Aleksi Mainio: Terroristien pesä. Suomi ja taistelu Venäjästä 1918-1939. [Terrorist lair. Finland and the fight for Russia 1918-1939.]

29 June 2015 | Mini reviews, Reviews

terroristien-pesaAleksi Mainio
Terroristien pesä. Suomi ja taistelu Venäjästä 1918-1939. [Terrorist lair. Finland and the fight for Russia 1918-1939.]
Helsinki: Siltala, 2015. 380pp., ill.
ISBN 987-952-234-288-1
€34.95, hardback

After the October Revolution in Russia in 1917 and the rise of the Bosheviks to power, thousands of their opponents fled the country. The historian Aleksi Mainio’s book describes how many of the emigrants, who represented not only monarchists but many other ideologies, attempted to act against Soviet Russia through espionage and even terrorism from Finland and partly with funding from western powers. Their fighting organisations sent intelligence officers and bomb squads across the eastern border, often admittedly with poor results as the organisations had often been infiltrated by Soviet-sympathising double agents. The Tartu peace treaty between Finland and Russia, subsequently the Soviet Union, was signed in 1920. Nevertheless, many officials of the security police and the military were prepared to approve the emigrants’ attempts to weaken Soviet Russia. Some counter-revolutionaries also acted as assistants to the Finnish or, for example, British intelligence services. On the other hand, Finnish officials put a stop where necessary to illegal activities by emigrants. Mainio’s book, which is based on his doctoral thesis, paints a fascinating picture of espionage activity in Finland between the wars, although the sheer volume of detail and characters pose a challenge to forming an overview of the situation.