Original title: Stalin ja Suomen kohtalo
Author: Kimmo Rentola
Genre: Narrative Nonfiction
English manuscript in February 2023
A meticulously-researched insight into critical points in the history of relations between Finland and the Soviet Union
Professor Kimmo Rentola explores Stalin’s invasion of Finland in the Winter War, and the decade of fraught Soviet-Finnish relations that followed, including Finland’s exit from World War Two and a possible coup in 1948. This is a dramatic reconstruction of the Nordic republic’s unlikely survival, at a time when its very existence was at stake.
How did Finland evade Joseph Stalin’s crosshairs three times? Did Stalin have a special relationship with Finland and the Finns? Why didn’t he continue the Soviet onslaught on Finland during the Winter War in 1940? Why did the dictator back down from his aspirations and demands towards Finland during the peace negotiations in 1944? Why did 1948 remain the year of an unfulfilled coup in Finland? The answer lies in the relations between Finland and Russia which remain highly timely to this day.
Joseph Stalin has been one of the individuals with the most influence on the history of independent Finland. There are few who have made so many far-reaching decisions as Stalin: he decreed the beginning and the end of the Winter War, the Moscow Armistice of 1944 that ended the Continuation War was signed with his authorization, and when, in 1948, it was time to decide whether Finland would become a ‘people’s republic’ or not, he initially pushed forward but eventually backed down. All of these decisions can be seen as pivotal to the fate of Finland, its society, its independence, the life and death of the Finnish people.
“HOW FINLAND SURVIVED STALIN is a masterfully written and elegant work of historical nonfiction. The reader experiences the critical moments for Finland so closely it is startling. Rentola’s precise and compact narration deepens and widens the understanding of Finland’s fateful years.”
- Lauri Jäntti Prize jury
FINLAND: Otava (orig.)
GREECE: Papadopoulos Publishers
WORLD ENGLISH: Yale University Press