Topics: Maps, culture, history, pictures, language, literature, listen to music, songs, products, human rights, WWII, Finnish web radio in Finland and Canada, news; Uralic City Center - where you can find books, CDs, Videos etc. and lots more on the way. Land aquisitions by Russia 1944-45.
The Uralic Family of languages is comprised of two branches: 1) Finno-Ugric, and 2) Samoyedic. The Baltic Finnish/Karelian and Estonian (Finnic), Hungarian (Ugric) and Saami ("saw-me") people belong to this distinct group of linguistically related people. Uralic people are by definition indigenous people of the northern regions between the Urals and Norway. Finns are not some people who just wandered into Finland a thousand years ago from somewhere around Mongolia, as some historians want us to believe. Of course there have been waves of migration from the South and East over millennia. Finns are just as indigenous as Saami ("Lapps"). Ancient Finno-Ugric people even hunted in Central Europe at least during periods of glaciation. If this is the case, assimilation of these northern tribes has been going on for over ten thousand years. The process has been so gradual that their language has been preserved though genetically Finns are to a great extent European. These are fundamentally shy people, who have started to break out. Eastern Finns, the Karelians, my ancestry, are more fun-loving in the sense that they are a little less inhibited socially. Many of their homes are in wilderness all the way east to Lake Onega and North to the White Sea. The people have borne the brunt of Russian attacks through the ages and have become very good woodsmen, especially highly skilled in hunting and fishing, and familiarity with the terrain. The Finno-Ugric language in Europe has died out thousands of years ago, and thus there are no pockets of the language south of Norway and Sweden. The evidence for their European domicile during the last glaciation comes from Mitochondrial DNA.
The Finns are indeed indigenous people not only of Northern Europe but vast areas from central Europe to the Ob river in the east. This is the story of a people who have adapted to a difficult life in the north, with periods of plenty punctuated by periods of famine and hardships. The result is a noble, gracious, tenacious people with a desire to be forever free, not bowing down to anyone and building a culture from a rich heritage of mythology, skilled craftsmanship, heroic actions against invaders - finally resulting in nationhood. Finns are stubbornly independent and cannot be subjugated. The Czars knew that and left them alone, not totally swallowing them into mother Russia when Sweden (1150-1809) lost control of Finland to Russian forces in 1809. They became a valued associate, called a Grand Duchy, rather than a slave.
Crazy ideas about the origin of Finns have existed for hundreds of years. Some believe that until a thousand years ago, Finland was occupied only by Saami and that Finns migrated from the east and settled there, even as late as the first millennium. This theory has been disproven and now we know that ancestors of Finns have been there and also over a large area much longer, as the agreement between DNA, archeology and linguistic theory has shown. Two Theories Their traditional lands include everything between Lake Onega and Norway. The Russian government begs to differ; they want their people to believe this all was old Russian lands, justifying their annexation. Two criminals, Hitler and Stalin started WWII, dividing Europe between themselves. Both were hoping to acquire long coveted lands for their own expansion. Both had visions of controlling the world: one with Communism, the other Fascism. Unfortunately, like common criminals, one turned on the other, and the rest is history. After the war, Stalin got to share in dividing Europe, and Karelia became a victim, as did Poland and the Baltic States along with all of Eastern Europe. United States and Britain turned over to Stalin's executioners all Soviet citizens residing in the west, who had hoped to escape that beast. Finland too was obliged to turn over its Soviet prisoners. All people turned over to Stalin after the war had the same fate: execution or prison camps in Siberia, which amounted to the same thing.
My parents had to leave Viipuri on November 30, 1939 like over 500,000 other Karelians in the path of the advancing Russians. My 17 year old mother was fortunate in catching a train out of the city with her family, transferring to a narrow gauge railway and finally arriving in Lahti. My father was still single and had joined the army in June of that year and fought in the Winter War.
At this time Russia was a Fascist country, since they started the war with Germany. Finland had made peace with Russia in 1940 after destroying much of the Russian army but in the end losing Karelia. When Germany attacked Russia, and Finland was forced to fight again, now the Russians called Finland Fascist, and justified annexation as liberation from Fascism. Image that, when they were allied with Germany they weren't Fascist but now Finland was Fascist for ending up fighting a common enemy. Finland never was a Fascist nation, though it did cooperate with Hitler in fighting Russia, to try and take back Karelia. Finland did take it back until 1944 when Russia took it back again with all the American and Canadian weapons that were bought on credit, but never repaid. My father Antti found Heinz ketchup and other American food in the Russians backpacks.
Russian people took over most of the eastern province of Karelia in 1944, thanks to Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin, who divided Europe amongst themselves, forgetting all about why they joined the war in the first place: to guarantee the sovereignty of Poland, which along with the Baltic States were abandoned. The cost of beating Hitler was much of Eastern Europe to the Third Agressor of WWII. Britain declared war on Germany, although the Soviets were also in on the attack on Poland from the east; we must remember this because Stalin was to get away with "murder" throughout the war, then demanded land for taking the brunt of Hitler's army. They quickly forgot all about these other countries when Stalin joined forces to beat Hitler, allowing Stalin a free hand with his neighbors. America and Britain, however, did not annex anything like the Soviets. Of course they must return these lands to their owners if they are to comply with agreements that were signed, such as the Atlantic Charter, we know that, but they don't want to know. Many Finns today believe that Karelia, the 1/10 of Finland that was annexed, must be returned, but how to achieve that has been problematic, and most politicians, except for a few descendants of Karelians, rather stay away from the subject. While they want Karelia returned, Finns want to be in good terms with Russians, showing that they are extremely patient. Today Russians are doing everything they can to justify their claim of "liberating" Karelia from "Fascism" including fabricating information.
It has been suggested that Finns deserve what they got for cooperating with Hitler. While Finns cooperated with Hitler for a time, so did Stalin - which cancels out this argument. While Finns did it out of selfish reasons, to save their country, so did the Russians, to try and divide Europe with Hitler, a task in which they succeeded. However, the deception of the "Fascist" Finns is still alive and well. The Finns are in origin Finno-Ugric, not Germanic, so they cannot join in Hitler's plan for racial purity, nor do they have any interest in killing Jews or anyone else including Russians for Hitler's conquest. To be a Fascist country, Finland would need a dictator and of course there was none, because Finland was a free democratic country wishing only to protect itself from the neighbor, who had expansionist ambitions.
Still today, the Soviet view permeates the world's history books about how Finland joined Hitler and how bad Finland was in resisting Stalin's expansion into Finland. This is absurd. Every Finn knows that Finland was succeeding in defending itself and this made the allies angry not because it was right or wrong, but because Stalin was their ally, which clouded their vision. The new residents of Karelia, Great Russians, have regular meetings to celebrate the theft (liberation) of Karelia from the "Fascist" Finns. The propaganda of the Soviet era is alive and well in Russia in the second millennium. This celebration of victory is done with the theme "the Fascist Finns must pay." That is the only justification for annexing Karelia the Russians can come up with. The guilt by association does not work in this case, as the Finns were attacked first and only wanted back what is theirs. Apparently Churchill did not like that and demanded Finland cease fighting in 1944. Finland did not capitulate but signed a treaty to end the war anyway, as Stalin was in a hurry to get to Berlin ahead of Americans.
Finns are indigenous to Finland - it is their country that they have defended for over a thousand years. The term "indigenous" has come to mean a minority group within a larger group, but this may not be accurate in some cases. If that group should grow in numbers (due to agriculture for example) compared to another group, or mixing with Swedes, could it cease to be "indigenous", like the Finns for example? Some people believe that because they aren't living in tents. Who should we include as indigenous, and should we redefine the term? Is the term politicized to exclude certain groups because of statistical numbers, skin color or culture? Here is one definition of the term: "Indigenous peoples are people, communities, and nations who claim a historical continuity and cultural affinity with societies endemic to their original territories that developed prior to exposure to the larger connected civilization associated with Western culture." This definition is in relation to "Western Culture." When some people claim that Finns are fairly recent settlers, (around 1000 ce) they mean that Finns are not indigenous. Obviously this definition does not fit every situation either. If everyone came from somewhere at some time, when do we call someone "indigenous?" How long must they reside in the area? The Jews immigrated to Canaan "Israel" at the time of Abraham, around 2000 BC. It was given to Abraham and his tribe by God at that time. It was not given to his half brother, Ishmael, who was banished into the desert, and became associated with Arab nations. Israel was the little corner of the globe that belonged to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This included Jerusalem. Arabs beg to differ, but on what basis? We ask these questions to start the process of considering the subject of who is entitled morally to occupy and benefit from any piece of land on the earth. Should the basis for land ownership be based on ancestral, indigenous rights? Does anyone have the right to take it away and must it be returned? If Israel has to give up land, so does Russia?
Based on these facts, are Jews indigenous to Israel? Which group has rightful claim to Israel because they are indigenous? Are Arabs entitled to claim all the land in the area, and if so on what grounds? These are questions that need to be answered if the issue of land entitlement is to be solved. Americans, Canadians, Australians and Russians will have a hard time defending any position regarding who owns "stolen" land; they walked into other people's land and killed as many as they could, at took the land. If the Jews and Arabs are joined together by a mutual ancestor, why do they fight each other for land? What has this got to do with Finns? Finns have been fighting over land that belongs to them as well, and we believe we are entitled to all of Karelia, St. Petersburg area all the way to Lake Onega. That is our ancestral land. Finns will never stop trying to get it back one way or another. Perhaps this government doesn't want to touch the subject, but one day these liberal rulers will be history and another more patriotic leader will emerge and the subject will be reborn as it was in 1941. Patriotic Finnish rulers have become extinct, but we are still hoping. Independence is no longer a priority. We are hoping that if it is right for Palestinians to get "their" land back so they can work toward destroying Israel properly, then why not the Karelians who had their land taken twice: 1939 and 1944? This includes the Poles, Japanese, and anyone else that lost land to the Soviets by 1945.
Although Saami consider themselves distinct from the majority culture, in fact the Finns and Saami have coexisted in and around present Finland since the last glaciation, although agriculture and the resulting fences have pushed Saami ever further north. Of course the majority Finnish population has seen genetic drift from neighbors but so have the Saami. So, we can consider the Finnish majority as not only indigenous to Finland but to Europe as well. Like Finns, the Saami are indigenous to large territories of Northern Europe and today's Northwestern Russia, both having inhabited the area ever since the last ice age, ending approximately 11,000 years ago, but perhaps already long before that as well as recent archeology has shown.
The Canadian Indians are called "First Nations" so perhaps who got there first can claim the territory on historical grounds. Reclaiming it though can be difficult or impossible, but it can be done. Imagine if the UN approved the return of much of Russia to their former owners. The Eastern Slavs would have few places to go. We believe that some of the land taken and its resources should be restored to the owners so that these people (displaced Baltic Finns in Ingria, Karelia and Eastward to the bend in the Volga), can move forward in prosperity and culturally like the Slavic majority and perhaps even further. The only people that should be granted separate treatment within a nation are indigenous people, not Muslims or any other group as is being done today.
If Russia began a process of firstly listening to the grievances of these people, they would certainly receive a positive review from the international community. But what if the native Indians of North America were not the first to arrive? Could we still call them "First Nations?" It seems that Finns or someone closely related to them, may have arrived first. This confirms my own theory that Finns traveled in an East-West direction, following fish and game, during the last glaciation, even ending up in America. When the ancestors of present day Indians arrived in North America, these Europeans disappeared. Were they killed off, or absorbed, or a little of both? The native Americans are preventing proper analysis of archeology finds claiming all bones older than 5000 years as their dead ancestors. But the scientists protested that these skeletons were not their relatives.
The Russian government's position is that they are just as entitled to the land as the Finns, but actually they are squatters on Finnish land rather than the other way around. Russians claim the land on historical grounds, but their history goes back hundreds, while the Finno-Ugric history goes back thousands of years. That is why Russian historians don't want to recognize that Finns have lived in Finland and Karelia for thousands of years, preferring the theory that they arrived there at the same time as themselves, sometime around the 12th-13th Century. International precedents have been set, as in Canada, whereby it is acknowledged that indigenous people are entitled to their land and the resources on it, that they can develop and benefit from as they see fit. Russian governments in the past have simply raped the resources and left the people with nothing but a destroyed environment, while practicing genocide on the people. The goal was since around 1000 AD to reduce the indigenous population and increase the Russian, while confiscating their trading posts at various rivers throughout the North. In more recent times, in the last several hundred years, this was done by killing them or banishing the people to distant places and leaving them there to fend for themselves, sometimes in the middle of winter. Stalin practiced genocide on a grand scale, but also banishing people to distant camps only to die of hunger and over work.
Nuclear testing in northern Russia has spread radioactive debris all through the north, and much of it has reached Finland and the rest of Scandinavia as well. The result has been a lot of birth defects especially in the northern populations. Canadians (the author's present domicile) are beginning to become more civilized with respect to the native population, at least on paper, but the follow-through has been slow and often default has been the outcome. However, on APTN, the native TV channel in Canada, we can see that the people have made great strides in many areas including restoring their native languages. This must happen in Russia too to the Finno-Ugric languages.
It has been suggested that Finns are not European, but Asian. Anyone who watches hockey on TV will not agree. Finns have a distinct European, "Nordic" stamp, but with genetic links to the original people dating back to the Ice Ages. The writer's own theory of Finno-Ugric occupation of the North has solid research backing which opens the door to even greater possibilities in the quest for ancient origins of Finns. Certainly the Finnish population will have certain inclusions of Asian genetic influence - it would not be rational to conclude otherwise. The Huns occupied much of Europe at one time too, so Finland is not the only country to have eastern influence. However, to place the Finns as "Asians" or "Mongolians" (as some, such as H.G. Wells, like to do) has no basis in present scientific evidence. Mongolian influence, or genetic drift, has been active westward for millennia, all over Europe and Russia. H.G. Wells writes in his book "The Outline of History" that "To the Northwest the Finns, a Mongolian people, had long been established as far west as the Baltic." He probably never even met a Finn. This incorrect view has been propagated by earlier writers and repeated by many other historians. Some even placed the Finns incorrectly in the Ugric branch. There is no way that northern people of the world can not have any eastern elements, since genes flowed east and west along the ancient ice melt, but to say they are a "Mongolian people" is incorrect. New evidence under the North Sea
Certain physical and Mitochondrial characteristics attributed to Finns and Saami (formerly called Lapps) were probably already present in the aboriginal Europeans, which we now believe included the Finns and Saami. (Origins of Saami in left column)
Why did the prehistoric Finns have to travel, and how did they do it? The estimated resource area per person is between 0.1 - 0.5 sq. km. to survive in the north, and this meant travel in the vast Boreal Forests. Boat People Theory To traverse the huge numbers of lakes in the north during the long winters, early Finns invented ice skates. Later, when agriculture reached Finland, famines were fairly common as crops failed. The latest big one was in the latter half of the 17th Century, when Europe's weather took a deadly turn for the worse. In Finland, families even gave their children to the nomadic Saami to save them from starvation. Many ended up all the way up to the coast of Norway, as these nomads followed the migratory routes of their reindeer to the higher summer pastures in the mountains. Unlike the caribou of the Northwest Territories, that migrated from the treeline to the Barren Grounds in Canada, the migratory paths of these reindeer was east-west. The Saami were taxed by the Finns, but they also benefited from Finns. The Finns got furs and in return, the Saami got steel items that sometimes were traded all the way from the Middle East via the Volga River to Bjarmland.
There are many related groups in the former Soviet Union, most of which are quickly being assimilated into the dominant Russian language and culture. This has lately begun to be reversed, but it is a gigantic task. Just as the western Finns have had Germanic influence, the eastern Finnish cultures have developed with many Turkic/Indo-Iranian and Slavic cultural, religious and linguistic influences. The eastern Finnish languages cannot be understood by Finns today as contacts to the east have been more or less cut for eight hundred years of Russian history. At times, glaciers also separated the Eastern Finno-Ugric people from their relatives that once extended from the Netherlands to the shores of the Black Sea in the South. So of course Finns would have some "Eastern" genes since their hunting and trading range to the East may have reached Siberia.
Place-names which stretch all the way to the Ural mountains are ancient Finnish related in origin which can be seen in the map section. Many place names have similar prefixes although they might be several thousand kilometers apart. Finno-Ugric place names based on the root "sum" and "sam" testify to the large area Finns once called their land. "Suursuomi" movement or the idea of rebuilding a larger Finland that Slavs conquered, gained strength in 1941 when the Finns set out to take back land Russia annexed the year before. Stalin had grossly underestimated Finnish ingenuity, determination and stamina.
Many Finns and Estonians have a keen interest in their relatives to the east with whom many still feel some kinship ties. Recently, due to events in Russia against Finno-Ugric people by Moscow, there has been increased interest in this topic from many countries.
Finnish culture is very Scandinavian in style, but Finno-Ugric origins make the people distinct in many ways.
Who are the Uralic people? Where did they come from? Where do they live? What is their language and culture like? This web page explores these and many other questions relating to Uralic people: their past, present and future. We cannot do anything about the past, and the present is now, but we have the power to affect the future of the Finno-Ugric people, and the Finnish people are no exception.
Finland and the Finnish People
One cannot understand Finnish language, history and culture without some knowledge of related people. Finnish history and culture are presented against a background of the other Finno-Ugric people, the original Europeans(Fin.) Finnish written history is only from the second millennium, but fortunately the Finns have a strong oral tradition going back to the ice ages. Finns, and Karelian tribes in particular, had a strong oral tradition of rune singing their history of their ancient shamanistic beliefs, myth, magic, love and war. These traditions survived in Karelia probably because of the relative isolation from the early Finnish church. These stories were collected in the 19th Century and compiled into one story, composed of a masterful collection of epic poems that reveal the daily life of the people over millennia. Karelia, the land of the writer's ancestors, has a long history going back over eight thousand years. Today, Finns love their Kalevala which is read and enjoyed as a rich historical and mythological legacy of their ancestors. One reason for this is that Finns know that they have a glorious past that has been buried by official versions of history propagated during the time Finland was a part of Sweden and continued today in schools. The true oral tradition of the Finns survived in the backwoods of Karelia. We view the whole history of the Finnish people as open to revision by scientific multidisciplinary investigation.
As for the reliability of the information contained here, of course there may be some outdated material as some sources are very old. One of the greatest values in historical study is that the further back we look, the further forward we are able to see. The more cultures and religions we understand, the better we can manage our own cultures and religions, or what we believe to be true. Too little knowledge about important subjects is a dangerous thing, and here I try to open up your desire to know more about certain subjects that are timely and urgent so you can decide for yourself, while at the same time giving my own honest opinion. At the same time, we hope to discard some of the old assumptions we cling to passionately, which may be false.
The Finnish tribes ruled the North since the last Ice Age. A thousand years ago, Eastern Slavs began intercepting Karelian trade with the Norwegians and Volga traders. The map section shows the areas they used in their wilderness trips. When the population exploding slavs came and took over the key trading posts to the East, they forced the inhabitants to move West. Timing is everything; the Slavs were two hundred years too late. By the time Slavs arrived, the Perm ivory trade was in decline as new sources became available in Africa. Trading posts in the Northwest Finno-Ugrian Nation that were established by Finns were reestablished by Russians (e.g. Ustjug). Most of them were taken from their original owners by force after they made several friendly visits. Finns joined the Swedish Army to prevent Russians from occupying all of Finnish lands. Though the Russian Chronicles state that they were fighting Swedes, the truth is that they were fighting Finns trying to keep what is theirs: their lands. You see Swedes never tried to turn Finns into Swedes, but Russians have been Russifying Finns from the time they entered their lands back in the 11th Century. It was providential that the Western Finns were "protected" by Sweden for 700 years, which gave this nation the opportunity to become what it is today rather than suffer genocide and absorption - which was the intention of mother Russia. Both Sweden and Russia fought for control of the land between Lake Onega and the Baltic, but the real owners of this land are Baltic Finns themselves, mainly Tavastians, Karelians (Eastern and Western), Veps, (Southeastern Karelians) and Ingrians who live between Estonia and Karelia.
Since the last war, misinformation flooded the world's knowledge base and many false teachings have been spread about the Finns, Karelians, their rightful heritage in the north. These must be set straight. Viipuri (Vyborg) for example, which is not far from St. Petersburg, on the Gulf of Finland, was established by Finns and built by Finns - not Russians. Russian pamphlets and a plaque on a wall near the Viipuri fortress state that the natural harbor city of Viipuri is an old Russian city (when Finland was for a time a Russian Grand Duchy with an autonomous government, and for a time long ago when Finnish Viipuri was part of the Novgorod trade group where Finnish goods were traded with the Slavs to the east, before Russia even existed). It was part of a trading block, similar to the German Hanseatic League and now it is "back with the rightful owners." Finland "belonged" to Sweden a lot longer than it did Russia, including Viipuri, in fact about 700 years. The fact is that Viipuri and indeed all of Karelia (to the shores of Onega), Ingria (the area where St. Petersburg is today) and Finland belong to the Finnish people. Finns were deported from these areas when the Russians moved west to the Baltic, especially during and after Peter the Great established St. Petersburg in 1703. After the WWII, Russia settled newly occupied areas of Karelia vacated by Finns, who were escaping Marxism and Stalin, with people from all over Russia. Gradually all buildings suffered neglect and Karelia began to look like rundown Russian town. A Finnish site has documented all the lies told to the Russian people about the Second World War. As always, the Finns are the "Fascist" aggressors.
Many countries have claims against Russia, land that has been taken when the opportunity presented during WWII. Who took the land? The Allies, specifically Russia. Karelia was taken by force in 1944 and it should be returned by the Allies (Britain, US, and Canada) since Russia could not have done it without American and Canadian material aid. When Russia blames Finland, it usually points to Finland's association with Germany and that Russia was fighting Fascism. However, if Russians are honest with themselves they will admit that they too were allied with Russia and they are the ones who started WWII with Germany. Having started WWII, Russia then blames Finland for attacking first. How absurd can you get.
Karelia falls into Russian hands at the end of WWII
The history of Finns in Karelia goes back to the ice age, when Slavs were still down in the warm south. I believe that this land was given to the Finns and they should have control over it. The Slavs are occupying it at the moment, but who knows what the future will bring. The writer's father always believed that he would have his home back, which was taken by Russians in 1944, along with the demand for over $500 Million dollars worth of war indemnity. The Russians undervalued everything so the number is much higher. To the Russian's surprise the Finns paid it off in a few years and became a manufacturing powerhouse. There was a clause that Russians would get more land if the Finns defaulted. Apparently they still had not learned their lesson: they weren't dealing with an ordinary people here. These were Finns.
Shouldn't everyone get their land back? Of course the Slavs would have nowhere to go then. We Finns did not sell our land, it was taken by force. As far as the owners are concerned, they still own it and it is under occupation, as is the land in United States by this definition. That land was taken, not once but twice between 1939 and 1944.
Is there a comparison between Finns and Jews? In some ways. The brilliant Israeli scientists made the desert bloom, and now the ones who sold them land want it back! Then, when attacked by neighbors, they expanded. Only Jews have to leave land they have purchased or settled because it is called "occupation." The area has been the home of Jews for thousands of years, and there is no reason to believe they do not belong there, like the Finns belong in their ancestral lands. Like the Israelis, the Finns almost always end up victorious against their main enemy through history - Russia. They are both blessed with knowledge of warfare tactics that offset the uneven numbers. Traditionally Russians just took and killed everyone or sent them off to Siberia as slaves - then Russifies the population. This is genocide. They also turned the Eastern Finns to the Orthodox Religion, to drive them away from their brothers and into the Russian fold. It seemed to work. Russians want desperately to join the world economic system, or they cannot move forward. First they should make good and give back the land, not just to the Finns but all the small defenseless countries they preyed upon especially at a time when everyone was in crisis. To justify these annexations, the Russians now resort to changing history, or omitting it altogether. Russia's land grabs. The Arabs never forgive the Israelis, and they never really move forward either. Finns know how to forgive the Russians, and therefore they have moved forward and became one of the most prosperous countries in the world. The Bible teaches forgiveness; the Koran teaches the opposite as we have seen with the various Muhammad artists and the resulting killings and riots. We have here two polar opposite philosophies trying to coexist. Then Russians must restore their integrity and trust, which takes a long time to establish. After that, they must prove themselves trustworthy.
You will also find famous Finnish products, CD's, Videos, books and other links provided for your convenience and enjoyment at the Uralic City Center. Check out Pirkko Kiansten's Internet radio show Saturday mornings 9:30 - 11:00 AM Pacific time. Uralica is happy to offer some of Pirkko's finest shows from archived files, over 50 hours to date. If you are interested in listening to Finnish/Karelian language radio stations around the world, you will find a link to some programs from Russian Karelia to the Pacific shores of Canada.
Listen to Finnish music now Finnish music has reached a peak in the last 50 years. The quality and quantity of music ranging from classical to chamber choir music has no rivals in the world today, even from larger countries. .If you are interested in war history, may I recommend Antti's exclusive WW2 Continuation War Photo Gallery. There are dozens of photos taken in 1941-42 on Lake Laatokka (Ladoga), scanned from our family album. Some of the material you will find very controversial, but I have stated everything truthfully to the best of my knowledge and experience. I hope you enjoy your stay and that you will come back often to see what's new. Please bookmark it now for future reference.
The Return of Karelia
Finland was attacked by Soviet Union, without cause November 30, 1939. Karelians are waiting for their land to be returned. A new book (2012) in Finland says that the Finns are in the process of bringing the question of Finland's guilt or innocence in the accusation that Finland is responsible for the war with Soviet Union, to the highest court in Finland, which still clings to the Soviet imposed line that the government was committing a crime in fighting the Soviets. What is meant by that is, that Finland should have just laid down their weapons and let the Soviets occupy Finland. This is absurd, but that is the logical scenario if Finland should do what those backing the Soviet view, says they should have. The men "responsible" were imprisoned: Risto Ryti and his ministers. Most Finns want this corrected, and the government is not willing to go there.
Karelia should never have been taken in the first place - it was Stalin's doing - and we know how bad he was to even his own people. The Americans and British caved in to Stalin's desires for expansion at the expense of Finland. There is quite a large organized movement in Finland to repatriate Karelia back to its rightful owners. The only thing that those in Russia who want to keep this booty have to defend their ill gotten gains is that they were "liberating" Karelia from "Fascists." Even a school boy knows that Hitler and Mussolini were Fascists, but not Finland. May I remind anyone who wants to take the Russian point of view, that Russia fought along side of Hitler, and together they started WWII. So, those Russians pointing at Finland, better point at themselves. Furthermore, Russia signed the (Atlantic Charter, 1942) which means they promised not to engage in land grabbing in exchange for foreign aid. Now that Karelia is occupied by Russia, Putin has embarked upon a restructuring of historical facts to consolidate these gains as legitimate.
In researching sources such as the Encyclopaedia Britannica be aware that it may contain Soviet era disinformation regarding areas they "liberated." The elite have always had their way, employing writers to write or invent history. They are very clever at it, and you can easily miss the lie or omission if you don't have enough background information to spot it. For example, when Finland was attacked by Russia, fancy weapons were scarce, so they invented the Molotov Cocktail, a solution of flammable liquid that destroyed tanks. Now they are claiming it was
Finland and The Finnish People
Finland (Suomi), a northern European country of 5.3 million people, is a land where peasants have always been free. Historically, Finns are stubbornly independent and hard-working.
Since 1155, Finland had been in the Swedish realm. Finland, became the borderline between the Orthodox east and Western Christianity. I'd like to put religion into perspective here. Most Finns are Lutheran Christians. Simply put, the Bible is the highest authority, and the worship of Mary, icons, saints and special intercession and interpretive powers for priests was discarded by Martin Luther, and rejected by Jesus. According to Him, the priest's duties were transferred to all people.
In 1808, Finland became a Russian autonomous Grand Duchy, a special status giving the Finns great control of their internal government. After the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, Finland became an independent republic with a social democratic government. The Finnish Independence Day is December 6.
At 337,000 sq. km. (130,128.01 sq. mi.), with 60,000 lakes, Finland is about the size of New England, New Jersey, and New York combined, or 4/10 the size of British Columbia, Canada. Finland's southern shores are at the approximate latitude of Yukon/Northwest Territories/British Columbia border. Finland can boast a little bit when confronted with one-up-manship of neighbors. Finland's education system is rated (2002, 2003) third best in the world, and in 2006 ranked the highest.
Finland's Education System Tops Rated number one in the world makes Finns among the smartest people in the earth, way ahead of the Swedes. Finland ranked number one on the UN's 2003 technology achievement index. Forbes, 2004 Freedom of Press: which country is tops? You guessed it. These values and identity that built and sustained Finland should be preserved.
Sixty Minutes TV show reported that Finns are the shyest people on earth. I know this to be accurate to some extent having been born there, but they are making good progress.
I took a trip to the country where I was born before going to University, as a sort of "Rite of Passage." There I met the Finns themselves, my people, who were not that shy once you got to know them. Shyness is a national character and does not necessarily mean they are depressed or antisocial. You must realize that Finns are originally a forest/river/lake people and as such are comfortable being alone in the vast wilderness of the north; living with crowds is alien to the Finnish spirit - the exception being (e.g. Tango) dance halls.
European Council on Refugees and Exiles (ECRE) is addressing the needs of people who were displaced in wartime. Central issue is the return of assets taken, especially real estate. Russians for some reason have always thought that Karelia was theirs, and Sweden had no rights there. How is it that they should have the right to take the land away from the Finns, then force the Finns to pay for their campaign of terror after they took Karelia, the best part of Finland along with a large lake Finland shared with Russia?
Did the Finnish tribes change the Russian place names to Finnish, or did the invading Russians change the Finnish names to Russian? Who named the geographical areas are the owners. Check the map section and see how far East from the present border the Finnish names for every stream, lake, and other topography, went. You see, the argument between the Finns and Russians was over land. The Swedes backed the Finns and the Russians tried divide and conquer to get the Eastern Finnic people to fight their relatives to the West.Their goal was to reach the Baltic, which was already occupied by Finns, Estonians, Livonians, Latvians and Lithuanians. The Swedes did not turn the Finns into Swedes over the 700 years they controlled the territory, but the Russians did everything they could to prevent the Eastern Karelians from joining their brothers to the West. Religion played a big role there. Russia's genocide and annexation continued up to 1944.
It will be interesting to see how willing Putin et al is in returning booty USSR took illegally. (Russia signed the Atlantic Charter meaning no country was to grab land) Since Karelia was a part of USSR which no longer exists, Russia has actually annexed Karelia after the fall of Communism. Karelia should have gone back to Finland at that time.
Finland (like many other European States, e.g. Poland and Baltic States) failed to obtain assistance from United States and Britain in the WWII. The "Third Aggressor of WWII" received assistance "to beat Hitler" but this aid was used to annex millions of square Kilometers of land to the Soviet Union.
It may sound silly but, nowadays Russia still actually claims that tiny Finland attacked the giant Soviet Union and that they were fighting Fascism. Even Churchill pointed to Finland's "Fascist" leanings, though all Finland wanted was Karelia back where it belongs. Perhaps by the same logic, England had Communist leanings since they were friends of Stalin. A mouse does not normally attack an elephant, but that Finnish mouse did roar when attacked. Finland was never, and never will be Fascist - it is against the Finnish nature which accepts everyone, while one of the main goals of Fascism is to cull away all undesirables of the face of the earth. Finland was, in fact, fighting its age-old war: trying to prevent Russians from annexing/occupying/absorbing, Russifying and finally enslaving the people.
From the Baltic to the Pacific, the land is claimed by "Russians" as theirs since time began, but in reality, they conquered the peaceful tribes and put them under their harsh yoke. Yet, they claim old Finnish cities such as Viipuri as "Old Russian" city they liberated from the Finnish thieves. Russian history books are great fiction, but when repeated in the West, their "history" becomes a serious thing the Finns have been trying to correct.
Accusing the other side of aggression is merely a normal war formality. The Finns did not have a death wish. The old sport of "the Russians crossing the Finnish Line" (where they often got Finnished) goes back hundreds of years, but Churchill and Roosevelt chose to ignore that fact in 1941-44, an about face from 1939, when Russia tried to annex little Finland. That the war was not just is refuted or accepted by Russian leadership depending on who is in power. The present administration claims Finland attacked, which was the Soviet position. Russia downplays the first 1939-40 Winter War (which is easily seen as Russian aggression) but emphasizes Finland's 1941 offensive to take back the lost territory with German aid. Hence Soviets claim that the land they took in 1944 was liberated from the fascists, (therefore morally right) though Finland is and has always been, a Social Democratic country - and fiercely independent. The counter culture of 1970's called stealing "liberating" - which is what the Russians still call it today. The indigity done not just to the Finns, but the other Baltic countries as well, by the Soviets - and picked up by and repeated by the Western press - is that anyone fighting with the Nazis against Soviets, were Nazis themselves. This lie cast a shadow over the Finns and helped the Soviets annex Karelia in front of the noses of Churchill and Roosevelt, and with their blessings. Both nations abstained from recognizing Finnish independence in 1918, and here they again approved Finland's reunion with Russia. They hoped that by giving Stalin what he wanted, he would cooperate with them later. But fighting with the Nazis, or being occupied by them was of little consequence, for the results would be the same: annexation, enslavement and forced deportation and/or death. The use of the word "Nazi" by the Russian people, even today often extends to anyone opposed to Russian influence. Russian propaganda only focuses on the millions of people the Nazis murdered, but seldom do they recall for the people the millions of people Stalin, one of their own, murdered.
The world has a right to be concerned today about the direction Russia is headed under Putin et al. The minute Putin became the leader of Russia, I warned that he is big trouble. I was right. Russia has become a corrupt tyranny of the majority, with much Nazi-like behavior like German brown shirts of the 30's, and even the news is under government control. Putin stages rallies to stay in power and in 2014 he made his move to rebuild the Soviet Union according to his evil, corrupt mind. Perhaps there is more Fascism and Communism still in the world than we would like to admit, both sides of the Atlantic. Which one is worse is anyone's guess as both want total control over the people's wishes. Putin is still in charge and he is corrupt, and now he wants to rebuild the Soviet Union beginning with Crimea and Ukraine.
Putin has also reinstated the alliance between the Russian Orthodox Church and Government - as in the days of the Czars. The Church supported Putin and in return, Putin agreed to begin persecution of all other religions, as in the old times. How can the Russian Orthodox Church be the true church if it is supporting persecution of other Christians? One religion, one party, what's next? The door has all but closed for evangelism, and gathering in homes to exercise religious liberty is now a crime. What makes the west so strong and free, is their willingness to accept various religious beliefs, allowing them to freely exercise worship. Alexandr Solzhnitsyn believed that the problems of the world were spiritual, not political. He believed that what Russia needed to do more than anything else was to repent for the suffering she had caused. In 1983, when he was awarded the prestigious Templeton Prize, in his acceptance speech, he said that if he had to sum up the World's problems in a few words he would say "Men have forgotten God."
Glasnost lifted restrictions in Russia for outside Christian ministries. Hannu Haukka (a family friend from Vancouver BC) meets a Finnish girl in Russian Karelia, marries her and they start the largest ministry ever in Russia. 1990 IRR/TV received 1,000,000 letters in response to Superbook a children's Bible cartoon series aired on Soviet State TV Channel One. The Moscow post office is swamped. Great Commission - Christian broadcasting to Russia, by Hannu Haukka CEO, from Vancouver BC.
Finnish Society underwent a profound transition in the last part of the second millennium, and continues in the new one. On the 1st of January 1995, Finland joined the European Union (EU, former EEC or EC), losing a lot of her autonomy in the process. Twenty years later, Finland had only 20% of her former self left, and if she stays, all Finnishness will be erased. Even the language has a distinct English accent especially in Helsinki. It sounds more and more like Finns in America who have been away for a long time. Serious questions have raised as to the value of belonging to a union that takes away everything and gives back nothing worth anything but trade and even that is too controlled. Discontent is rising in all the EU countries. Finland is participating in the Economic and Monetary Union (EMU); the currency (markka, abbr. mk or FIM) is now replaced by Euro (with a ratio of 5.94571 FIM = 1 euro). (There are so many songs in Finland with Markka in it. Will they have to change the words? "Ei ole mulla Euroja taskussa..." = I don't have any Markkas in my pocket..)
Finland supports Turkey's bid to join EU, and has not recognized the Armenian Genocide by Turkey. This is just political correctness played with over a million innocent Christians massacred by Turks. Turkey is outwardly a "democratic" free country but inwardly a repressive typical Islamic regime, though somewhat less than other countries in the region.
Turkey wants to project an image satisfactory to the people of EU, but it is (in the opinion of the writer) a dishonest image. Their Constitution guarantees "Freedom of Religion," but in practice it represses all religions but Islam. In 2012, reports by 700 Club have reported that Turkey has moved further towards Islamic Fundamentalism. Murders of Christians go unpunished and soon there will be no Christians in Turkey. Is this the country Europe wants to join? This criminal organization? The Ottomans destroyed Christianity in Turkey and now the administration is finishing the job.
Atom Egoyan's film Ararat is about the Armenian Genocide by Turkey. (see DVD in left column) In 2007, United States Senate has proclaimed the killing of at least one million Armenian Christians in Turkey as genocide, a charge they deny. Turkey was the country that was trying to take over Europe in the Middle Ages. Now are Europeans thinking of inviting them to take over? A Muslim country will never be a truly open, or free, society although each one claims to be just that. Turkey has one of the highest number of journalists in prison, surpassing China and Iran. (BBC 2011)
No country in EU represses religion, but this will change if Turkey joins. Christians who preach in Turkey are typically arrested and jailed for two years and released just before the trial. That's not all, Turkey is increasingly being ruled by the Muslim leaders, as in Iran and Iraq. Most Christians have left. How is this country able to fit into a European "free" society? It is impossible. It would be a disaster, with even more Muslims in Europe, adding to the present disasterous numbers. Former Finnish president Halonen would have welcomed Turkey into EU, despite gross human rights violations, showing that Liberal minded thinkers are willing to accept anything, even if it is not in the interest of the country. If you are a Christian living in Europe and you want to start a church in Turkey, you will be jailed. Nothing in Islam guarantees freedom of worship, in fact it encourages its members to wipe out any other religion. It is crazy thinking to adopt such a country, but crazy thinking regarding the Islamic threat has ruled in Finland since Kekkonen.
Which path has Finland chosen to set for itself? The new millennium has brought many potential traps to which unwary nations could easily become prey. By joining EU, it has set its path with the collective, which means much less control of ones own destiny. The folly of EU becomes the folly of Finland. The successes of EU become the successes of Finland, at least in theory. More and more countries are having second thoughts due to almost total control of internal affairs. Is this not what Finland has fought in three wars to avoid? And now it is a crime to criticize Islam. It appears Finland's cherished freedoms are being given away to foreign interests. Is this not breaking faith with the soldiers who died for Finland's freedom?
Many Finns are just beginning to find out exactly what it means to be in this union, and some are having second thoughts about losing their hard fought for and won, independence. Once again, Finland and the Finnish language is in a minority position in a larger union. The Finns are generally very enthusiastic about this relationship, but not all news is positive about the EU affects on the Finnish people, especially farmers. There is also a lesson from the past. In the late 1600's when Finnish troops were fighting Sweden's battles, far away from their land, Finland was attacked by Russians, which ended up being a massive setback for all Baltic Finns. Could this be repeated if war breaks out and Finnish troops have to go defend Central Europe, leaving Finland vulnerable?
The future of Finnish culture and language is daily becoming increasingly fragile. Not only is Finland engulfed in EU, a massive surrender of sovereignty, but the people embrace western culture to a great extent, and in their enthusiasm to do so, have suffered linguistic and cultural decrement recently to powerful, magnetic Americanism that is readily available through all media sources. There are many ways Finns could suffer greatly in this union and immigration is now the biggest one. Nothing against immigrants, but we must use our brains and see what has happened in other European countries and learn.
Finnish language is unique, musical and beautiful and should always be appreciated or it may, in the near future, be lost. The Finnish vocabulary, being agglutinative, is self-defining, and offers unlimited combinations to form meanings. "Keuhkoputkentulehdus" is formed from three words: keuhko, (lung) putki, (tube) and tulehdus (inflammation). The definition is contained in the word itself. English words, by contrast, can only achieve a few forms and meanings, and you have to remember the definition. But Finnish has already been radically adultrated by English words, and that's a "fakta" - and they listen to their favorite music "biisi" or piece. The Finnish "kappale" and "pala" no longer work to describe music.
The internet has brought the world closer together alright, The average Finn spends 3 hours per day watching television, and now there's the internet with Facebook and the rest of the social media. No wonder they are picking up these words so quickly. Listening to Finnish programs on TV or the Internet vividly shows the radical changes as every few words are English with a Finnish ending. I am used to that being an immigrant to Canada, but now it is happening in Finland. Not only that but the speech is sounding more flat, devoid of the colorful sounds and rhythm that are usually heard from various provinces. We who have immigrated many years ago still speak the same way we did when we got here, and Pirkko Kiansten's radio show from the University of Victoria is a perfect example. We have received comments about how beautiful here speech sounds compared to the degraded speech heard on the evening news in Finland. [Pirkko] Perhaps there are some changes to be made... The January 2003 programming for TV2: 9 American films, 4 Finnish films and 3 other. Finland faces West, even past its EU brothers.
Most Finns are Lutherans on paper, but not in practice. Finland has become secularized, a country of pagans with one foot in their traditional religion just to be safe. Maybe, they hope, God will be kind to them dispute their ignoring Him. This has happened pretty much at the same time as secularization in all Western countries. Only about three percent of Finns attend church regularly. You might say Finland is spiritually impoverished. As a result of this spiritual vacuum, Islam is beginning to make gains as it has in Sweden and the rest of Europe. This is a bad sign for the future in my opinion, as Islam in a country is worse than not having any beliefs, as it is a totalitarian ideology that is seeking world domination at the moment.
Finland: A Rising Nationality, by Peter Kropotkin - 1885 observations about Finland and Finnish people. "Never having been a personal serf, he is not servile; he always maintains his personal dignity and speaks with the same grave intonation and self-respect to a Russian Tsar as to his neighbour. A lymphatic temperament, slowness of movement and of thought, and sullen indifference have often been imputed to him.
Finland has not scrapped its fleet of steam locomotives. There are 140 of them all ready to go, all over Finland. Little Finland will not be paralyzed by Russia cutting of the oil.
Alexis Kivi was a very important writer at a time when Finland was beginning to assert its own nationhood after seven hundred years in the Swedish realm and a hundred years associated with Russia. His most famous book is Seven Brothers. Story From Seven Brothers (in a sauna) by Alexis Kivi
All nationalities have their specialties. The Finns make the best, and the most varieties of rye bread.
Brigitte Gabriel grew up in Christian Lebanon and was there when Muslims took over and slaughtered all non Muslims. She is determined not to let that happen in America. We need the same spirit in Finland.