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Lecture VI : RUSSIA AND FINLAND IN THE WORLD WAR II

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Title: Lecture VI : RUSSIA AND FINLAND IN THE WORLD WAR II


1
Lecture VI RUSSIA AND FINLAND IN THE WORLD WAR
II
  • In the framework of the course Crucial Issues of
    Russian Political History from the early XXth
    century up the present time
  • Sergey Verigin, Ass. Prof.
  • Petrozavodsk State University

2
Contents list
  • I. Karelia and Finland in the Winter War
    (1939-1940)
  • II. Finnish occupation of the Eastern (Russian)
    Karelia during the Second World War (1941-1944)

3
I. Karelia and Finland in the Winter
War(1939-1940)
  • In spring and autumn of 1939 the negotiations on
    the boundary issues between the USSR and Finland
    took place in Moscow. The Soviet government,
    motivated by the necessity to provide safety of
    Leningrad, raised a question on the territorial
    reciprocity. They suggested that Finland would
    exchange the Karelian Isthmus and several islands
    in the Finnish Gulf to the USSR for twice as much
    territory of the Soviet Karelia.
  • After all unsuccessful attempts to get the
    agreement on these suggestions, the Soviet
    government decided to solve this issue by means
    of war.

4
I. Karelia and Finland in the Winter
WarMolotov-Ribbentrop non-aggression pact.
Stalin government's purposes
  • August 1939 - non-aggression pact between
    USSR-Germany (Molotov-Ribbentrop), signed .
  • According this pact, Germany and Soviet Union
    divided the Europe on the spheres of their
    interests. Finland, as well as Baltic countries
    was adopted in the sphere of influence of the
    Soviet Union.
  • Stalin Government had two main purposes before
    the War Company against Finland
  • official purpose is to move away border from
    Leningrad. In 1939 Leningrad was situated only in
    36 kilometres from border with Finland. Stalin
    constantly stressed that Leningrad had a risk
    from invasion of Finnish troops.
  • nonofficial purpose is to try to transfer
    socialism from USSR into Finland. According this
    goal Soviet political leaders decided to form the
    Finnish People's Government from the Finnish
    immigrants, who were revolutionaries. They
    emigrated from Finland to Soviet Russia after the
    defeat of Workers Revolution in Finland in 1918.
    Most of the Finnish immigrants lived on the
    territory of Leningrad district and the Karelian
    Autonomy Soviet Socialist Republic.
  • Also the Finnish People Army was created
    for helping to Finnish People's Government.
  • Soviet leadership hoped that Finnish
    People's Army and Finnish People's Government
    under the leadership of Kuusinen would be
    supported by the population of Finland.

5
Kuusinen's Soviet Finnish government and its
objectives
  • At the beginning of the Winter Company the Soviet
    press reported that the People's Government of
    Finland under the leadership of Otto V. Kuusinen
    had been formed in the town of Terioki, occupied
    by the Red Army. (Terioki was the first finnish
    town, which was occupied Red Army).
  • To realise Stalin's plan the pro-Soviet
    government of Kuusinen had to function even for
    show. In these circumstances the role of Karelia
    and its Communist Party organisation was great.
  • However, most of famous Finns were killed during
    the period of the second part of 1930s., in the
    period of Stalin's repression (Gulling, Rovio
    etc)
  • And only O. Kuusinen who worked in Kommintern was
    well known in Finland, but another members of
    Finnish People's Government were not famous among
    the population of Finland. The first president of
    PSU, Tuure Lehen was one of the members of
    Finnish People's Government, he was a minister of
    Internal Affairs.
  •  Stalin had some problems with the formation of
    Finnish People's Government, so Armas Aikia, a
    Finnish poet, became a minister of Agriculture of
    Finnish People's Government.

6
Otto Kuusinen (1881-1964)
7
Treaty between the USSR and Kuusinen's
government. Formation of Finnish Democratic
Republic
  • December 1939 -the treaty between the USSR and
    the pro-Soviet Government of Kuusinen (that is
    People's Government) was signed in Moscow on the
    second day of war. All Soviet newspapers
    published it.
  • According to this treaty the territory of Soviet
    Karelia to the west from the Kirov railway track
    (the total area - 70 000 square kilometers, the
    population - mainly Karelians) was ceded to
    Finland, and the territory of Finland (the part
    of Karelian Isthmus, the total area - 3 000
    square kilometers) was ceded to Soviet Union. The
    direction to explain the necessity of these acts
    to the inhabitants of the Karelian republic was
    received from Moscow.
  • The map of living of main nations of Karelia
    Karelians lived to the west from the Kirov
    railway track, Russians to the east from the
    Kirov railway truck, and Veps lived on the banks
    of Onega Lake.

8
Members of the Terijoki government
9
December 2, 1939, in Moscow the treaty of mutual
aid and friendship between the USSR and Finnish
Democratic Republic was signed. On the photo V.
Molotov, A. Zhdanov, K. Voroshilov, O. Kuusinen
and I. Stalin.
10
(No Transcript)
11
Reaction of people
  • In accordance to the agreement concluded between
    the USSR and Finnish Democratic Republic, a part
    of Karelia, which was mostly populated by
    Karelians, should be passed to the new
    democratic state. Moscow government gave
    instruction to the Karelian Regional Committee of
    C.P.S.U. to arrange an explanation on the
    necessity of this step.
  • Implementing this resolution of the central
    authorities, the government of the Republic of
    Karelia paid great attention to the ideological
    explanation of Declaration of the Finnish
    Peoples Government and Mutual assistance pact
    between the USSR and Finnish Democratic
    Republic. Several resolutions were accepted on
    the meetings and they were propagandistic in
    character.

12
Reaction of people
  • But there was no unanimity. The analysis of
    archival documents shows that some people were
    dissatisfied with these decisions. There were
    such questions as "Why hasn't our government
    asked the Karelian inhabitants about their
    attitude to the reunion with Finland?
  • In some districts (especially in the southern
    districts of the republic - Olonets and Priazha)
    people, even Communist party workers wanted to
    leave for the Soviet Union.
  • In the middle of December 1939 J.N. Kuprianov,
    Secretary of the Karelian Regional Committee of
    Communist Party, criticised such people at a
    meeting of party activists in Petrozavodsk. He
    said "The wish to run away from the districts,
    joining Finland, should be regarded as desertion.
    We must make the Finns ready for the
    establishment of the Soviet power and the
    building of the Soviet society".
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