September 3, 2017

Research on Finnish and Soviet hybrid warfare operations 1939–1940 published by Hybrid CoE Helsinki

Most Finns know the terms “Shootings of Mainila” (in Finnish “Mainilan laukaukset”) and “Government of Terijoki” (“Terijoen hallitus”). The former refers to the 26 November 1939 alleged border incident at the Russian town of Mainila, four days before the Winter War between Soviet Union and Finland started, and the latter refers to the puppet cabinet of “People’s Republic of Finland”, consisting of famous Finnish emigree communists, and established at the Finnish town of Terijoki, that was taken by the Red Army during first days of the Winter War. However, until now, the Finnish historians have merely refused to study the whole essence of these historical events.

This book offers the first well-based historical research on the events depicted above, based on archive documents and research from both countries. Regarding the “Shootings of Mainila”, it is clear, that the Soviet Union accused Finland of the 26 November 1939 border incident with artillery shootings, but there is no clear evidence that these shootings ever happened. On the contrary, the Finnish army fabricated an investigation, claiming unfoundedly that the Red Army soldiers had shot themselves in order to create casus belli against Finland. However, as this study shows, there is no direct evidence that the “shootings of Mainila” ever existed and that this incident had any crucial role in the becoming war.

The Finnish history professor Ohto Manninen has claimed in his article published in 1992, that he allegedly found evidence of “Shootings of Mainila” in Russian archives. Some Finnish journalists still believe Manninen had “proved” the Finnish version. However, as this study clearly shows, Manninen erroneously misinterpreted an archive document, reading the Russian word “execution” (rasstrel) instead of “transceiver” (ratsija), that was written in Zhdanov’s handwriting, although, even the misread word would not produce any evidence on what Manninen claims. This serious error made Manninen to claim the Mainila incident did exist and was orchestrated by Zhdanov, although the document in question has nothing to do with the Mainila incident.

Regarding the “Government of Terijoki”, the Finnish historians have merely refused to study the case and continued to fabricate the claim that the goal of such puppet cabinet made of Finnish communists was to occupy the whole of Finland. However, as this study shows the “Government of Terijoki”, in today’s terms, can be understood as a local peace-keeping operation in order to stop the war, merely than an attempt to occupy the whole of Finland, while it was very clear for the Soviet side as well, that the Finnish puppet cabinet would not have any significant support among Finns.

What the “Government of Terijoki” actually did, was to sign with the Soviet Union a peace treaty, that later became the model of the successful 1948 Soviet-Finnish Agreement of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, which was substituted by the 1992 Russian-Finnish neighbourhood treaty, which effectively hinders Finland to join NATO and is supported by majority of Finns. Actually, the first peace treaty signed by the “Government of Terijoki”, laid the foundation of the successful relations between the two countries until the present day.

It is much less known, that during the Winter War, Finland planned to destabilize the Soviet Union by establishing her own Russian emigree puppet government on the territory of Russian town Reboly, occupied then by the Finnish army. The plan was to invite Alexander Kerensky or Lev Trotsky to lead this Russian puppet cabinet. During the Winter War, Finland also launched an attempt to create a Russian people’s army under that government to fight the Soviets. As known, Trotsky was assassinated by NKVD the same year.

To use today’s terms, the “Shootings of Mainila” is a Finnish hybrid operation, in order to fabricate evidence for the Finnish public and political leaders, claiming without any evidence that on 26 November 1939 the Red Army killed their own soldiers, and in this way, to legitimize Finnish aggression against the Soviet Union. In addition, Finland planned to invite Trotsky or Kerensky to lead Russian emigree government on territory occupied by Finland, and to gather a Russian people’s army under this government, to free Russia from the Soviets, which in today’s terms, was a Machiavellian hybrid war operation, aimed at destabilizing territorially the biggest country in the human history.

On the other hand, the “Government of Terijoki”, in today’s terms, was a Soviet hybrid operation, in order to swiftly create conditions to stop the war and find peace by means of psychologically influencing the Finnish leadership with the help of a puppet cabinet consisting of Finnish communist emigres. Despite the fact that the “Government of Terijoki” actually did not function at all as a government, and only signed the peace treaty, it still has very strong influence on the Finnish mindset and historical consciousness, thus the influence of that hybrid operation still continues.




Publication information:


The People’s Government of Finland 1939–1940: The True History

Helsinki Center of Excellence for Counteracting Hybrid Threats

Publication Series No. 2

457 pages

ISBN 978-952-5412-64-2

Helsinki 2017

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