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CHOICE? VALINTA! VYBOR... North American Finns in Soviet Karelia exhibition opened in Joensuu within the framework of the XIIIth Russian-Finnish Cultural Forum

Minister of Culture and Sport of Finland Paavo Arhinmäki, Minister of Culture of the Republic of Karelia Elena Bogdanova and representative of the administration of Joensuu supervising the sphere of culture Jaana Puumalainen opened the exhibition. The Russian deputy minister of culture Alla Manilova, Head of Petrozavodsk urban district Nikolay Levin and other forum participants have visited the exhibition. The most welcome guests were Ruth Niskanen and Eine Sunell-Izotova, residents of Joensuu from among the families of North American Finns whose fortunes the exhibition coveres.

Minister of Culture of Karelia Elena Bogdanova opens the exhibition

Minister of Culture of Karelia Elena Bogdanova opens the exhibition

The exhibition is devoted to the contribution of North American Finns to economic, cultural, and social development of Karelia in the 1930s. Appearance of the Soviet Union on a political map of the world in the beginning of the XXth century has caused a new phenomenon of ideologically-based migration when tens of thousands of people attracted by the idea of "a just socialist society" gravitated toward the USSR. One of the most significant groups of immigrants were the Finns moving from Finland, the USA, Canada and Sweden to the Soviet Karelia headed in 1920-1935 by Edvard Gylling and other Finnish political emigrants. By the middle of the 1930s about one half of immigrants (6,500 people) were Finns who have come to the republic from the USA and Canada.

Overall view of the exhibition

Overall view of the exhibition

The basis of the display is formed by documents and photos from the collection of the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia and family archives. Documents on history of families have been granted by V.Hakala, T.Petrova, S.Mäki, A.Dalberg, S.Sevander, S.Koski. The National Museum of the Republic of Karelia has presented at the exhibition some articles that used to belong to American Finns, as well as paintings and water colors by German artist Henry Fogeler who worked in Karelia in the 1930s. At the exhibition the museum of North Karelia has presented photographs, documents and articles from family archives of North American Finns living in Finland.

The exhibition in Carelicum center will run through February 3, 2013. After displaying it in Joensuu the exhibition organizers plan to bring it to the Lenin Museum of Tampere and other towns of Finland. Citizens of Petrozavodsk will see it next year.

The exhibition has been prepared by the National Museum of the Republic of Karelia and the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia in cooperation with the Museum of North Karelia (Joensuu, Finland).

The exhibition curators are Denis Kuznetsov, deputy director of the National museum of the Republic of Karelia, Elena Usachyov, chief of the department of use and publication of documents of the National Archive of the Republic of Karelia, and Ulla Härkonen, officer of the Museum of North Karelia.

Related links:
About the exhibition in Finnish
Carelicum center
Russian-Finnish Cultural Forum

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Created: October 12, 2012. Last updated: October 15, 2012.
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