V. Telebin, The Finnish War: Fortification of Lapland

Book presentation at the local library, Pervomayskaya 51, April 13 2014, 4pm. By “The Finnish War” probably the Winter War of 1939 is meant although there were at least three attempts by Russia to conque Finland and thus several “Finnish” wars. Russians actually took over Finland, that at the time was part of Sweden and/or Norway, early in the 1800s. From what I know the Finns were not upset at the time. For them it was changing one boss who didn’t meddle too much into their affairs for another. But towards the end of the 19th century russification became the policy, normally quiet Finns got pissed, and broke off at the first opportunity, shortly after the 1917 revolution, when Russia was not in a position to keep them by force. In 1939 Ivans invaded again (same old technique: organize a pro-Russia party and have them request support) and managed to grab 10 or 11% of Finland’s most prosperous territory. I’VE NEVER LOOKED INTO THE STORY. IF YOU HAVE A BETTER ONE-PARAGRAPH “BLUFF YOUR WAY” SUMMARY OF THE STORY I’LL BE HAPPY TO REPLACE THE ABOVE.

The east of Karelia and of the Murmansk region still look and feel like a recent war zone, and pieces of metal and ruins of military fortifications are all over. The latter are probably the subject of the book.

What’s even sadder is seeing evidence that in relatively recent past east Karelia was prosperous agricultural land. Above are ruins of an electric station that provided power to a few local farms near Ruskeala. Then Russians came with their “collective farming” concept, and these cute micro stations were abandoned.

An old road through woods stuffed with war artifacts. One of the most surreal places I’ve seen. Nothing spectacular though. Guess that eery feeling comes from time standing still.

… Oops. I was wrong. the book is some sort of a love story agains the backdrop of the Winter War, and the author sets out “to defend Russian honor” and “prove that we can fight and win”. Not a drop of remorse over what was a clear act of aggression, very much in line with the current militant climate here.

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