Contradictions in Loyalty during the Turbulent Years 1910-1950


På Svenska






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 woman’s 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!"