The Winter War between Finland and Russia, which ended with a War Treaty in 1940, demonstrated this clearly. The Russians had ten times the soldiers, thirty times the aircraft and a hundred times as many tanks. But, Stalin’s great Russian army lacked experienced leadership: many of its higher-ranking officers, due to Stalin’s Great Purge in 1937, had been executed or imprisoned – a series of events that is arguably bad for the morale of those troops still left fighting the battle. Finland, on the other hand, had a much smaller yet more determined army defending its rights as an independent nation, and as a result were able to hold off the Red Army of Russia much longer than anyone, including themselves, ever expected. My guess is that it has something to do with the skiing skills all Finns begin to learn starting at age two, the adaptation to cold and uncomfortable winters, and the determination that “they could not become Russian” that gave them the necessary sisu to stand up and hold off the invaders.
As a result of the Winter War, Russia, its reputation greatly battered and suffering high losses, nevertheless gained a buffer for Leningrad. Finland maintained independence and a enjoyed a higher appreciation and reputation internationally for standing up to the Russian Bear.
But Finland did lose something: 11% of it’s territory (Finnish Karelia) and 30% of its economic assets were given to the Russians during the signing of the War Treaty of 1940. 12% of its population, the Karelians who lived in the newly lost territory: 415,000 people, moved to other regions in Finland rather than live under Russian rule. The government of Finland offered these migrant citizens compensations for their losses:
- the resettlers were subsidized. Families were allocated land in proportion to their former property. Everyone evacuated from Karelia had the right to receive a homestead. City-dwellers and business-owners were given a monetary compensation. The right to homestead was extended also to other groups: veterans of war, widows and orphans of war.
- the private owners of the land given to resettlers were monetarily compensated for the loss of real estate.
|Kneading and Shaping|
|Ready to roll…|
|Into the oven|
|Work in progress|
Walk into any coffee shop anywhere in Finland, or take a look into the bakery cases of any grocery store or bakery window, and you are sure to see the beautifully shaped rye pastries, filled with rice pudding and brushed with butter, waiting to be consumed by the millions in Finland every year. These delicious morsels come in small and large sizes, sometimes enhanced with carrot cooked into the rice pudding or barley flour replacing the rye. They are sometimes served up with egg butter, sometimes with pickled herring or a slice of cold smoked salmon, a dollop of sour cream or creme fraiche and dill, or served up plain and delicious, exactly as they come. You can buy them in bulk in the freezer section to bake at home, from the local church and school bazaars, and find them in nearly every home you visit. These are at once a delicacy and a staple in Finnish life.
While the pies are baking, melt the butter. Remove the pies from the oven, place on a cooling rack, and brush the entire surface and edges of the pies lightly with melted butter. Allow to cool.