For decades, Finland survived as an independent and unoccupied democracy in the shadow of the Soviet Union by handing the Kremlin outsized influence over its politics and hewing to a delicate neutrality during the Cold War.

That model — known in diplomatic circles as Finlandization — is now being invoked as a possible solution to the standoff over Ukraine, an idea that would effectively neutralize its sovereignty and possibly allow Russia a new sphere of influence for a new era.

But for Finns, let alone Ukrainians, it is not an idea to be tossed lightly on the negotiating table, smacking of the kind of imperial, Old World politics that once reduced the Continent’s smaller nations to pawns in a game over which they had no control.