Ilta-Sanomat tabloid ad (lööppi) from June 14, 1993

by , under Enrique

Migrant Tales publishes on and off Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish) from the 1990s. Taking into account that Finland’s immigrant population started to grow during that decade, it is easy at least through some of the main stories of tabloids like Ilta-Sanomat and Iltalehti to see how some of them reflected our xenophobic, prejudiced, racist or anti-Russian views.

A common stereotype about Russia at the time — and still is — that it’s rife with Mafia criminal gangs. The billboard below claims that the mafia apprehended 70 Finns.

Instilling fear in the population, that the outside world and especially Russia are dangerous places, was and still is the main message of xenophobic groups in Finland. Around 1989, Keijo Korhonen became a household name by warning that the fall of the Soviet Union could bring hordes of refugees.

The argument used once by Korhonen is the same one used by the anti-immigration wing of the Perussuomalaiset (PS) party, which warn us of “Islamization.” The same high-birthrate argument was used against the Jews in Finland in the nineteenth century. Today, Finland’s Jewish population numbers, however, a mere 2,000 people.

*Migration Institute archive.

  1. eihannu

    So are you telling that russian mafia didnt kidnap 70 finnish tourist or that iltalehti shouldnt publish news about that? If latter then why you published text about cold war era news when telling there is dangers in russia would have been impossible? If former then where is phobia?
    Google bit about russian mafia and growth of it in 90-95….

  2. eihannu

    And offtopic but what perussuomalaiset has to do with that news? They didnt exist in 1993. Also what racism has to do with it? Are you telling that if western mafia would kidnap tourists they wouldnt tell?

    • Migrant Tales

      –And offtopic but what perussuomalaiset has to do with that news? They didnt exist in 1993.

      True, but racism in Finland did. Remember Raimo Ilaskivi? Sulo Aittoniemi? Keijo Korhonen? A few examples who kept the xenophobic flag flying. But then came the PS in 2003 with Halme and a bunch of others like Halla-aho, Lahtinen, Hirvisaari, Eronen, Immonen and a long, long list of others. The PS has the dubious honor of being the first Finnish party to capitalize politically on racism.

  3. Mark


    This story is a bit incoherent! Likewise, the kidnap of a large number of tourists is going to make headline news, regardless. Your linking to Jewish population figures, Korhonen and Perrussuomalaiset is tenuous at best. I agree with Hannu for a change.

    The discussion of Russian stereotypes is valid, but surely there is more to outline this point than this front page? What was the response to this story? Was it exaggerated in some way or did it become the single most defining image of Russians for a decade?