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Wed 12 April
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 13 April
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Fri 14 April
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    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
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Wednesday 12 April 2023 16.30 - 18.30
N-4 ETH03 Finns in the Soviet Union, 1917-1964
C32
Network: Ethnicity and Migration Chair: Aleksi Mainio
Organizer: Aappo Kähönen Discussant: Aleksi Mainio
Moderators: -
Jesse Hirvelä : Red Saviours: Finnish Immigrants and the Colonization of Soviet Ingria in the 1920s
Finnish Ingria, located around the city of St. Petersburg, was created already under the Swedish rule back in the 17th century when the area was populated with Finnish-speakers. When the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, they needed a national cadre to tie the Ingrian Finns as part of their revolution. ... (Show more)
Finnish Ingria, located around the city of St. Petersburg, was created already under the Swedish rule back in the 17th century when the area was populated with Finnish-speakers. When the Bolsheviks took power in 1917, they needed a national cadre to tie the Ingrian Finns as part of their revolution. This task was given mostly to the refugees coming from Finland, the Red Finns, who fled to Soviet Russia after the failed revolution and the lost Finnish civil war in 1918. Meanwhile, notable members of the Ingrian Finnish elite emigrated to Finland during the Russian civil war.

This paper explores the different ways the Bolsheviks tried to legitimize their power in the Finnish-speaking Ingria by using the red Finnish immigrants who had now turned to communism. Theories of colonialism are used to explain Soviet nationality policies in the non-Russian areas of the country. The Bolsheviks launched “korenizatsiya” to tackle the nationality question in the 1920s by promoting ethnic minorities through culture and language – a process which ultimately tried to assimilate smaller minorities into fixed ethnic categories and into the whole Soviet empire. This is a case study of Soviet colonialism in the context of Ingria in which questions of ethnicity and migration played an important role.

The research period ends with the collectivization drive in Stalin’s Soviet Union causing some Ingrian peasants to emigrate to Finland, while many others, accused as “kulaks”, were deported to remote Soviet territories. This economic colonization of Ingria, covered in rhetoric of the Cultural Revolution, further changed the ethnic composition of Ingria. (Show less)

Ira Jänis-Isokangas : Finnish Special Settlers and their Guards in the Ural Region
The Soviet Union started a massive industrialization project in the beginning of the 1930s. This project included building of new steel mills, factories, and power plants in the Ural region. The region needed labour force which was deported from other regions of the Soviet Union. These deported people were mainly ... (Show more)
The Soviet Union started a massive industrialization project in the beginning of the 1930s. This project included building of new steel mills, factories, and power plants in the Ural region. The region needed labour force which was deported from other regions of the Soviet Union. These deported people were mainly wealthy peasants and people from the ethnic minorities. This labour force was named as special settlers (spetspereselentsy). They formed an integral part of the Gulag system of the 1930s.
The recent studies of Gulag system have brought the question of the boundaries of Gulag. Instead of isolated camps, the system formed a myriad units of work sites, special settlements, and camps that were well-connected with the rest of the Soviet society. The Ural region offers an illuminating example since all these different units were located in its cities, such as Magnitogorsk and Chelyabinsk.
In the mid-1930s, the special settlements in the Ural region included Finns, who had illegally crossed the Soviet border a few years earlier. They were guided by the Finnish political workers and guards, who organized their work and leisure and offered political and vocational education. Both the Finnish workers and their guards wrote extensive letters, where they described their situation and life in the Ural region.
Drawing from rich archival material from Finland and Russia, this paper explores the everyday life of the Finnish special settlers and their guardians. How did the Finnish settlers describe their housing and working conditions and what were the boundaries of freedom in these settlements? How did the Finnish political workers relate to their task as the guardians of the Finnish Gulag population?
The case of the Finnish special settlers offers a unique insight on the forced labour population’s thoughts, the Gulag system’s ethnic aspects, and the blurred boundaries between the Gulag system and the Soviet society. (Show less)

Aappo Kähönen : Finnish Everyday Bolshevism in the Murman Coast in the 1930s
After the revolution in Russia in 1917, and when the Bolshevik party had won the civil in practice by 1920, most of the Russian workers, not to speak about the general population, were not Bolsheviks. Socialism had to be built in Russia and defined what it would be in practice. ... (Show more)
After the revolution in Russia in 1917, and when the Bolshevik party had won the civil in practice by 1920, most of the Russian workers, not to speak about the general population, were not Bolsheviks. Socialism had to be built in Russia and defined what it would be in practice. Simultaneously, it became necessary to ‘speak Bolshevik’, in order to describe the new society. In this paper the phenomena is studied on the bases of the CPSU local organization’s protocols in the Finnish speaking Pohjantähti (Northern Star) kolkhoz in 1935 and 1937.
The main questions for the research are: What was the relation between duties or work in the kolhoz on the one hand, and with propaganda/enlightenment, on the other hand? What moral requirements were seen necessary for the membership in the kolkhoz or in the party? Which deeds led to categorization of ‘the enemy of the people’?
In Russia Intellectuals, or the intelligentsija, had even stronger role than in Western Europe as the advocates and enlighteners of the ‘people.’ The Bolsheviks represented the extreme variant of this tradition. Therefore, it is fruitful to observe their actions as part of the objective of constructing the New Man in a longer period, between 1860–1940. The other significant context is the building of Soviet power as part of Russian colonization process, ‘self-colonization’, in order to take advantage of its raw material resources. The sources of kolkhoz party organization allow a case study, evaluating the building of socialism, applying of Soviet nationality policies, as well as the state terror, from the local perspective. (Show less)

Sami Outinen : Interactive Database on Finns in Russia 1917–1964: Destinies, Deaths and Social Background
Tens of thousands of Finns migrated to Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1964. In September 2020, the National Archives of Finland launched a five-year research project to study the phases of those who moved to Russia, those who were settled there and those who returned from Russia between the October ... (Show more)
Tens of thousands of Finns migrated to Soviet Russia between 1917 and 1964. In September 2020, the National Archives of Finland launched a five-year research project to study the phases of those who moved to Russia, those who were settled there and those who returned from Russia between the October Revolution and the end of Nikita Khrushchev’s (Joseph Stalin’s successor) rule.
This paper presents first detailed findings of Finns in Russia 1917-1964. The analysis is based on an interactive database of Finns who had migrated to Russian Empire from the Grand Duchy of Finland before the October Revolution or Finnish citizens who migrated to Soviet Union by the year 1964.
The paper focuses on the faiths of the Finns who lived in Russia in 1917, Red Finns who escaped from Finland to Russia after Finland’s Civil War 1918 and migrants from Finland and North America to Soviet Union whose livelihood was deteriorated due to the Great Depression in the early 1930s.
This means presenting the social background, life stages and the causes of death of Finnish migrants during Russian civil war and first decades of Soviet Union including first five-year plans, resettlements, the terror in the 1930s, Second World War, the post-war migration and the Khrushchev era.
The interactive database of The Finns in Russia 1917-1964 Project at the National Archives of Finland enables the use of the methods of database-based digital history and the newest technology of optical character technology (OCR). In this paper, also the use of crowdsourcing and artificial intelligence in the data collection process of the underlying interactive database will be presented. (Show less)



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