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The Soviet Union ostensibly sought to claim parts of Finnish territory, demanding—amongst other concessions—that Finland cede substantial border territories in exchange for land elsewhere, claiming security reasons, primarily the protection of Leningrad, 32 km (20 mi) from the Finnish border. Many sources conclude that the Soviet Union had intended to conquer all of Finland, and use the establishment of the puppet Finnish Communist government and the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact's secret protocols as proof of this, The Soviets possessed more than three times as many soldiers as Finland, thirty times as many aircraft, and a hundred times as many tanks.The Red Army, however, had been crippled by Joseph Stalin's Great Purge of 1936–1938.Thus, the Soviet Russia (later USSR) recognized the new Finnish government just three weeks after the declaration.

Finland retained its sovereignty and enhanced its international reputation.

On 14 October 1920, Finland and Soviet Russia signed the Treaty of Tartu, confirming the new Finnish–Soviet border as the old border between the autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland and Imperial Russia proper.

In addition, Finland received Petsamo, with its ice-free harbour on the Arctic Ocean.

However, after reorganization and adoption of different tactics, the renewed Soviet offensive overcame Finnish defences at the borders.

Hostilities ceased in March 1940 with the signing of the Moscow Peace Treaty.

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