Posts Tagged: Soviet Union

Selling your political soul to the highest bidder and Putin’s collateral damage to Europe’s far-right parties

Russian strongman Vladimir Putin’s plans of breathing new life into a second take of the Soviet empire by invading Ukraine have backfired and produced the opposite effect. Far-right parties like the Perussuomnalaiset (PS)* are collateral damage in Putin’s miscalculation.  It’s been a wretched start for Putin: – Plans to carry out a rapid invasion and

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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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Challenging Finland’s racism problem:Raise your voice, trust yourself, and don’t succumb to fear and self-censorship

When I moved to Finland over forty years ago, there were only about 10,000 foreigners living in the country. The biggest national group were the Swedes, who were mostly Finns who had become naturalized citizens of that country. One of the questions we asked back then was about the level of racism in Finland. 

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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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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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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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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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Soviet refugees in Finland: No escape to freedom

I met Aleksander Shatravka in 2009 thanks to Migrant Tales. Finally after over twenty years searching as a journalist for such a person. He was one of twelve former Soviet citizens documented by Amnesty International who was forcibly returned to the USSR.

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Mannerheim and Finnish provincialism

I heard yesterday an interesting talk on Marshall Carl Mannerheim (1867-1951) just a few days before the outbreak of the Winter War (1939-1940) exactly 70 years ago. The talk centered on different aspects of the Civil War of 1918 and how Mannerheim saw the world.

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