WILL THE KUUSAA MANOR SURVIVE THE YEAR 2002? (Photos)
Over one hundred years of tradition becomes fire wood for the poor locals.
It survived the tsar, the revolution, Finnish independence, two devastating wars, the Soviet times and even the Yeltsin years. But will is survive the year 2002? And will anyone care?
Take a 19th century wooden Manor, add the surrounding park and its old trees. Then imagine old Russian aristocracy, independence of the Republic of Finland, the bloody winter war and its continuation. Visualize a pioneer camp of the Soviet youth until the communism collapses and Boris Yeltsin assumes power in Russia. The cute Kuusaa Manor has witnessed all this. Will it witness next year?
The legendary manor house is currently being vandalized by local populace. They have been stealing the linings and wooden parts for fire wood during the last couple of years. Nothing seems to stop this process. Finns who know the history of the building and its historical significance mainly keep quiet out of fear of Russian might, be it real or imaginary. Russians couldn’t care less… for them it’s another source of free fire wood.
The large Kuusaa estate was known as Alexandra Kollontay's (1872-1952) childhood home. Kollontay was a Bolshevik leader, a forespeaker of sexual liberation, and Soviet diplomat in Stockholm during Winter War (1939-40). In her book 'The Memoirs of Mme Kollontay (1946)' Kollontay recalls her childhood:
'It was very pretty, Imperial style, and cream beige colored. Its facade was decorated with four pillars. For me Kuusaa was a paradise, where I could enjoy freedom.'
During Russian czars, independence, and even after reconfirming the borders by Treaty of Dorpat (1920) Kuusaa was an integral part of Finland. From 1918 it was owned by farmer Matti Savolainen, and before Winter War it was converted into a museum. During the Soviet era there were around 20 different constructions built for the Pioneer camp in the estate park.
After the collapse of Soviet Union the disaster of the estate’s areas begun, and it's now accelerating rapidly. Every single building of the former pioneer camp has been destroyed into a Kabul-style devastation.
However, the saddest view of all is the relentless disaster of the main building. A gallant history of more than a hundred years is vanishing in front of our very own eyes. The attached illustrated material shows the disastrous development during the past two years.
Kuusaa Manor 2000
Kuusaa Manor 2001
Kuusaa Manor 2002
In August 2000, Mr Hannu Takala took a picture that shows the Mansion's roof in good shape, and all the pillars whole and intact. The linings are in place, and the restoration of the building would have been an easy task.
However, in April 2001, Kuusaa Mansion has lost one half of its pillars, a great deal of its linings, and the metal roof cover. Only the wooden planks are remaining in the roof.
In September 2001 the roof planks are removed, and it's raining in. The restoration is even harder.
The new picture taken in July 2002 shows still the well-known shape of Kuusaa Mansion, so that you can still think of restoration. But the disaster is almost irreversible: all pillars are taken for firewood, the wall linings are sparse and far between, and the roof is totally exposed to weather. The interior is vandalized beyond repair.
Karelia has always been inhabited by Finnish tribes. Finnish Karelia was administered by Finland since 1812. Across the border, the Karelian Workers' Commune (at present Republic of Karelia) had originally Finnish-related Karelians as majority, until during Soviet Union, genocide, population transfers, wars, and strong Russification changed the nature of Russian Karelia.
Finnish Karelia became empty in 1940 and 1944, when Karelian refugees moved to Western Finland to avoid certain death. Soviet Union transferred Slavic settlers to the area. Soviet Union ceased to exist in 1991, and for the time being Karelia remains under Russian Federation.
The fall of Kuusaa Mansion and its surroundings is a grim reminder of Stalin's and Soviet Union's crimes against humanity, especially independent Finland and its eastern province, Karelia.
Will there be anything left of the legendary Kuusaa estate house in 2003? And will anyone care?
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