Karelia: A Place of Memories and Utopias


Karelia is a vast inhabited area in northern Europe. The Winter War of 1939-40 and the so-called Continuation War (1941-44) were both followed by the loss of large areas of Karelia to the Soviet Union in 1944 and the resettlement of 407,000 Karelians in different parts of Finland. This article focuses on how a lost Karelia has been constructed as a utopian place in Finland after the wars of 1939?44. I present an interpretation that is defined on the one hand by the experience of place in Karelian exiles’ reminiscences, and on the other hand by an ideological dream of the restoration of Karelia that persists in Finland.

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