Studia Historica Septentrionalia 63


Heikki Roiko-Jokela, The randomness of life.

When the Winter-war broke out many habitants of Juntusranta in Suomussalmi were trapped as civilians in the warzone since their evacuation failed.

Encounters with Russian/Soviet soldiers became unavoidable. Incidents happened very randomly: whether you were “the right person in a right place at the right time” or “the wrong person in a wrong place at the wrong time”.

According to the collective memory of the Juntusranta people, the incidents were unintentional – usually there was no terror by the Soviet soldiers towards the civilians.

The attitude of Finnish people towards the Soviet soldiers was based on this: after initial suspicions and fears the civilians got used to them. The majority did not care of them and the daily life went on as usual – in as much as it was possible in the middle of the war.

How about after the war? What was most prominent in people’s collective memory?

It seems that when the war was over people did not recall those events. People did discuss the visits of the Russian soldiers but single events were forgotten. The relief when the war ended was great and life gradually returned to the normal. Decades later, after the Soviet Union collapsed, discussion about the war experiences cropped up.

Takaisin Studia Historica Septentrionalia 63