In Sandarmokh, the NKVD shot about a thousand Finns – in Helsinki, the memory of the innocent murdered will be honored

In the early 1930s, almost 7 thousand Finns moved from America to Soviet Karelia. Believing the agitators, they settled near Finland to build a bright communist future. The history of this migration wave is tragic – many fell under the hammer of Stalin’s terror, which unfolded in 1937.

The Red Finns, who left their homeland after the defeat in the Civil War, did not escape the tragic fate. Also, Finnish defectors fell under repression, who, following the example of American Finns, went to Soviet Karelia for a better life, and people who were forcibly transported across the border.

In the forest tract Sandarmokh, 19 kilometers from Medvezhyegorsk, the remains of the executed Finns are buried. The initiative group has been holding an event in Helsinki for the third year in memory of the innocent people killed.

– This tragedy has affected many families on the territory of Karelia. I myself am one of those places, – says Veronika Mikkonen. – They were silent about this for a long time, until the local historian Yuri Dmitriev discovered a mass grave, about which there were only rumors. It turned out that about a thousand Finns were shot in Sandarmokh.

Lists of victims will be printed on sheets, and during the commemorative event everyone will be able to read out several names.

– This year we are holding a memorial event in the Lutheran church, and a couple of years ago the names were read out at the Ilyinsky Orthodox cemetery in Helsinki. There is no difference here, there were both Lutherans and Orthodox Christians among the executed, – explains Mikkonen.

American Finns brought with them a lot of new, for example, modern technologies that were not then in the USSR. The Finns worked hard and built the industry in the region. Musical culture developed, jazz concerts were especially popular. But all the merits were ultimately destroyed by the notorious 58th article for counter-revolutionary activities.

– The list is, of course, incomplete, but it is being replenished. Information sometimes comes from different countries of the world – people report their relatives buried in Sandarmokh, says Mikkonen.

In the current conditions, any event is carried out taking into account coronavirus safety. The organizers remind about masks and social distance. They also advise you to keep track of updates on the event page on Facebook.