The Soviet Union and Soviet citizens in Finnish magazines


  • Tuija Saarinen Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland



Yellow magazines, Cold War, the Iron Curtain, Finlandization, Narration.


The focus of this article’s is to study Finnish popular journalism in 1970s and 1980s. A magazine studied in this article is Hymy (Smile), and it has been estimated that in the beginning of 1970s approximately the whole literary population of Finland read it. The purpose of this study is to analyze the different images Hymy created and published of the Soviet Union and the Soviet citizens. The central research question analyzes what kinds of issues Hymy published about the Soviet Union and its citizens before 1991. This study gives special attention to the reasons why the articles were written in the first place, and secondly, what was the nature of their content.

       Hymy published 224 articles on the Soviet Union. The articles were mostly written in the spirit of criticism – not in the spirit of “friendship of the peoples” that was the official political stance of Finland toward the Soviet Union. Magazines had to be aware of the official Finnish political rhetoric concerning the relationship with the Soviet Union. Hymy as a popular magazine found a way to evade the official mandate. In Hymy, people were able to read anti-Soviet sentiments without any censoring. Therefore, Hymy not only provided its readers views and beliefs that expressed the popular beliefs and values, but also sympathized with them. The Cold War era in the 1970s and 1980s was still a post-traumatic period for Finns. The magazine Hymy was an important channel to publish stories on painful, embarrassing, and tragic subjects.

Author Biography

Tuija Saarinen, Karelian Institute, University of Eastern Finland

Tuija Saarinen, Ph.D., works as a project researcher in the Karelian Institute of the University of Eastern Finland. She is studying the yellow magazine’s narration of the Soviet Union during the Cold War period in Finland. She is interested in the political culture of Cold War both in Finland and the Soviet Union.




How to Cite

Saarinen, Tuija. 2014. “The Soviet Union and Soviet Citizens in Finnish Magazines”. Nordlit, no. 31 (July):91-108.