Posts Tagged: cold war

Return back to Finland’s “good old days?” No thanks!

THIS STORY WAS UPDATED When some Finns and parties talk about returning to the “good old days,” they are saying that they’d like to return to the days when foreigners had practically no rights and where racism was king. It was also a time of appeasement to the former Soviet Union, media self-censorship, impunity, and

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It’s high time for Finland to yank those roots of racism from the ground

This blog entry is dedicated to the late Donald Fields, Helsinki correspondent of the BBC, The Guardian, and Politiken to 1988. As a journalist writing from Finland for some of Europe’s biggest dailies in the 1980s like the Financial Times, there is one matter that stands out from those days: censorship. The censorship that Finland imposed

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Ahti Tolvanen: Defense Minister Jussi Niinistö’s announces legislative initiative to cleanse the ministry of foreign dual citizens

This brought me back to the days of my reckless youth when I arrived in Finland in the early 70s to study at university. At that time a foreign citizen was not allowed by law to hold any kind of “virka” i.e. permanent public job.  A foreign citizen was also not even allowed to marry a Finn.  There were also a host of  private sector and community jobs a foreigner could not hold like newspaper editor, city counselor, shop steward and board member in a company or association.

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Mike Hofman: Media censorship in Finland during the Cold War

The thesis below published in 2014 by Mike Hofman. It is a comprehensive report on how censorship and self-censorship happened in Finland during the Cold War. It is surprising how Finland has sidestepped this issue and thrown it in the dustbin of history.  As the old saying states, if we don’t know or deny our

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Finland rolls back the clock and flirts with the cold war when every foreigner was seen as a potential threat

In another move to punish former migrants who are naturalized Finns, the government of Prime Minister Juha Sipilä, which shares power with the National Coalition Party and anti-immigration Perussuomalaiset,* plans to introduce a new law to parliament within weeks that will prohibit dual citizens from holding certain jobs that involve national security, according to Seijnäjoki-based daily Ilkka, which cites Finnish News Agency (STT).

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The violent and hostile language of Finnish populists against Others

For those that sighed with momentary relief and claimed that the new government’s immigration policy won’t be as bad as they expected haven’t seen anything yet. Behind the populist and nationalistic rhetoric coming from people like Perussuomalaiset (PS)* chairman Timo Soini, there’s nothing but suspicion and hostility against Finland’s migrant and ever-culturally diverse community. What

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Finlandization was very bad for refugees, especially Soviet asylum seekers

A story in Thursday’s Helsingin Sanomat shows that the shadow of Finlandization continues to hang deep on Finland even if the demise of the former Soviet Union ocurred in 1991. Even if the Helsingin Sanomat story writes about Finland’s first-ever airplane hijacking case in 1977 involving two Soviet citizens on an Aeroflot flight, it sheds an

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Foreign Student editorial (February 1981): On immigrants living in Finland

The Foreign Student was a short-lived but courageous newsletter of the Foreign Student Club of Helsinki. The humble publication appeared from January 1981 to January 1982 and lasted 11 issues. Much of the things the newsletter wrote about 35 years ago are still valid today.  Surprisingly those that opposed what we wrote weren’t officials or Finns, but

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Edward Snowden would help to put to rest Finland’s Cold War legacy

Wikileaks said in a statement that whistleblower Edward Snowden had asked for political asylum in twenty-one countries, one of which included Finland. Understanding Finland’s history and its historic suspicion of foreigners, granting a high-profile asylum seeker like Snowden asylum in Finland would not only help to put to rest for good our poor record but have

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Max Jakobson dies but his legacy and the cold war linger on

This blog entry is dedicated to the late Donald Fields, Helsinki correspondent of the BBC, The Guardian and Politiken to 1988.   I read with mixed thoughts about the death of Max Jakobson (1923-2013),  a diplomat who shaped Finland’s policy of neutrality during the cold war. While I am certain that he was an able

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My naïvity and the Finns

When I moved to Finland in December 1978, I wasn’t naïve about Finland, but super naïve. I was so confiding that I actually believed all Finns were honest. If happiness were a spider, it would spin a web to catch our good thoughts. Apart from a strong admiration for the forests and people who inhabited

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Finland’s cold war era: media censorship and suspicion of the outside world

How much did censorship and self-censorship affect Finland during the cold war? The answer to that question lies in the dusty archives of Finland’s media. What kinds of editorials did Helsingin Sanomat write about the Hungarian uprising of 1956 and what did our major dailies say about what happened in Czechoslovakia in 1968? What kind of press freedom was there in a country were discussing, never mind questioning, the official foreign policy line was forbidden?

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Foreign Student front cover from April 1981

Migrant Tales publishes on and off stuff from the past like magazine stories and Finnish tabloid ads* (lööppi in Finnish). The Foreign Student was a short-lived but courageous newsletter of the Foreign Student Club of Helsinki. The humble publication existed from January 1981 to January 1982 and lasted 11 issues. It was probably the first-ever publication in Finland that spoke out critically against Finland’s then non-existent and arbitrary immigration policy.

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Cold war winds still chill Finland’s ongoing debate on racism and social exclusion

The anger and surprise that Gerry Brownlee has stirred up in this country sheds light why debating an issue like discriminaiton is so diffeicult to accept by some Finns. The New Zealand minister sharply criticised Finland last week in an address in parliament. Is our anger due to our low self-esteem or to the cold war, when censorship and self-censorship were pretty much the rule?

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Cold war winds still chill Finland's ongoing debate on racism and social exclusion

The anger and surprise that Gerry Brownlee has stirred up in this country sheds light why debating an issue like discriminaiton is so diffeicult to accept by some Finns. The New Zealand minister sharply criticised Finland last week in an address in parliament. Is our anger due to our low self-esteem or to the cold war, when censorship and self-censorship were pretty much the rule?

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Finland: To isolate or not to isolate ourselves from the world

If there is a post-Finlandization period in this country it manifests itself today through fear and suspicion of the outside world. As the April election result showed, a large minority of Finns don’t have a problem about returning to the days when Finland was near-isolated geopolitically from the outside world thanks to its special relationship with the former Soviet Union.

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Immigration to Finland and the cold war

While history provides a good answer why Finland as a nation has shown a clear manifest unease of foreigners and outside investment, it still does not provide us with an all-encompassing answer as to why. Are we still resentful of newcomers because our language rights were granted in 1862? Is it due to the Russification period, when the Russian Empire attempted to impose the Russian language and culture on us at the cost of our precious autonomy?

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A shameful view of Finland’s refugee policy during the cold war

In this week’s Apu magazine (issue 6/2010) there is a feature authored by me on a former Soviet citizen who was caught in 1974 by Finnish border guards and whisked back to the USSR without granting him the right to political asylum. You can read about it in Apu magazine or get some background information in this blog on how Finland’s special relationship with the USSR would not tolerate Soviet refugees.

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