Life phases of Finns in Russia after the October Revolution in 1917 - extensive research project to be launched by the National Archives

The National Archives will launch a five-year research project in September 2020 on the phases of life of Finns in Russia after the October Revolution of 1917. The project plan is based on an assessment of research needs submitted by the National Archives of Finland to the Prime Minister's Office in January this year.

Before the October Revolution in Russia in 1917, there were approximately 400,000 people classified as Finns based on their language or ethnic background living in the Russian Empire, excluding the Grand Duchy of Finland. The study will focus on the history of Finns settled in different regions and the phases of their lives. The plan is to examine the phases of those who moved to Russia, those who were settled there and those who returned from Russia as meticulously as possible. Data will be collected from 1917 up to 1964, the end of the Nikita Khrushchev’s period as Secretary-General of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. Khrushchev was a member of Joseph Stalin's close circle and became his successor. 

The project will create an interactive database of Finns and their biography data in Russia since the October Revolution of 1917, as well as documents and photographs on them and related to them. It will produce much additional information on the phases and situation of Finns in the Soviet Union as well as on events and population resettlements during the Stalin era. The project and the related research work will also serve international historical research.

The project will be carried out using material in the archives of Russia and the former Soviet Union. The project budget totals EUR two million and will run from 1 September 2020 to 31 December 2025. The research project will be financed by the Prime Minister's Office.

The Prime Minister's Office has appointed a steering group for the research project, which is chaired by Timo Lankinen, Permanent State Under-Secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office. The other members of the steering group are Permanent State Secretary Matti Anttonen from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Assistant Professor Katri Pynnöniemi from the National Defence University and Professor Kimmo Rentola from the University of Helsinki.  The National Archives will set up a scientific monitoring group to support the project and will invite researchers to apply based on an open call for applicants. The project's initial call for researcher applicants will open in August 2020. 

Jussi Nuorteva, Director-General, National Archives of Finland, tel.  +358 40 592 5131 Päivi Happonen, Research Director, National Archives of Finland, tel. +358 50 468 8762, Timo Lankinen, Permanent State Under-Secretary, Prime Minister's Office, tel. +358 29 5160 300          

Government of Finland, Press release 21.8.2020