What should Finland do about Karelia? (Part II)

by , under All categories, Enrique

One of the reasons why the Finnish government hasn’t shown any interest in rejoining Karelia with Finland is because of its large Russian-speaking population. The other factor is fear that Karelia could in the future cause a new war with Russia.

The last matter that some government officials want for Finland is to turn the country into an Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania, where there are large Russian populations that pose a cultural challenge to such countries.

Karelia, which had a Finnish population of about 420,000 and had been inhabited by Finns for centuries, is a case in point for Europe. Too many of the conflicts that have occurred in this continent, like World War II and recently the civil war in the former Yugoslavia, are ethnic in nature.

The most extreme modern manifestation of ethnic suspicion and hatred in Europe was by Nazi Germany. It could send millions of Jews and other religious, political and ethnic groups to gas chambers on the pretext that such outlandish deeds were necessary to conserve the purity of the German “race” and help it to realize its full potential.

The first matter that Stalin’s Russia did when it snatched Karelia from Finland in 1944 was to populated it with Russians, Ukrainians and other Soviet nationalities after 420,000 Karelians left their homes and moved as refugees to Finland.

It was the same method that the former British Empire used to ensure that territory seized or colonized by it remained British.

Fortunately there are different winds blowing in Europe today. European Union countries are embracing, albeit at different speeds, a policy of multiculturalism where ethnic, national and cultural minorities must be protected and encouraged.

If you think of it, the advance of multiculturalism in Europe may be the continent’s best insurance against future wars. It may even help resolve in the future sticky geopolitical issues like Karelia.

A map of southern Finland printed in 1908 by the Suomen Matkailijayhdistys..


  1. Tiwaz

    What should be done…


    As mentioned, we would get “gift” of hundreds of thousands of Russians. We do not want them here honestly, we do not want to be next Georgia.

    Nor do we want cultural and ethnic instability as result.

    Furthermore, Karelia is basically (from Finnish point of view) wasteland. Soviet Union was not nearly as efficient as Finland in keeping it’s territories modern and well built.
    Finnish budget would be totally annihilated by attempt to start rebuilding annexed territories if they were returned.

    And for what? Some wood? We have as much wood as our industry needs, if only industry bothered to pay decent price.

    Farmland? As it is, amount of farmers in Finland is dwindling. If people want to become farmers, there is someone already within our borders who would be willing to sell.

  2. Enrique

    That is an interesting point you make — it is one of the unfortunate reasons why Finland has shown little interest in getting back Karelia.

    • Enrique

      Many thanks for this. I am happy that these people have not fallen asleep.

  3. Tiwaz

    Oh yes they have. They are daydreaming.

    I have taken a look at their theories of “return”.

    They presume they will get Karelia empty, without Russians, and in pristine condition.
    And that after this money just flies in. They never bother to explain from where they get all that money. It just in their calculations materializes from thin air.

    They presume that out of nowhere 20 billion euros will become available for rebuilding Karelia. From WHERE? 8 from Finland and 15-20 more from private companies.

    2007 Finland managed in having budget remain 2 billion on positive side.
    And that was by neglecting essential activities in Finland, existing Finland, like reducing amount of roads maintained and so forth.

    Where or where would the money materialize to rebuild whole goddamn Karelia… And what would have to be cut from expenditures in Finland to finance it… Of course it would make it easier to get Karelia to Finnish standards when you rebuld Karelia while letting Finland decay.

    And Finns who move in to rebuild Karelia. They just materialize from thin air. From nowhere comes hundreds of thousands of Finns who just desire to live in utterly misused and abused area without anything useful.

    They say there are at least 300 000 Finns willing to move there… Then why those 300 000 do not move into areas already losing population in Finland? I own land on countryside, and I see whole lot of farms where work has ended. Lands either sold or rented to those few who still get their bread from such activities. Those who quit, often young generations who would be needed for rebuilding Karelia, either moving to city or driving from their home to city to work.

    So who are these 300 000? Mostly middle aged people might feel desire to move. But they have already done their work. They do not have years or strength to rebuild Karelia. Young ones are needed for that. And young people do not want Karelia.

    In short, those ProKarelia people are idiots (yes, they are Finns but that does not mean they are not unrealistic idiots. I am not, despite what you try to claim, racist. I call spade a spade and not goddamn dirt transfer apparatus).

    Old people who have some actual connection to that piece of land are in no shape to rebuild it. And young ones do not want to take on the burden of trying to rebuild that all to resemble something like Finland. 5 decades of negligence just makes it unwelcoming thought.

  4. martin copelin

    If this bloke is representative of current Finnish population it shows that they have become soft. Their forefathers were very tough and fought against overwhelming odds to retain Karelia and the rest of Finland. Karelia should be returned to Finland to right a great wrong.

    • Enrique

      Hi Martin, and welcome to Migrant Tales. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on Karelia. I could not agree more with you – Finland should never forget Karlia and should try to reach an agreement with Russia to regain control or to share it. However, most Finnish politicians don’t want this because it would mean incorporating a large Russian minority. If you ask some Finnish writers such as Eeva Kilpi, she will tell you that Karelia should be returned to Finland and the Russians that live there can stay and be part of Finland.

  5. Ester

    “Four Finnish businessmen want to trade mine with Karelia -YLE

    27.8.2009 at 10:12

    Four Finnish businessmen were quoted as saying by the Finnish Broadcasting Company on Thursday that they would drop their Gulf of Finland mine permit application if Russia entered talks over returning Karelia, ceded to the Soviet Union in the second world war, to Finland.

    The planned undersea mine stands in the way of a gas pipeline planned by German-Russian joint venture Nord Stream.

    Kari Silvennoinen, a solicitor, said the Russian government had offered the businessmen considerable amounts of money in return for withdrawing the application, adding his clients had refused the cash and wanted Karelia instead.

    YLE quoted Nord Stream as saying that the company was not aware of any bargaining.

    Nord Stream plans to begin building the pipeline early next year.

    About the pipeline:

    • Enrique

      Hi Ester, thank you for sharing your opinions with us. This is a real interesting story. Imagine, it was two businessmen who had the “guts” to bring this matter into debate.