TL: The Finnish Referendum

16th August

Devvy

Donor
Hi all, taking a little break from rail writing, and in to my other favourite area of the Nordics. I wanted to write something about a unified Nordics state, which then narrowed in to Sweden-Finland and taking Norway, and what that could like in the modern day. I should say a big thank you to @von Adler after I stumbled on to his "Different Finnish War" TL during the early research as that gave some great information on bits (as well as some arguments for why our roughly common PoD is legit). Written from the point of view of a Sweden-based news outlet covering the run up to a Finnish independence referendum, so expect inspiration from Finland & Sweden, UK devolution, Scottish Referendum, Canadian federalism, Quebecois Referendum, etc etc!

A range of subjects, something different every "day" (chapter), and eventually the referendum results itself.

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Nordic Broadcasting Corporation
16th August: Finnish Independence: The Constitutional Question

Given the Finnish referendum in 4 weeks time, the Finnish government wants a clearly written and defined constitution post-independence and it asked the people of Finland what their views were last summer. But what is this constitution all about and why should it be different to the current one? In short, the Finnic Nationals want a new constitution, in contrast to the current Nordic Compact, which will clearly define the rights of citizens, the role of government, and outline what the duties and privileges are of both. This would contrast with the current Compact, which outlines roughly how government operates, but leaves pretty much everything else uncodified and open for the Nordic Parliament to rule on.

The Nordic political system is therefore closer to the smaller group of countries who have no written constitutions - only two other states don't have one: the United Kingdom and New Zealand. Every other country on earth has a written constitution of some sort; in the last 25 years, more than 20 countries have become independent sovereign territories, each passing a constitution to set out the framework. India has the world's longest, containing 117,369 words in its English translation. The Nordic Compact is a balance closer to the British example who have their own cases of "fundamental law" made up from both written and unwritten rules. The Compact was inherited from the former Swedish political system, which was expanded to encompass Norway in the early 1800s, which had resisted becoming annexed by Sweden. The resultant compromise saw the Norwegians retain their separate legal system, later defined to encompass those laws about the person, in contrast to the Swedish legal system which would act supreme in any conflicts. The Compact was the first fundamental law (or treaty depending on the reader) which set out Norway's position within the Swedish, later Nordic, realm. The Compact was later expanded to cover the position of Finland and other territories within Sweden, and would later see many Swedish institutions renamed to Nordic ones, whilst also laying out how the political system would function.

The Nordic Compact is therefore closest thing the Nordic realm has to a written constitution, albeit with no mention of individual rights. Some would say this is a dangerous position; there is nothing holding back political overreach and the abuse of power by the government. Defenders point out that not having a constitution makes the realm extremely flexible in adapting to change and reforming things as needed. They point to the situation in the United States of America, and the inability of elected officials to effect real change even if it was desired in the elected chambers.

So what would a Finnish Constitution actually look like? The Finnish government published proposals for a constitutional convention after the referendum if it so wins, with people from every branch of society, and a fair balance of both of the major groups - both Swedes and Finns. The outline proposals suggest entrenching a swathe of personal rights (ie. freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom to travel), as well as a number of other rights around equality of opportunity, public services, healthcare and welfare, education, employment, rights for children and the military. A complete ban on nuclear weapons being based in Finland is also proposed, as is an obligation to work for the transformation of the energy market away from nuclear power. Writing a new constitution might sound rather 19th Century again, but in reality it is a key document outlining what a potential Finnish state would look like in future. The Nordic political system has centuries of Nordic, and previously Swedish, precedent to fall back on for guidance; in looking for a clean break the Finnish state would need a document to guide it's way forward.

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The British Foreign Secretary has also waded in to the Finnish independence debate, saying it's "difficult to see how Europe would be aided by an independent Finland". He was speaking on a morning television show, but his comments were immediately rebuffed by the Finnish Premier who said the comments were "foolish, hypocritical and offensive". The Foreign Minister later clarified "What the Finns do is a matter for the Finns, and I will not tell them how to vote. I merely point out the international situation as a trading partner of the Nordics, that Britain will struggle to see the benefit of an independent Finland."

The Finnish Premier later spoke to media "I think his comments are hypocritical and unjust, given Britains role in the world and historical efforts in spreading the rule of law and establishment of human rights. Europe would be aided by a European nation being allowed to choose it's own destiny, it's own political system by it's own people. It is the very epitome of democracy, to allow people to choose their own future, and not told instructed by a government across the Gulf." However, the Brit is far from the first international official to indicate unease or even opposition to Finnish independence.
 
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My general thought is that a Finnish state without Russian conquest wouldn’t have Finnish Lapland. Beside that there’s also the question would Sweden create a Finnish “North Ireland” out of the Swedish exclaves on the coast?
 
My general thought is that a Finnish state without Russian conquest wouldn’t have Finnish Lapland.
Would at least some Finns claim it, due to (a) the area having a reasonable amount of Finns and (b) nationalism, based on "the brotherhood of Finns and Sami" or some such?

Anyway, for context, Sweden's provinces 1658-1809, with modern Sweden and Finland highlighted:



And a map of the Finnic languages:

 
Would at least some Finns claim it, due to (a) the area having a reasonable amount of Finns and (b) nationalism, based on "the brotherhood of Finns and Sami" or some such?
Lapland was mostly settled by Swedes and Finns in the 19th century, Notwegians had a stronger presence earlier in Their Lapland, because of easier access, in a country where Finns, Swedes and Norwegian lives it will be settled by a mix of them and they will use Swedish as Lingua Franca. Sami and Finnish have to my understanding pretty much zero mutual intelligibility, there’s no Finnish-Sami unity. The Finns are more likely to make a claim on the West Bank of Torne River (Torne Valley) which is home to a old Finnish speaking population. But the Swedes are likely to go with a border in the north where both Lapland and North Bothnia end up on the Swedish side, even if it result in the Finnish population of Torne Valley stay in Sweden. Aaland Islands will also without a doubt stay Swedish. The question is the Swedish exclaves on the Finnish coast. I could see a compromise where they ended up province with a high degree of autonomy and Swedish as their official language. This would be less of a problem than in OTL, as Turku would be the Finnish capital, Helsinki would stay Swedish speaking, and the southern Swedish speaking area would not be cut in half. Vaasa would also be a Swedish speaking city also removing the problem there.
 

Devvy

Donor
Interesting.

*watches thread*

Looking forwards to more.
:D

My general thought is that a Finnish state without Russian conquest wouldn’t have Finnish Lapland. Beside that there’s also the question would Sweden create a Finnish “North Ireland” out of the Swedish exclaves on the coast?
I don't think Finland would stretch quite as far north as it does OTL; my main ideas were based on this map from 1796:

You can see that what appears to be Osterland/Finland stretching up quite a way; this is the latest map I can find, which roughly correlates with AE's map, with Finland constituting almost the same bar the northern Lapland . But I'd imagine Finnish groups demanding (Swedish) Finland to stretch as far north as they can get, as AE says.

Lapland was mostly settled by Swedes and Finns in the 19th century, Norwegians had a stronger presence earlier in Their Lapland, because of easier access, in a country where Finns, Swedes and Norwegian lives it will be settled by a mix of them and they will use Swedish as Lingua Franca. Sami and Finnish have to my understanding pretty much zero mutual intelligibility, there’s no Finnish-Sami unity. The Finns are more likely to make a claim on the West Bank of Torne River (Torne Valley) which is home to a old Finnish speaking population. But the Swedes are likely to go with a border in the north where both Lapland and North Bothnia end up on the Swedish side, even if it result in the Finnish population of Torne Valley stay in Sweden. Aaland Islands will also without a doubt stay Swedish. The question is the Swedish exclaves on the Finnish coast. I could see a compromise where they ended up province with a high degree of autonomy and Swedish as their official language. This would be less of a problem than in OTL, as Turku would be the Finnish capital, Helsinki would stay Swedish speaking, and the southern Swedish speaking area would not be cut in half. Vaasa would also be a Swedish speaking city also removing the problem there.
Duly noted your points! :)
 
Interesting thread.

What's the role of *Russia in all this? What is there east of Finland, and what kinds of relations do the Russians and the Nordics have here? I think this would be relevant for any potential Finnish bid for independence. One might assume that at least the Finns are not mortally afraid of the Russians, as if they were they would not be leaving the Swedish/Nordic umbrella and risk Russian domination instead.

A connected matter is the location of the Finnish eastern border. How east does it run? Is Viipuri for example a part of this Finland? The extent of Eastern Finnish/Karelian areas and population that is included does have an effect on the internal character of this Finland, in terms of an east-west balance and comparative demographics (also in terms of the language relations).

The question is the Swedish exclaves on the Finnish coast. I could see a compromise where they ended up province with a high degree of autonomy and Swedish as their official language. This would be less of a problem than in OTL, as Turku would be the Finnish capital, Helsinki would stay Swedish speaking, and the southern Swedish speaking area would not be cut in half. Vaasa would also be a Swedish speaking city also removing the problem there.
Well, how much do the Swedish want to antagonize the Finns here? I'd say that most provinces in *Finland here would be bilingual, so most likely the Finns would want most of them to have two official languages. Åbo/Turku and surroundings would definitely be strongly bilingual (also due to the economic pull of what would be the Finnish capital here), even if the Ostrobothnian and Nyland/Uusimaa coastal areas would have a dominant Swedish-speaking majority.
 
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17th August

Devvy

Donor
Nordic Broadcasting Corporation
17th August: The Currency Question

We all know that the Finnish Premier's plan for independence is to continue to use the Nordic Krona in the short term, before raising a new national currency (tentatively named "SuomiKrun" by one economist). This would, as the Premier put it, allow "real economic control of our sovereign nation, rather then being beholden to Swedish economic interests". She argues that usage of the Nordic Krona in the short term is no problem, as it's already a shared currency in use in Finland and the Nordic government in Stockholm will be eager to conclude an economic agreement to settle the national debt and financial interests. However, a minority of the Finnic National Party are advocating for a new currency immediately, contemplating that if Finland continues to use the Nordic Krona, all it's debts are denominated in the currency, and Finland has no ability to influence financial policy, is it really independent?

Is it realistic to launch a new Finnish currency immediately?

The Finnish Premier rules it out. "Such an action, whilst desirable in the long term, should not be rushed - although we would retain the ability to do so if Finnish pragmatism is met with Swedish intransigence." Ministers in Stockholm also acknowledge they can do nothing to stop Finland continuing to use the Krona unofficially, but there are clear risks with that strategy. The government of an independent Finland, would be assumed to accept some share of the Nordic debt roughly equal to its share of the population as a price of sovereignty according to several senior economists. This is all in addition to it's existing debts, under which the Finnish Government has invested heavily in social services in rural areas, attempting to turn around the fates of several deprived areas of the nation.

When that existing Finnish debt is added, it would produce a significantly high proportion of the Finnish GDP—all denominated in a currency it did not control. By not adopting its own currency, an independent Finland would be depriving itself of a true central bank and lender of last resort. If the federal government were to find itself unable to borrow, the Nordic Central Bank could step in to buy its debt. The Nordic Central Bank would be under no such obligation to do the same for the government of an independent Finland. Not only would Finland have high debt levels, it would face higher borrowing costs as investors demand higher returns to compensate for the risk of default from the new nation.

Opinion polls suggest most Finns, whether for or against independence, that retained usage of the Nordic Krona would be the best way forward at least in the short term, although far fewer believe that's the most likely course of action. The skew is far more linguistically bordered; Finns are more believing that the Krona will continue in the nation, whereas Swedes are far less sure, reluctant to see any future that splits them from their spiritual, if not geographic home. A small minority have been moving savings accounts out of Finnish banks in to banks headquartered across the Gulf in Sweden, seeing no reason to take any risk with personal assets. The Bank of Vasa, the bank historically favoured by Swedes in Finland, has moved it's registered financial location to Umea in a coup for that city, despite it's administrative headquarters remain primarily located in Vasa. The move was denounced by Finnic nationalist circles; "Nothing but political games to do anything and swing opinion by intimidation. Project Fear at it's finest, but it won't work forever."

The opposing unionist camps, continue to insist that the only way to keep Finland economically solvent is to stay part of the successful Nordic political union and vote no in the referendum. "Finland is already a net beneficiary of transfer payments from other Nordic areas, which helps fund our way of life. The nationalists still haven't set out how they intend to cover the loss of this income and protect our vital public services."

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The Nordic Krona is managed and administered by the Nordic Central Bank ("Nordiska Riksbank"), which itself, since 1983, also operates under three names: "Norges Bank", "Sveriges Bank", and "Suomen Pankki" for each of the three major territories it acts as the central bank for. Unusually, it issues currency under all four names, rather than it's own official name, a result of the balancing act within the Nordic realm, although all three sets of currency are one fully unified "Nordic Krona" rather then separate ones, and are therefore fully interchangeable. Coinage is issued under the name of the Nordic Central Bank, and is the same across the realm, whilst banknotes are issued under the three territorial names for Norway, Sweden and Finland.

The obverse of all coins and notes feature the King, Carl XIV, as the head of state and in whose name the currency is issued, as well as the Tre Konor Coat of Arms on bank notes (formerly indicating Sweden, Norway & Denmark, but nowadays usually considered to refer to Sweden, Norway & Finland). On the reverse side, a number of different designs are shown, depending on the denomination and which trading name the currency is issued under:
Current reverse side of coinage
1Kr: Tre Kronor
2Kr: Norwegian Coat of Arms
5kr: Finnish Coat of Arms
10Kr: Swedish Coat of Arms
25Kr: Three-way hand holding (after public design competition during introduction of the coin)

Current reverse side of banknotes:
Norges Bank:
50Kr: Mother Norway
100Kr: Charles August, former Governor-General of Norway, who ensured the survival of the distinct Norwegian legal system.
250Kr: Gokstad Ship
500Kr: Storting Building

Sveriges Bank:
50Kr: Mother Svea
100Kr: Dag Hammarskjold, former Nordic Prime Minister, in recognition of his efforts to introduce better devolution to the Nordic realm and stabilise the political system.
250Kr: Vasa Ship
500Kr: Riksdag House

Suomen Pankki:
50Kr: Finnish Maiden
100Kr: Johan Snellman, Finnish politician, in recognition of pursuing and achieving Finnish Home Rule.
250Kr: Sveaborg / Suomenlinna
500Kr: Diet Building

Update: An earlier version of this article erroneously referred to “Norden Bank” instead of the Nordiska Riksbank. It has since corrected.
 
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Devvy

Donor
Interesting thread.

What's the role of *Russia in all this? What is there east of Finland, and what kinds of relations do the Russians and the Nordics have here? I think this would be relevant for any potential Finnish bid for independence. One might assume that at least the Finns are not mortally afraid of the Russians, as if they were they would not be leaving the Swedish/Nordic umbrella and risk Russian domination instead.

A connected matter is the location of the Finnish eastern border. How east does it run? Is Viipuri for example a part of this Finland? The extent of Eastern Finnish/Karelian areas and population that is included does have an effect on the internal character of this Finland, in terms of an east-west balance and comparative demographics (also in terms of the language relations).

Well, how much do the Swedish want to antagonize the Finns here? I'd say that most provinces in *Finland here would be bilingual, so most likely the Finns would want most of them to have two official languages. Åbo/Turku and surroundings would definitely be strongly bilingual (also due to the economic pull of what would be the Finnish capital here), even if the Ostrobothnian and Nyland/Uusimaa coastal areas would have a dominant Swedish-speaking majority.
Whilst I'm not of the opinion that Russia was destined to turn Soviet, I like keeping the story fairly recognisable, so the Soviet Union has existed, but has now in some form turned democratic or at least more liberal - otherwise there's no way Finland would even bother with a referendum with a clearly hostile country next door. Karelia is still mostly lying within Russian borders though; whether an independent Finland makes economic domination by Russia more likely, or whether it's a chance for closer friendly relations with Karelia and thus Russia depends on your point of view.

Given the heavy UK support Sweden got during the Napoelonic Wars (which I'll cover at some point; the "weekends" will be a series of historical looks at how the "country came to be"), it's safe to say the overall Nordic country is largely west focussed, with close relations with the UK at the very least and rather wary of Russia.

I've definitely not going it all written out yet, but the benefit for me doing it this way of topic by topic is a chance to world build as we go.
 
@Devvy do you speak a Scandinavian language? Because Norden Bank just sound wrong in my Danish ears (as it doesn’t make grammatical sense), it may sound better to Swedish or Norwegian speakers, but I doubt it. Nordic is translated Nordiska(Sv)/Nordiske(No/DK), Norden simply translate into English as “the North”.

But I would also suggest Unionsbanken (Bank of the Union) or Nordiska Riksbank (Sv) (Nordic Central Bank) would make more sense as a name.
 
Well, how much do the Swedish want to antagonize the Finns here? I'd say that most provinces in *Finland here would be bilingual, so most likely the Finns would want most of them to have two official languages. Åbo/Turku and surroundings would definitely be strongly bilingual (also due to the economic pull of what would be the Finnish capital here), even if the Ostrobothnian and Nyland/Uusimaa coastal areas would have a dominant Swedish-speaking majority.
You’re right, even if the population in those provinces are overwhelming Swedish speaking and very few 1st language Swedish speakers speak Finnish (and all Finnish speaker here speak significant better Swedish than in modern Finland), it makes sense to accept bilingualism in the Swedish speaking areas, against Finland as a whole being bilingual.
 

Devvy

Donor
I semi speak Icelandic (technically not Scandinavian I know!), so I’ll take any corrections on the name! Thank you!
 
18th August

Devvy

Donor
Nordic Broadcasting Corporation
18th August: The View from Norway

With only weeks left until Finland votes on it's future, the referendum is quickly becoming topical across the Nordic realm. So what do people in Norway, the first devolved nation, think of it? Norway, minus it's dependencies in the Faroe Islands, Iceland and Greenland, was the last major addition to the then Swedish, now Nordic, realm. The nation brought with it the push for decentralisation, eventually resulting in the Nordic Compact which allowed significant devolution to Norway, later to Finland, Aland, and the other islands.

Several points quickly arise from any conversation with Norwegians. The first is that they really don't want the Finns to leave, and this has been remarkably consistent and high across several polls. There is a consistent belief that the Finns, together with the Norwegians, help give a demographic and thus political balance to Parliament in Stockholm, and make it extremely difficult for solely Swedish interests to dominate. Any loss of the Finns from Parliament would skew political power heavily towards Sweden again; the populations of Norway and Finland (roughly 6 million each), only together, roughly equal Sweden (roughly 12 million). Norwegian and Finnish politicians, working together, were instrumental in the devolving of some powers on immigration over the last few years, and are at the centre of the debate over regional aviation subsidies; somewhat essential in Norway given the unfriendly terrain for surface transport. "Don't leave us with Sweden!" goes the shout from Kristiania.

The subsequent points are in relation to any Finnish independence vote. They are far more willing for a soft "Finnexit", and to be accommodating to any independent Finland - likely to prepare any way for Norwegian independence if so wanted later in life. They want to see Finland allowed to officially continue using the Nordic Krona, continuing the "most open trade relationship possible", and guaranteeing citizen rights due to the close and complex personal relationships across the Gulf of Bothnia. They would also support Finnish accession to European institutions if they so wished, whereas Swedish interests seem to be the almost exact opposite, likely in a bid to dent any further referendums elsewhere. Even so, Finland would be a small country, surrounded by large ones, within European instutitutions; the debate rumbles on whether Finland's interests are easier to gain by directing the larger Nordic influence, or having a distinctly Finnish voice within the chamber.

What of Norwegian independence then? Finnish independence will likely directly change little for Norway; it's position within the Nordic realm is reasonably assured, and it has a comfortable devolved administration looking to maintain Norway within the Nordics. Most Norwegians see little changing in that regard, although as previously mentioned Norwegian soft power within the Nordic Parliament would likely be reduced with any Finnish withdrawal. Any intention for Norwegian independence is hard to find though; most are pragmatic about the challenges. Whilst Finland might be largely across the Gulf and geographically closer to Russia then Norway, Norway shares a 1600km long border with Sweden. With the first rule of nation building being to protect your borders, it would seem to be an almost herculean or impossible task to seek complete independence post-1800 and the rise of international commerce. The Norwegian economy is highly integrated with Sweden, with huge numbers of corporations trading freely across the border and distribution networks criss-crossing it multiple times.

Norwegians are often hidden within the Swedish crowd due to the largely shared language, culture and history; there is a Finnish joke "A) What's the difference between a Swede and a Norwegian? B) I don't know, what is the difference? A) Neither do I!". However, Norwegians are notably visible at the highest political levels of Nordic society and political circles. The Chief of the Navy is usually Norwegian; a remnant of the far higher reliance on a Navy for defence Norway had over Sweden, and it's far larger merchant navy trading across the seas. It's legal system, separate from Sweden, allows the country a unique twist on personal laws not available to Finland. Norway retains a level of cultural and legal independence, whilst sitting in a very successful economic union with Sweden (and Finland). Finland may have it's own cultural, legal and linguistic institutions, but whether it's economy can be severed from the Nordic realm without damaging itself remains to be seen.

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Devvy - does the Finnish premier happen to have a fish-related surname, by any chance? :p
Maybe, haha. For people who are currently alive, I tend not to write their names down in TL stories, so it absolutely can't show up in google results or otherwise interfere with the real person. Unlikely I know, but that's why I usually refer to people by their position (ie. the Finnish Premier) rather then their name, the only exception usually being for the monarchs, as technically they "are" the state usually.

Also I'm terrible at coming up with names of fictional people.
 
19th August

Devvy

Donor
Nordic Broadcasting Corporation
19th August: Finnish Farmers split on independence question

Disagreements within the Finnish farming unions have stopped all from establishing a union position on the independence question, with all now taking all a neutral stance within the debate. Former figureheads within the groups have been spotted on both sides of the debate, with marginally more within nationalist circles.

The agricultural regions of Finland are hardened Finnic areas; the Finnish language is in full flow as opposed to the coastal areas which tend to be more bilingual - or outright Swedish speaking in some cities. There is a long history of ignoring the Swedish administration here and just getting on with the job at hand - perfect attributes for farming in the cold climates, and served them well during the decades where Finland effectively fed itself. This was before the times of widespread commerce, back when taking crops or cattle to market took time. The smaller nature of farms in Finland, meant that many supplemented their income - and still do - with small scale forestry. More stability and peace in Europe during the mid-19th century caused more imports, particularly of grain, which forced farms to agglomerate to become more efficient, modernise, and diversify. Rising demands for dairy and meat products firstly in more affluent Sweden, then Norway and Finland economically pushed farmers towards more cattle farming, with cheap grain imports assisting cattle feed during winter along with domestic hay. These conditions set the scene for modern day Finland, oft called "The coldest farm in the Nordics", although large areas of Sweden are also involved in agriculture.

All this combines to give an area which heavily backs the Finnic Nationals, but the sparse populations moderate that in opposition to the urban areas which are more populated, but more split minded on the question at hand. Many farmers here would vote for independence, believing that a fresh start would allow them to better back Finnish farming, export more produce to markets in Russia, and export more globally instead of just to the Nordics and some European markets. A smaller, but equally vocal group oppose them; they believe that the more agriculturally productive regions of the world such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and especially the United States would destroy Finnish agriculture on the free market, as opposed to the semi-protected Nordic market. The Nordic market, with a unified currency gives a level of efficiency in getting goods to the end customer, and being a vocal part of an affluent country means a level of subsidy which Finland would find it hard to match itself.

Debates are therefore lively, and sometimes animated particularly after dark in these areas of the country when it's time to sit back in front of the fire with a spirit. The question of exports to Sweden & Norway in case of independence is laughed off by many; "We are the breadbasket of Sweden (*1) - there's no way they will cut themselves off from our produce by trade walls or currency ploys." This attitude has many backers even amongst the unionists, who see the Nordic market as continuing to be an important export destination for Finns, even if would shrink over time. "A definite risk, however, and a needless one, especially when Stockholm farming subsidies will disappear" is the resulting corresponding answer. While European markets would undoubtedly continue to buy Finnish produce, the logistics of getting produce to the mainland European countries, places Finland at a disadvantage compared to the mainland European farmers, and the more limited "farming friendly" seasons place additional restrictions on the levels of efficiency attainable.

Russia however, unionists admit, is a prime candidate for additional exports; the country is poorer but becoming more affluent, and is eager to diversify it's import programmes. The Nordics has long been overly friendly to Russia, and Soviet Union before, conscious that the best defence of Finland is to not have to fight for it if possible. Such a policy has led to a moderate amount of trade between the Nordics and Russia - although never to the detriment of it's European trade programme. Westwards however, Russia remains at loggerheads with the major European and American powers over many foreign policy items, a point which had soured trade between them and brought the Nordics in to focus as an alternative import source - a delicate balancing act for Stockholm. Ministerial sources have oft quoted what would seem to be the motto of Nordic foreign policy "Keep the bear well fed, the bulldog interested and the reindeer inside!"

The 2-3% of Finns employed in agricultural jobs stand to directly profit or lose from the question, a significant gamble to make. Many, on either side of the independence question, would agree that the currency, subsidies and economic situation need urgently clarifying before the referendum, in little over 5 weeks, so people know what they are voting for, or voting against in the ballot box. The polls are beginning to narrow, from earlier 60% "Union" to 40% "Independence", with some now reporting only 55% in favour of continued union with the Nordic Realm.

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(*1) I doubt Finland would ever become a breadbasket, but it's farming contribution to the Nordics shouldn't be understated. Swagger and confidence from nationalist optimists. However, having not had an autonomous (GD of Finland) and then independent nation, there's been less state driven industrialisation and investment in the "outer areas" of Sweden/Nordics.
 
A important aspect in all this would be the North Sea oil, in Scotland in OTL, the oil have been a major factor in pushing Scottish independence, as it would ensure that the Scottish economy would be economic viable and it also created a hostility toward London that the Scots felt that Scottish oil was extracted and primarily used to enrich London.

Here the oil is Norwegian, so Finnish independence will mean that they lose access to the oil money.

As for industrialization in Finland, I suspect it will mostly look somewhat similar to southern Sweden. Mostly a bottom up industrialization with the inland area with the early industries being timber and dairy related. Fundamental Finland will be dominated by light industries and small to medium sized companies with a few large scale companies (think of them as the Finnish IKEA and Scania). But Turku will likely also be much more major industrial city than even OTL Helsinki as it de facto function as a industrial suburb of Stockholm (which likely will be a much bigger city in TTL).

Fundamental economical the Nordic Compact will be pretty much have been a bigger version of OTL Sweden until the late 70ties with Finland being primarily another southern Sweden and Norway primarily a source of labour for the Swedish industries. By the late 70ties the Nordic Compact begins to extract North Sea oil and Norway increase in economic Importance, but it also transform the entire Nordic Compact’s economy. It enable Stockholm to be international player and make a lot of new investments.

Population wise I like that you make a 20% increase in population, I think that’s very realistic. But I would make some minor changes. Stockholm is likely to be a much bigger city. So I would give Sweden proper a 30-40% increase in population instead with Stockholm alone having 4 million inhabitants.
 

Devvy

Donor
A important aspect in all this would be the North Sea oil, in Scotland in OTL, the oil have been a major factor in pushing Scottish independence, as it would ensure that the Scottish economy would be economic viable and it also created a hostility toward London that the Scots felt that Scottish oil was extracted and primarily used to enrich London.

Here the oil is Norwegian, so Finnish independence will mean that they lose access to the oil money.
Yep - that'll be a major source of the transfer payments that have paid for Finnish investment in social services and other funding.

As for industrialization in Finland, I suspect it will mostly look somewhat similar to southern Sweden. Mostly a bottom up industrialization with the inland area with the early industries being timber and dairy related. Fundamental Finland will be dominated by light industries and small to medium sized companies with a few large scale companies (think of them as the Finnish IKEA and Scania). But Turku will likely also be much more major industrial city than even OTL Helsinki as it de facto function as a industrial suburb of Stockholm (which likely will be a much bigger city in TTL).
Again, completely agree. Finland will be tilted demographically more to the west - closer to Turku then Helsinki. Light industry; particularly those centred around forestry/wood/paper are going to be widespread. Population wise, Turku will be substantially bigger - it's the capital of Finland, closest to Stockholm. I can see plenty of potential similarities with Edinburgh; unionist city in a somewhat separatist nation, high levels of migration from England/Sweden, so mix of language/accents, affluent, highly educated and the cultural centre. But step away from it and the scenery quickly changes.

Fundamental economical the Nordic Compact will be pretty much have been a bigger version of OTL Sweden until the late 70ties with Finland being primarily another southern Sweden and Norway primarily a source of labour for the Swedish industries. By the late 70ties the Nordic Compact begins to extract North Sea oil and Norway increase in economic Importance, but it also transform the entire Nordic Compact’s economy. It enable Stockholm to be international player and make a lot of new investments.

Population wise I like that you make a 20% increase in population, I think that’s very realistic. But I would make some minor changes. Stockholm is likely to be a much bigger city. So I would give Sweden proper a 30-40% increase in population instead with Stockholm alone having 4 million inhabitants.
Finland especially, figured no Civil War, no Winter War, no Continuation War, so quite a bit higher population, although many will trek off to Sweden in search of jobs and money before returning to Finland when the family starts expanding. Very similar to the role London plays in the UK. Stockholm will be substantially larger, my guess was on 40%-50%, and will make Stockholm an important regional player, with some parts having a global reach. Having a large Soviet Union next door, even in Swedish eyes, is going to moderate foreign policy, and force the Nordics in to a more neutral stance, similar to OTL.

What's the rest of Europe like ITTL? Is there any kind of EU equivalent?
My gentle opinion at the moment (not fully fleshed out) is that there is a European bloc, at least trading, but there are fewer larger states in Europe which has meant most smaller nations are a bit more wary of going their own way (ie. Finland in the Nordics) - can they compete with the rest of the big guns in Europe. Germany is obviously the big unknown; I've not really firmly tied that down. Trying to stick on the narrow Nordic topics to make sure we actually reach the end of the referendum story rather then spinning out and not getting there!

The Soviet Union existed?

Hmmm

Wouldn't changing Russian history...
To continue from above; Imperial Russia hasn't conquered Finland during a Finnish War. And the later Sweden-Finland-Norway country is much better geared to defend Finland, particularly if they play nice and don't make any comments or interference with Soviet Naval operations out of St Petersburg. Given that Old Finland was never reunified by Russia with New Finland, the Finnish-Russian border is further away from St Petersburg as well, and Vyborg/Viipuri is never Finnish at all since early 18th century.
 
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