TEACHINGS OF HISTORY
After experiencing attacks, pillage, plunder, rape, occupation, etc., from the Russians
for hundreds of years, the Finns have, indeed, developed a cautious attitude toward the
Russians. One episode from the 1950s is illustrative of the Finns approach.
A major paper mill is located in the town of Valkeakoski. A well-known Finnish
industrialist Juuso Walden ran the mill at the time. To improve his sales into the Soviet
Union, he had invited a group of high-ranking Russian dignitaries to visit his factory.
Between the wining and dining, there was also some recreation, so the guests were provided
with cross-country skiing outfits and taken to a cross-country trail. The trail went past
a cottage of an elderly woman. The old lady was a refugee from Karelia, which the Russians
have occupied since 1944. She had her old flannel bloomers drying on a line close to the
trail. A man was sent ahead of the guests to see that everything was OK along the trail.
When he saw the bloomers, he became concerned of the aesthetics, so he knocked on the
womans door and told her that there were Russian guests coming and suggested that
the lady would remove her wash from the line. She said she understood and promised to take
them in. But when the Russians skied past her hut, there were the old bloomers still on
the clothesline. The man who had earlier stopped by was now bringing up the rear; so when
he saw the old bloomers, he again knocked on the door and was irritated with the old lady.
"Why did you not take in your wash, as you promised?" The lady responded,
"Well, thanks for the warning, but then I thought that the bloomers were so old and
worn so, if they steal them, good riddance!"