Thursday, September 20, 2018

Not a Quisling, but a Kuusinen

This is a pamphlet written by Finland's very own Communist Quisling, Otto Kuusinen. His main claim to fame was achieved during the Winter War between Finland and the Soviet Union in 1939, when Kuusinen became the “prime minister” of the short-lived “Finnish Democratic Republic” set up at Terijoki by Stalin's advancing Red Army. Claiming to be the legitimate Finnish government, Kuusinen's regime never succeeded in establishing control over all of Finland and disbanded already in 1940. Instead, the territories occupied by the Soviets were amalgamated with Soviet Karelia to form the “Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic”, a “republic” of the USSR. Kuusinen was appointed head of the new republic, but far more important was his position as member of the Politburo, the highest leadership body of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. In plain English, Kuusinen worked directly under Stalin himself, which may explain why not even the Finlandized Finland after World War II wanted him back! The old traitor had to remain in Moscow.

This particular pamphlet was published in 1944. Originally in Russian, the English translation is published by a British group which un-ironically called itself “Russia Today” or “The Russia Today Society”. (I assume “Russia Today” was a Soviet magazine.) In 1941, Finland had joined with Hitler's Germany in its attack on Stalin's USSR. After the Nazi defeat at Stalingrad, however, the Finns began to seek a way out of the war. My guess is that Kuusinen's text was reprinted in Britain by Communist sympathizers who didn't want Western public opinion to look favorably on Finland in the event of a Finnish break with the Nazis. Kuusinen says that the leaders of Finland “shall answer for their crimes with their heads”, wants “a secure guarantee” that Finland never attacks Russia again, and calls on the Finnish people to overthrow the government by force. All code for Communist invasion…

It's interesting to note that the introduction to this edition was written by Ivor Montagu, a British filmmaker and Communist who was briefly also a Soviet spy (according to the Venona transcripts). In an oblique way (“somehow Finnish democracy must be made real not fake, somehow Finland must become a good neighbor”), he too calls for the Sovietization of the country.

The pamphlet itself is relatively uninteresting, essentially a rendering of Finnish interwar history from a Communist perspective, with the Hitler-Stalin pact thrown down the memory hole. Yet, it was this pact which triggered the Winter War and led to the formation of the Terijoki government! Not the most interesting read around, and I only give it two stars.

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