The authority of Mr. Kuusinen in Finland will never extend even an inch outside the bayonet points of the red-army soldier’s protecting him, nor last even a moment longer than those bayonets surrounding him.

His declarations, from which the undying wish of revenge towards his former Finnish working colleagues is emanating, will awaken only loathing in population of Finland, his speeches about democracy the people of Finland will only interpret as bitter mockery. Mr. Kuusinen has for too long remained outside of Finland’s borders, and lived for too long in different circumstances and different atmosphere, to even be able understand the frame of mind and ideals of Finnish people, yet alone know the real democracy which people of Finland have developed for themselves and stand behind to a man. Or those fiscal conditions and circumstances of civilization, which our population has during our independence developed with hard work and lived under.

Messrs. Stalin and Molotov are destined to be dismally disappointed if they in their Finland policy have aspirations of being able to rely on this tool, his “cabinet”, “democracy” and incitement. The state of enlightenment in Finland is much higher than that which would allow regarding this kind of matter with anything but utter contempt.

Alike, in another important matter the actions of Moscow against Finland are most presumably based on incorrect information as well as miscalculations. If it is presumed that that the will of resistance of defence forces of Finland and that of the people can be broken by brutally destroying cities, murdering of wife’s and children, utilization of poison gases and other similar tactics, which are loathed by the entire civilized world, this likewise is destined to be a disappointment. At this point in time the Finnish people are entirely united, of one mind and strong as cast in steel, it is ready for greater sacrifices in defence of their independence and on behalf of their existence, for it is well aware of what could be expected under the authority of Messrs. Kuusinen. If we are forced to, we will battle to the very end, even after the end.

Conquering Finland will not be a parade march, but will at every step extract a heavy toll from the invader.

Ultimately a successful battle presupposes rightful and honorable reasons for which to battle. We Finnish possess such a high and holy reason. We are battling on behalf of our independence and existence, we are battling on behalf of homes, families, children and the life opportunities of future generations, we are battling on behalf of a humane juridical system against a brutal violence, we are battling in support of all that up to present times is permanent and valuable in cultural development of the world. But, what do the Russian workers and peasants battle in support of?

Translated by Olli Makkonen, 2011
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