Finland repatriated Soviet defectors
A new book claims that contrary to suspicions in Western countries, the tough line was not based on any secret agreements between Finland and the Soviet Union, but rather a policy that was unilaterally implemented by President Urho Kekkonen after he took office in 1956.
Nevertheless, according to the book Ei armoa Suomen selkänahasta ("No mercy at Finland’s expense"), not every defector was sent back.
From 1945 to 1981 there were a total of 153 cases of Soviet citizens trying to defect to the West via Finland. In his fresh study, historian Juha Pohjonen says that nearly one in four - a total of 36 - were allowed to stay in Finland, or move on to another country.
Jussi Pekkarinen, a researcher at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, and co-writer of the book, focuses in his section on the extradition of prisoners of war, members of Finno-Ugric nations who fought alongside Finland, and hundreds of civilians between 1944 and 1955.
Immediately after the war more than 100,000 people were sent from Finland to the Soviet Union. The book does not reveal what their fate was, but there is an extensive study underway at the Finnish National Archive to learn more of what happened to Soviet citizens who lived in Finland during the war and who were sent back when it was over.
Only one of the defectors who escaped to Finland is known to have been executed. He was Arthur Lööke, an Estonian who was sent back in 1949. His friend, who suffered from ill health, died while he was in Finland.
comments powered by Disqus
- Joan Baez, Sly Stone, Steve Martin, Ben E. King -- all honored by the Library of Congress
- StoryCorps to Launch Global Expansion With $1M TED Prize
- Hofstra Event Looks at Bush Presidency
- Did Israel steal uranium from a town in Pennsylvania in the 1960s?
- Sequel to Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom to be published next year
- OAH denounces anti-gay legislation signed by Indiana governor
- Emory’s Leslie Harris says we should remember the racist roots of American colleges as we think about what went wrong at OU and other schools
- Stanford historian looks to the U.S. Postal Service to map the boom and bust of 19th-century American West
- U.S. historian denounces Japanese scholars' statement over wartime sexual slavery
- Timothy V Johnson Named Head of Tamiment Library