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FORGING A SOCIALIST HOMELAND FROM MULTIPLE WORLDS: NORTH AMERICAN FINNS IN SOVIET KARELIA 1921-1938

 

 

Kitty Lam

 

Michigan State University, E-mail: lamkitt1@msu.edu

 

 

Abstract:

In the early 1930s, the Soviet Union recruited an estimated 6,000 Finns from North America to augment the number of skilled workers in the recently established Karelian Autonomous Republic. Using migrants' letters and memoirs held at the Immigration History Research Center, this essay examines how these North American Finns adapted and responded to fluctuating policies in the Soviet Union that originally flaunted the foreign workers as leaders in the Soviet modernization drive and as the vanguard for exporting revolution, but eventually condemned them as an enemy nation to be expunged. It also analyzes the extent to which these immigrants internalized 'building socialism' as part of their encounter with Soviet Karelia. Such an exploration requires assessing how these settlers’ ideological adaptation affected their experiences. This paper argues that by placing the North American Finns’ experience in the wider context of Soviet state building policies, these migrants’ identity formation involved participation in, avoidance of, and opposition to the terms of daily life that emerged within the purview of building socialism.

 

Rezumat:

La începutul anilor ’30, Uniunea Sovietica a recrutat un numar estimat la 6.000 de finlandezi din America de Nord pentru a mari numarul de muncitori calificati din Republica Autonoma Kareliana recent constituita. Prin folosirea scrisorilor si memoriilor imigrantilor pastrate la „Centrul pentru Cercetarea Istoriei Imigratiei” (Immigration History Research Center), acest articol examineaza modalitatea în care acesti finlandezi nord-amerciani s-au adaptat si au raspuns politicilor fluctuante din Uniunea Sovietica care initial i-au prezentat pe muncitorii straini drept lideri ai avântului sovietic de modernizare si ca avangarda în vederea exportului de revolutie, iar apoi i-au condamnat ca pe o natiune inamica care trebuie eliminata. Articolul analizeaza, de asemenea, masura în care acesti imigranti au interiorizat „constructia socialismului” ca parte a întâlnirii lor cu Karelia Sovietica. O asemenea investigatie necesita evaluarea modului în care adaptarea ideologica a acestor imigranti le-a afectat experientele lor de viata. Acest material argumenteaza ca prin plasarea experientei finlandezilor nord-americani în contextul mai larg al politicilor sovietice de constructie statala, formarea identitatii acestor imigranti a implicat concomitent participarea, evitarea si opozitia fata de situatiile vietii cotidiene nascute în procesul de constructie a socialismului.

 

Keywords: Finns; migration; socialism; nationalities; Karelia; Soviet Union; Stalinism; Finnish-Americans


07. Lam.pdf

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Call for papers

Seventh annual international conference on Baltic and Nordic Studies in Romania. Good governance in Romania and the Nordic and Baltic countries

Nicolae Iorga Institute of History of the Romanian Academy, Romania
November 24-25, 2016

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Vol. 7, issue 2 of The Romanian Journal of Baltic and Nordic Studies has been published online. Please, access it free of charge here


10.03.2016

INTENSIVE LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE SUMMER COURSE
Starting: in groups: from 1st to 13th of August. Individually courses are held all summer.
Duration of the course: The Course runs for 4-6 academic hours per day, with Language practice for 44 hours and Lithuanian history, literature and ethnology for 6 hours.
Languages of instruction: English, Russian, French, Italian, Lithuanian.
Place: in the center of Vilnius – Gediminas ave. 26.
Certification: students will receive a Lithuanian language Summer Course Certificate.
Separate groups for beginner, intermediate, and advanced students are planned.
During the courses various cultural program are planned: excursions in Lithuania, degustation of traditional Lithuanian dishes, ethno cultural events, visiting some museums, creative workshops with famous Lithuanian artists.
More information: http://lingualit.lt/…/lithuani…/intensyvus-vasaros-kursai-1/
LITHUANIAN LANGUAGE SUMMER COURSE FOR CHILDREN
Time: 1-12 of August, in groups. All summer indivual courses takes place.
Starting: in group on August 1-12. Individual courses are held all summer.
Duration: 20 acad. hours (10 days, 2 acad. hours per day).
Explaining languages: English, Russian, Lithuanian.
Place: Gediminas ave. 26, Vilnius.
Certificate: at the end of the course every participant will get the LINGUA LITUANICA certificate.
Classes take place in small groups.
On Saturdays it is possible to go to excursions with parents.
More information: http://lingualit.lt/…/lithuanian-language…/kursai-vaikams-1/
Registration to the courses: you can register to the courses by the internet, email: info@lingualit.lt or directly coming to the institute Gediminas ave. 26, Vilnius.

7 octombrie 2015

A aparut Norsk-Rumensk ordbok. Dictionar norvegian-roman, vol. 1, autori Arno Halvorsen si Crina Leon. Acesta poate fi consultat la biblioteca online a Asociatiei Romane pentru Studii Baltice si Nordice.

Dictionar norvegian roman vol 1