A1 Journal article (refereed)
The role of Finnish leftists in Soviet-Finnish artistic exchanges during the late socialist period (2020)

Mikkonen, S. (2020). The role of Finnish leftists in Soviet-Finnish artistic exchanges during the late socialist period. Scandinavian Journal of History, 45(4), 527-546. https://doi.org/10.1080/03468755.2019.1632738

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Mikkonen, Simo

Journal or series: Scandinavian Journal of History

ISSN: 0346-8755

eISSN: 1502-7716

Publication year: 2020

Volume: 45

Issue number: 4

Pages range: 527-546

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/03468755.2019.1632738

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/66098


The article examines artistic exchanges between the USSR and Finland from the viewpoint of the Finnish left. After WWII, Finland was in a difficult geopolitical position; although not occupied by the USSR, it received little support from the West and so remained an independent capitalist democracy, with little foreign leverage. The Soviet influence was felt in many areas, and throughout the Cold War, Finland received many more world-class Soviet artists than any other Western country. This was in part a consequence of Finland’s proximity to the USSR, but the Finnish Communist Party, a major domestic political force, also played a role. Immediately after the war, organizations associated with the Finnish Communist Party enjoyed a virtual monopoly over such exchanges, but this began to change in the mid-1950s. Around that time, the USSR began to allow Finnish artists to train and perform at its world-class arenas, and many of those Finnish students had links with the political left. Based on interviews and supported by archival material from Finland and Russia, the article explores the role of the Finnish left in these artistic exchanges.

Keywords: Cold War; communism; culture; art; artists; left-wing movements; history; political history

Free keywords: Cold War; communism; Soviet Union; cultural Cold War; art

Contributing organizations

Related projects

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2020

JUFO rating: 3

Last updated on 2021-07-07 at 21:35