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28.11.2002
»  PRESIDENT AHTISAARI UNLOCKED A DOOR TOWARDS DEBATE ABOUT LOST KARJALA

13.06.2002
»  BORDERS CHANGE, PEOPLE DON’T

01.03.2002
»  PUTIN RECOGNIZED DORPAT PEACE TREATY OF 1920

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13.06.2002
Martti Valkonen

BORDERS CHANGE, PEOPLE DON’T

Minister Max Jakobson committed a praiseworthy violation of traditional taboos in his column “Changing character of borders” published on the Helsinki Day.

The first violated taboo is the silence dating back to the Soviet times, concerning the ceded Karelia. The second one is a funny age-old taboo, which has always made us to regard honourable good diplomatists superhumanly infallible.

Jakobson made himself fallible. The old fox, minister, and journalist fell into his own trap, of which he had warned beginners in journalism and politicians entering on their careers, and developing observers in his writings throughout the Soviet era. It was fascinating to read how Jakobson now told about the changing Russia and the adoption of a strong Western orientation, as earlier he has warned the hasty and the hopeful with stressed and well-based statements of interpreting the sudden motions of post-Soviet Russia as permanent changes.

Jakobson made the mistake when writing: “In front of us is not Asian, but European Russia”.

There is a long way to go. The present-day Russia bears more resemblance to the feudal czarist Russia, the colonial empire, whose population regarded it quite normal that the opinion of citizens did not count neither in the state nor the local government, that corruption was inherent in the government system, and that some part of the empire was always engaged in warfare, conquest, civil war or even in two of these. Property was destroyed, people – own and strangers - were constantly dying, but nobody cared about this, except for the mothers of soldiers and sometimes even maybe fathers.

Russia is not Asian, but it is not European, either. It is a colonial empire, a czarist state with a specific Russian cultural sphere, with a total lack of understanding about the rights of small nations, even about the right to exist. A majority of Russians tolerates the state of affairs, being ignorant of anything else, even though including some civilised and understanding people, who are depressed by the spiritual wretchedness of the state and abjection of human rights. As a whole, the speeches given by Putin and courses taken in the foreign policy have not changed the nature of Russia, at least not into European the way understood by the people in the Nordic countries.

Of course, Russia must start implementing changes, if intending to participate as an equal partner in the European integration. For the moment it is entirely uncertain if this is what Russia really wants, or if the country will content itself with a long-perspective opportunity to press Western Europe and the Unites States for money and other economic help that it claims to use for the fundamental improvement of its infrastructures, even though in reality the ones in power and their shady associates put most of the money into their own pockets. The politicians and the nouveau riche of Russia are lacking the insight into western democracy, taxation or citizen community, everybody’s responsibility for each other. In this aspect Russia is extremely far from the West European way of thinking in the society. The declaration of Putin of a mutual war against terrorism does not change Russia.

The trading skills and tendencies of Russia and Russians have probably also not changed. For centuries Russia has been willing to trade with everything, including the country and its borders. Russia sold Alaska to the United States, and the Soviet Union bought the Jäniskoski area from Finland.

A tradesman calls his selling articles, like borders, holy, only to get a better price. The present Russia of Putin has certainly no particular objections for selling the ceded Karelia back to Finland for an agreed price, which can be money, for example, or moral return of honour, or both – as long as the Finnish side has a creditable candidate for buying, that is the Finnish Parliament, government and president, the state authorities. The Finnish side should only find the right words to match the mentality of the Russian seller.

Changing the border with explicit treaties does not shake the European order, but rather creates good humane order based on mutual understanding and respect, and not relying only on bayonets as the current borders mostly do.

Russia’s readiness to conquer, sell and buy land is clearly traditional. Throughout Europe borders have been changed as well, and on the territory reaching from Europe to Asia a record number of new borders have been drawn and areas transferred under the administration of another power completely peacefully and with explicit treaties, especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union. Borders have dropped mostly in the European Union. In the district of Russia, borders have not dropped, but new ones have been drawn.

It is especially gratifying that minister Jakobson brought up the debate held in Europe about the mass expatriations during World War II, and wrote: “However, the new Europe has not forgotten its past.”

We in ProKarelia have also not forgotten our Finnish past, but want to cherish and develop it as a part of the culture of the united Europe. The Finnish contribution to the European culture can grow and become more beautiful, if we take care of the preservation of the medieval stone-built town Vyborg and its rare castle for the centuries to come.

The people living in the Russian cultural sphere do not care for these. Looking after these is the national duty of Finland. This is one of the central reasons to request Russia to return the ceded territories received from the Soviet Union, who also did not need the territories for anything else but to extend one’s power, that is for not any human need.

To clarify the history of us, the Finns who left from the ceded Karelia to flee from the enemy, a few serious comments should be made on the column by Jakobson.

We, the residents of the Isthmus of Karelia did not flee voluntarily from the attacking enemy, but our families were forced to this decision in order to save their lives and human dignity. We did not submit our homes and lands voluntarily. These were taken from us by means of crude violence, and had we not escaped to Western Finland, the remaining stump Finland, we would have been killed in Karelia, the Isthmus, Vyborg, Salla, Petsamo and other areas, or deported to Siberia or Kazakhstan into slavery.

The responsibility and debt of the Soviet Union and Russia is not smaller for the fact that during and after the wars the Finnish state was led by so exceptionally understanding people, who provided the displaced people with lodging and employment, and did this with the common trust and vigour of the whole nation.

Responsibility for the wars falls first and foremost on Hitler and Stalin with their systems. They agreed with each other upon the division of Eastern Europe. Territories occupied by Germany have been returned to their rightful owners. If our aim is to build a better Europe, we would also like to take this process to the end. Also from the aspect of this aim, the writing on Karelia by minister Jakobson is a highly valuable extension in the ongoing debate about the past and the future of Finland.

http://www.prokarelia.net/en/
martti.valkonen@prokarelia.net




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Karjalan ja Petsamon palautus -kirja on julkaistu 14.10.2010 Tarton rauhan 90-vuotispäivänä.

Kirja käsittelee Suomen, Venäjän ja EU:n välisten suhteiden kannalta keskeisiä, vielä avoimia kysymyksiä: sotaan syyllisyys, sotasyyllisyys, evakkojen omaisuuden restituutio ja pakkoluovutettujen alueitten palautus.

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Koko Suomen kartta vuodesta 1920




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SIIRRY KARELIA KLUBI KAUPPAAN

Candomino laulaa karjalaisia lauluja [mp3-file].



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Karjalan satakielen Laps' olen Karjalan [4.9 MB mp3-file].