The Winter War Monument
Type: Physical memorial
Creator: Erkki Pullinen
Dedication year: 2003
Updated: 10/18/2010 10:28:25 PM
All images are copyright protected. © Suomussalmi commune except where otherwise stated. Published on www.war-memorial.net with kind permission from the Raatten Portti Museum.
About the Winter War Monument
The Winter War Monument, which is located in the county of Suomussalmi in central Finnland, is quite a remarkable memorial. In the middle of the woods very close to the Russian border, where some of the more ferocious battles in the Winter War was fought, a bilateral memorial to thousands of Finnish and Russian soldiers that fell in those battles was built in 2003. The project group declares on its web site that "The Winter War Monument will be a field clad with natural stones erected in the memory of every soldier that died in the battles around Suomussalmi. Memorial stones will be set to all soldiers - Finnish and Soviets (Russian, Ukrainian and of other nationalities). For every dead soldier there will be erected a memorial stone. About 20 000 memorial stones will be set. Total area of the Memorial will be around 30 000 - 40 000 square meters. The main goal of the project - development of the military history tourism in the participating countries". The memorial is only one part in a comprehensive joint effort between several Finnish and Russian institutions. This effort includes a cooperation between the museums Raatteen Portti Museum in Finnland and the Karelian State Museum, Medvezhegorsk’s State museum and the Russia Museum of Karelian front in Russia but also other forms of cooperations between historians, local politicians and the tourist industry.
All information about this project can be found at heninen.net/raatteentie/hanke/english.htm. For those who want to dig deeper into the history of the Winter War there are plenty of information, photos and documents to take part of. The web site also includes an online memorial where the names of around 2000 Finnish and Soviet soldiers are listed.
It is indeed noteworthy that Finnish and Russian scientists, politicians, veterans and historians have joined forces to bring attention to the region’s WWII trauma and make research into the fate of the civilians, troop movements and battles. The sixty-five years that has passed since the war took place, with all the changes the new times has brought to the countries in question, is perhaps a good measure for the time that is required for former enemies to agree on a joint commemorative ventures on a national level such as this. That this particular project is partly driven by business in the form of "military history tourism" might serve as a good explanation for its bilateralism, without making it less remarkable.
WINTER WAR MEMORIAL WEB SITE
POSTED BY JON BRUNBERG ON 10/5/2005blog comments powered by Disqus