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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.

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