Ahvenanmaa ei ole ollut mikään rauhan saaristo


  • Arvo Komulainen


merikuljetus, suojaus, elinehto, Ahvenanmaa, sukellusvene, tonnisto


THE ÅLAND ISLANDS WERE NO PEACEFUL ARCHIPELAGO Because of its strategic location at the entrance of the Gulf of Bothnia, nations around the Baltic Sea have fought over the Åland Islands since the beginning of the 18th century. Countless more plans and cancelled agreements on the use of the archipelago have also come and gone, even concerning its role in the Baltic Sea’s closing agreement. The Åland Islands’ status as a separate province of the Swedish Kingdom was terminated in 1635, which is when the islands were annexed to the County of Turku. Under Russian rule, from 1835 to 1918, it was part of the jurisdictional district of Turku and the Finnish administrative system. Due to their shared history of 400 years and common language – and maybe because of the economic benefits that the close proximity of the Swedish capital Stockholm brings – the majority of Åland Islanders think of themselves as more Swedish than anything else. When Finland gained independence in 1917, Åland Islanders, with the backing of Sweden, sought the “blessing” of the League of Nations and the Paris Peace Conference for their attempt to become part of Sweden. In order for the independence of Finland to be internationally recognised and the Åland Islands to be annexed to Finland, Finland was to accept the treaty ordering the demilitarisation and neutralisation of the Åland Islands signed by ten nations and it was to destroy all coastal fortifications and materiel that the Russians had built between 1914 and 1916. The fortifications had been built contrary to the demilitarisation agreement that had been established between Russia, the United Kingdom and France in 1856. When the threat of a second world war seemed imminent, both Finland and Sweden pushed for the cancellation of the Åland Islands’ demilitarisation agreement at the council of the League of Nations, as it hindered Finland’s defence. All signatory nations agreed to the annulment of the agreement. Russia, who was not one of the signatory nations, nonetheless strongly opposed the termination of the agreement and Sweden withdrew from the initial plan to fortify the Åland Islands. At the onset of the Winter War between Finland and Soviet Russia, Finland occupied the Åland Islands and built fortifications along its coastline. This ensured that the archipelago could be maintained as a base for maritime traffic and those protecting maritime traffic when the short route (40 nautical miles) between the islands and Sweden had to bear the brunt of the Soviet Union’s considerable submarine fleet. This was repeated during the so-called Continuation War in 1941. In the 1947 peace treaty, Finland was forced to accept the demilitarisation agreements and to destroy the batteries and wartime structures on the Åland Islands. During the war, the protected maritime routes of the Åland Islands literally became Finland’s lifeline, as 90% of all our imports from European countries came via maritime routes. Presently, the volume of maritime transport is ten-fold when compared to the volume of material transported prior to World War II. In the summer of 2006 the Åland Islands’ Institute of Peace organised a peace jubilee to commemorate the 150 years of peace brought by the 1856 Paris Peace Treaty’s defortification agreement of the Åland Islands. The two-week-long commemorations included a three-day Russia event. Åland Islander, PhD and geologist Kenneth Gustavsson published a four-part article series entitled “Åland not the archipelago of peace” in Åland magazine in 2006. The 150 years that were being celebrated as years of peace did in effect contain 61 years of Russian (in part) occupation and the years 1914 to 1916 when Russia heavily fortified the islands. Artikkeli on suomen kielellä ja luettavissa painetussa julkaisussa Tiede ja ase 65 (hinta 20 €). Julkaisun voi tilata Tiedekirjasta sähköpostitse tiedekirja@tsv.fi tai verkkokaupasta www.tiedekirja.fi

Kirjoittajan esittely

Arvo Komulainen





Komulainen, A. (2008). Ahvenanmaa ei ole ollut mikään rauhan saaristo. Tiede ja ase, 65. Noudettu osoitteesta https://journal.fi/ta/article/view/399