Communist Party of Finland

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Communist Party of Finland

Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue
Founded29 August 1918 (1918-08-29)
Dissolved1992 (1992)
Split from Social Democratic Party of Finland
Succeeded by
Youth wing Young Communist League of Finland
Political position Far-left
National affiliation Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL)
International affiliation Comintern

The Communist Party of Finland (Finnish : Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue; Swedish : Finlands Kommunistiska Parti; abbreviated SKP) was a communist political party in Finland. The SKP was a section of Comintern and illegal in Finland until 1944.

Finnish language language arising and mostly spoken in Finland

Finnish is a Finnic language spoken by the majority of the population in Finland and by ethnic Finns outside Finland. Finnish is one of the two official languages of Finland ; Finnish is also an official minority language in Sweden. In Sweden, both Standard Finnish and Meänkieli, a Finnish dialect, are spoken. The Kven language, a dialect of Finnish, is spoken in Northern Norway by a minority group of Finnish descent.

Swedish language North Germanic language spoken in Sweden

Swedish is a North Germanic language spoken natively by 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden, and in parts of Finland, where it has equal legal standing with Finnish. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and to some extent with Danish, although the degree of mutual intelligibility is largely dependent on the dialect and accent of the speaker. Both Norwegian and Danish are generally easier for Swedish speakers to read than to listen to because of difference in accent and tone when speaking. Swedish is a descendant of Old Norse, the common language of the Germanic peoples living in Scandinavia during the Viking Era. It has the most speakers of the North Germanic languages.

A political party is an organized group of people who have the same ideology, or who otherwise have the same political positions, and who field candidates for elections, in an attempt to get them elected and thereby implement the party's agenda.


The SKP did not participate in any elections with its own name. Instead, front organisations were used. In the 1920s the communists took part in the Socialist Workers' Party of Finland (1920–1923) and the Socialist Electoral Organisation of Workers and Smallholders (1924–1930). Both were banned by the state. In 1944, a new front, Finnish People's Democratic League was formed. The SKP controlled these fronts but they always had a prominent minority of non-communist socialists.

Socialist Workers' Party of Finland was a Finnish political party in the early 1920s. The SSTP consisted of radical leftists who split from the Social Democratic Party of Finland after the Finnish Civil War of 1918. The banned Communist Party of Finland (SKP) was the main force behind the party but other socialists were also involved. The SSTP was banned in 1923 and its leading members, including 27 members of parliament, were jailed. The party was succeeded by the Socialist Electoral Organisation of Workers and Smallholders (1924–1930).

Finnish Peoples Democratic League political party

Finnish People's Democratic League was a Finnish political organisation with the aim of uniting those left of the Finnish Social Democratic Party. It was founded in 1944 as the anti-communist laws in Finland were repealed due to the demands of the Soviet Union, and lasted until 1990, when it merged into the newly formed Left Alliance. At its time, SKDL was one of the largest leftist parties in capitalist Europe, with its main member party, the Communist Party of Finland, being one of the largest communist parties west of the Iron Curtain. The SKDL enjoyed its greatest electoral success in the 1958 parliamentary election, when it gained a support of approximately 23 per cent and a representation of 50 MPs of 200 total, making it the largest party in the Eduskunta.


Early stages

In 1918 the Reds lost the Finnish Civil War. The Social Democratic Party of Finland had supported the losing side, and several of its leaders were exiled in the Soviet Russia. Some of these exiles founded the Communist Party of Finland in Moscow.

Finnish Peoples Delegation government formed by the Reds in the Finnish Civil War

The Finnish People's Delegation was a governmental body, created by a group of members in the Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP), to serve as the Government of the Red Guards during the Finnish Civil War. The chair of the Delegation was the former Speaker of the Parliament Kullervo Manner.

Finnish Civil War 1918 civil war in Finland

The Finnish Civil War was a conflict in 1918 for the leadership and control of Finland during the country's transition from a Grand Duchy of the Russian Empire to an independent state. The clashes took place in the context of the national, political, and social turmoil caused by World War I in Europe. The civil war was fought between the Reds, led by a section of the Social Democratic Party, and the Whites, conducted by the conservative-based Senate and the German Imperial Army. The paramilitary Red Guards, composed of industrial and agrarian workers, controlled the cities and industrial centres of southern Finland. The paramilitary White Guards, composed of farmers, along with middle-class and upper-class social strata, controlled rural central and northern Finland.

Social Democratic Party of Finland registered political party in Finland

The Social Democratic Party of Finland, shortened to the Social Democrats, is a social-democratic political party in Finland. The party is the largest party in the Finland's parliament with 40 seats. The party has set many fundamental policies of Finnish society during its representation in the Finnish Government. Founded in 1899, the SDP is Finland's oldest active political party. The SDP has a close relationship with Finland's largest trade union, SAK, and is a member of the Socialist International, the Party of European Socialists, and SAMAK.

The SKP was illegal in Finland until 1944, and members could be imprisoned. After the Continuation War the SKP dominated the Finnish People's Democratic League, which was founded in 1944 as an umbrella organization of the radical left wing.

Ida Maria Hämäläinen was a Finnish seamstress and politician. She was a member of the Parliament of Finland from 1927 to 1929, representing the Socialist Electoral Organisation of Workers and Smallholders. She was imprisoned from 1930 to 1932 because of her active role in the then illegal Communist Party of Finland (SKP).

Continuation War 1941–1944 war by Finland and Germany against the Soviet Union

The Continuation War was a conflict fought by Finland and Nazi Germany, as co-belligerents, against the Soviet Union (USSR) from 1941 to 1944, during World War II. In Russian historiography, the war is called the Soviet–Finnish Front of the Great Patriotic War. Germany regarded its operations in the region as part of its overall war efforts on the Eastern Front and provided Finland with critical material support and military assistance.

An umbrella organization is an association of institutions, who work together formally to coordinate activities or pool resources. In business, political, or other environments, one group, the umbrella organization, provides resources and often an identity to the smaller organizations. Sometimes in this kind of arrangement, the umbrella organization is to some degree responsible for the groups under its care.

Cold War

The era of the Cold War was the "golden age" of Communists in Finland. Between 1944 and 1979 support of the Finnish People's Democratic League was in the range of 17%–24%. Communists participated in several cabinets, but Finland never had a communist Prime Minister or President. In the mid 1960s the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 40 000 (1.44% of the working age population). [1] with the SKP's main rival for domination of the political left being the Social Democratic Party of Finland. The competition was very bitter in trade unions and other leftist organizations.

Cold War Geopolitical tension after World War II between the Eastern and Western Bloc

The Cold War was a period of geopolitical tension between the Soviet Union with its satellite states, and the United States with its allies after World War II. A common historiography of the conflict begins between 1946, the year U.S. diplomat George F. Kennan's "Long Telegram" from Moscow cemented a U.S. foreign policy of containment of Soviet expansionism threatening strategically vital regions, and the Truman Doctrine of 1947, and ending between the Revolutions of 1989, which ended communism in Eastern Europe as well as in other areas, and the 1991 collapse of the USSR, when nations of the Soviet Union abolished communism and restored their independence. The term "cold" is used because there was no large-scale fighting directly between the two sides, but they each supported major regional conflicts known as proxy wars. The conflict split the temporary wartime alliance against Nazi Germany and its allies, leaving the USSR and the US as two superpowers with profound economic and political differences.

President of Finland Finlands head of state

The President of the Republic of Finland is the head of state of Finland. Under the Constitution of Finland, executive power is vested in the President and the Finnish Government, with the former possessing only residual powers. The President is directly elected by universal suffrage for a term of six years. Since 1991, no President may be elected for more than two consecutive terms. The President must be a Finnish citizen by birth. The Presidential office was established in the Constitution Act of 1919. Since March 1, 2012, the President of Finland has been Sauli Niinistö. In May 2017, Niinistö announced that he would seek re-election in the 2018 presidential election, running as an independent candidate. NCP and the Christian Democrat Party supported his candidacy. He won re-election in the first round on 28 January 2018 with 62.7% of the vote and his second term began on 1 February 2018.

A trade union is an association of workers forming a legal unit or legal personhood, usually called a "bargaining unit", which acts as bargaining agent and legal representative for a unit of employees in all matters of law or right arising from or in the administration of a collective agreement. Labour unions typically fund the formal organization, head office, and legal team functions of the labour union through regular fees or union dues. The delegate staff of the labour union representation in the workforce are made up of workplace volunteers who are appointed by members in democratic elections.

The SKP received substantial financial support from the Soviet Union during the Cold War ( Rentola 1997 , p. 177). Internally, SKP was divided, with a Eurocommunist mainstream and a hardline Pro-Moscow minority, called the Taistoists after their leader, Taisto Sinisalo. The word "taisto" also means "battle" or "fight"; the double connotation made this slur, originally launched by the largest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat , stick. Soviet threats to withdraw support were the main reason why reformists didn't expel the Taistoists from the party leadership or membership.[ citation needed ]

Soviet Union 1922–1991 country in Europe and Asia

The Soviet Union, officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR), was a socialist state in Eurasia that existed from 1922 to 1991. Nominally a union of multiple national Soviet republics, its government and economy were highly centralized. The country was a one-party state, governed by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital in its largest republic, the Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic. Other major urban centres were Leningrad, Kiev, Minsk, Alma-Ata, and Novosibirsk. It spanned over 10,000 kilometres east to west across 11 time zones, and over 7,200 kilometres north to south. It had five climate zones: tundra, taiga, steppes, desert and mountains.

Taistoism was an orthodox pro-Soviet tendency in the mostly Eurocommunist Finnish communist movement in the 1970s and 1980s. The Taistoists were an interior opposition group in the Communist Party of Finland. They were named after their leader Taisto Sinisalo whose first name means "a battle", "a fight" or "a struggle". Sinisalo's supporters constituted a party within a party, but pressure from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union prevented the party from formally splitting. The term taistolaisuus was a derogatory nickname invented by Helsingin Sanomat and was never used by the group themselves. Although they were sometimes identified as "Stalinists", this was not a central part of their orthodoxy.

Taisto Jalo Sinisalo was a Finnish communist politician, MP of the SKDL (1962–1978), leader of the Communist Party of Finland’s hardline pro-Soviet faction and vice chairman of the party (1970–1982). After the SKP split in the 1980s, Sinisalo became the first chairman of the Communist Party of Finland (Unity) (SKPy).

Aftermaths of the Prague Spring

The events of the Prague Spring followed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia had strong repercussions on the SKP. With the SKP's leadership strongly denouncing the Soviets' invasion, the internal disputes became fiercer than ever. While the de facto Eurocommunist majority faction had always supported third-way policies, the Taistoist minority decisively stood by the Soviet Union and the Brezhnev doctrine. [2] Gradually this led to a disintegration, and in practice, the party now consisted of two parallel structures, and gradually lost ground in terms of public support. [3] The most hardline-leader of the party, Markus Kainulainen, led a group that even opposed Soviet policies after the Perestroika had begun.

In 1985–1986 a large number of Taistoists, hundreds of party organizations with thousands of members, were expelled. They regrouped as Communist Party of Finland (Unity) (SKPy) which later evolved into the current Communist Party of Finland (1994).


The dissolution of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s led to ideological conflicts: bitter internal disputes plagued the party. Bad stock-market investments made during Aalto's term of office resulted in financial bankruptcy in 1992. The SKP never recovered. A majority of the party members, with other member-organizations of SKDL, formed the Left Alliance in 1990.

SKPy, originally the faction of the party expelled in 1985–1986, outlasted its parent and registered itself as the Communist Party of Finland in 1997, but has failed to regain the former Communist Party's parliamentary representation. In the elections of 2007 it won 0.7% of the vote; in April 2011, it won 0.3%. [4]

Youth wing

The youth wing of the SKP was the Communist Youth League of Finland (SKNL, 1925–1936). After World War II young communists were active in the SKDL's Democratic Youth League of Finland (SNDL). The SNDL was member of World Federation of Democratic Youth.


Yrjö Sirola 1918–1920
Kullervo Manner 1920–1935
Hannes Mäkinen 1935–1937 [5]
Jukka Lehtosaari 1937–1938 [5]
Aimo Aaltonen 1944–1945 &
Aaro Uusitalo 1945–1948
Aarne Saarinen 1966–1982
Jouko Kajanoja 1982–1984
Arvo Aalto 1984–1988
Jarmo Wahlström 1988–1990
Heljä Tammisola 1990–1992
  General secretaries
Arvo Tuominen 1935–1940
Ville Pessi 1944–1969
Arvo Aalto 1969–1977 &
Erkki Kivimäki 1977–1981
Aarno Aitamurto 1984–1985
Esko Vainionpää 1985–1988
Heljä Tammisola 1988–1990
Asko Mäki 1990–1992

See also

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  1. Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H. Communism and Economic Development , in the American Political Science Review, vol. 62, no. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 122.
  2. Tuomioja, Erkki (2008). "The Effects of the Prague Spring in Europe" . Retrieved 2015-01-02.
  3. Jakobson, Max (1998). "The Communist Split". Finland in the New Europe. CSIS Washington Papers. Westport, Conn.: Praeger. pp. 77ff. ISBN   0-275-96372-1.
  4. 9.232 of 2.939.571 (Ministry of Justice Finland Archived 2011-04-20 at the Wayback Machine )
  5. 1 2 Joni Krekola: Stalinismin lyhyt kurssi (SKS 2006), p. 108.