"People of a special mould"?
International conference on comparative communist biography and prosopography
Manchester, 6th - 8th April 2001
Pirkko Kotila: Hertta Kuusinen - the leading communist woman in Finland in the
Hertta Kuusinen was the best-known character of the Communist Party of Finland (SKP)
and The Democratic League of the People of Finland (SKDL) during so called third republic
- after Finland's defeat in the war against the Soviet Union. Internationally, she was the
most famous - if some communist Finns were famous abroad on the whole - Finnish communist
together with her father Otto Wille Kuusinen. Otto Wille Kuusinen was also a well-known
person in the international communist movement, to the extend that he was not always
considered a Finn but a Soviet citizen. Hertta Kuusinen's role as a leading communist
personality is significant when compared to other countries: she was a woman who was the
symbol for the communist movement in one country.
The end of the Second World War in Finland was the truce on 19th September 1944. The
Communist Party of Finland had been forbidden and persecuted and could only act secretly.
In the autumn 1944, the Communist Party was re-accepted as a legal party.
Hertta Kuusinen and her husband Yrjö Leino (the couple married in 1945 and divorced five
years later) were natural leaders of the party. They negociated about the legal status of
The Communist Party with the Minister of Interior Affairs, Kaarlo Hillilä of the Agrarian
Party. Yrjö Leino was appointed as Minister on Social Affairs the same autumn, whereas
Hertta Kuusinen was appointed as a minister (without a ministry) in the spring 1948 after
The couple Leino-Kuusinen worked to the establish The Democratic League of the People of
Finland (SKDL), an organisation for cooperation between communists and other leftist and
pro-Soviet people in Finland. The communists and people's democrats worked together in the
parliament by name SKDL. Both Yrjö Leino and Hertta Kuusinen have named themselves as the
creators of the idea and the name of SKDL.
The political situation in Finland differed from other countries of the post-war Europe,
since Prime minister J.K. Paasikivi's government was able to organize a vote for a new
parliament very soon. The election was in March 1945 when the war was still going on in
parts of Europe. Hertta Kuusinen was freed from prison and, as many of her
prison-mates, she became a candidate in the parliamentary elections. She was elected a
member of the parliament in Uusimaa electoral district. Public at large did not know
Hertta Kuusinen that time. The Finns had been living in an atmosphere created by the civil
war (1918) and censorship during the Second World War. The communists were often
considered as traitors and Soviet allies. Hertta Kuusinen had been imprisoned for several
years for treason, and, what was perhaps even more questionable, she was the daughter of
Otto Wille Kuusinen who had acted as prime minister in Terijoki government backed by the
Soviet Union .
After the parliamentary elections of 1945, the three biggest parties - SKDL, the Social
Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) and the Agrarian Party formed a so called People's Front
Government. The biggest party was SKDL (49 of 200 members in the parliament). The
cooperation of the three big parties was not very successful and it ended after the
elections of 1948. After that, the communists and the people's democrats were in
opposition for 18 years. This period ended no before than 1966 when the social democrats
and people's democrats together with the Central Party (former Agrarian party) formed a
People's Front government again.
The Finnish Broadcasting Company had an important role in Hertta Kuusinen's political
career. There was a famous political radio talk show called "Pienoisparlamentti"
1-2 participants representing each parliamentary group and Hertta Kuusinen soon became a
well-known radio person. The "Grand Old Lady" of this talk show was Hella
Wuolijoki, a charismatic Estonian-born writer and businesswoman whose sister Salme Pekkala
acted in the labour movement of England in 1920-1921. The political opponents of Hertta
Kuusinen insisted that "Pienoisparlamentti" was an intrigue by Wuolijoki to
support Hertta Kuusinen's political career. She was the natural choice to represent her
party in this talk show for many years.
Hertta Kuusinen was a kind of a symbol for the communist movement in the Finnish public
life until the end of the 1960's. Se was often heard in radio, and, as television became
more common in Finland in the 1960's, also on TV. Quite often she was the only one from
her party, and the only woman among male politicians. In these public performances Hertta
Kuusinen had one female colleague, well-known and admired social democrat Martta
Salmela-Järvinen, but as a speaker Hertta Kuusinen was better than Salmela-Järvinen;
Hertta Kuusinen's voice and her way of speking were impressive whereas Salmela-Järvinen
had tension in her voice.
In 1945, soon after the parliamentary re-start of Communist Party and people's democrats,
Hertta Kuusinen was elected as chairman of her parliamentary group SKDL. She worked in
this position until 1966 when she was replaced by Aarne Saarinen, chairman of SKP. Hertta
Kuusinen's parliamentary career lasted for 26 years until the end of 1971 when she -
according to her own words - wanted to give her task to younger ones.
In Finnish scale, Hertta Kuusinen gained a remarkable amount of votes in most elections.
At that time there were about four million Finns, and everybody older than 21 had the
right to vote. In 1954, Hertta Kuusinen gained 10 344 votes which was a bit more than one
third of all votes the communists could get in Uusimaa electoral district. For example, K.
A. Fagerholm (presidential candidate for social democrats in 1956) gained 4 962 votes,
Martta Salmela-Järvinen 5 714 and the SDP party secretary Väinö Leskinen 5 427 votes in
the same district. In her last election in 1970, Hertta Kuusinen still gained 4 719 votes
in Helsinki. Comparing votes of earlier elections is problematic because the system was
different. In parliamentary elections in 1945 Hertta Kuusinen gained about 26 320 votes in
four different electoral districts; and in 1951 she gained 38 288 votes.
Hertta Kuusinen was elected as the chairwoman of the Women's International Democratic
Federation (WIDF) in 1969. After having finished her parliamentary career she worked there
full-time. She died in Moscow on 18th March 1974.
II Early years, life in the Soviet Union and the imprisoned life
Hertta Elina Kuusinen was born on 14th February 1904 in Luhanka, Central Finland, as
the second child of her parents, Saima and Otto Wille Kuusinen. The first-born of the
family had died as a baby. Hertta Kuusinen later got three brothers and one sister. Esa
was born in 1906, Riikka-Sisko 1908, Heikki 1911 and Taneli 1913. Heikki is still alive
and lives in Helsinki.
As a child Hertta Kuusinen lived in Helsinki and in Luhanka where her mother's family
lived. She was 14 years old when the civil war began in 1918. There are some written
documents about this period by Hertta Kuusinen in Kansan arkisto (People's Archives).
Hertta Kuusinen wanted to become a journalist, and during the civil war she edited a
family paper A Oksa in which she analysed her country's new independence in relation to
the Soviet-Russia and Germany. Hand-made family paper consisted of hand-written stories
and drawings. 1918 was a dramatic year in Hertta Kuusinen's life as her father Otto Wille
escaped to the Soviet-Russia together with some other members of the Red Government of
Finland (The People's Delegation) on the last days of civil war which had turned to be a
defeat for the Finnish reds.
Hertta Kuusinen lived with her mother, and went to secondary school for seven years in
Helsinki. She would have finished school in one year had she stayed in Finland. However,
together with her younger brother Esa, she moved to Moscow to live with her father in
1922. This decision had nothing to do with revolutionary ideas - Hertta missed her father
and, as her mother had been left alone with five children and very little money, Hertta
and Esa's move to Moscow was also a comfortable solution to the financial problems of the
The break-up of the family was hard for those who stayed in Finland. Riikka-Sisko followed
her brother and sister to Moscow in 1925. Mother Saima later inherited her family in
Luhanka and could afford university studies for Heikki and Taneli. Both did a scientific
degree in the University of Helsinki.
In his article "Kommunismin kahdeksan kohorttia" Finnish researcher Kimmo
Rentola writes that Hertta Kuusinen belonged to the so called "red orphans'
cohort" who were too young to take part in the revolution but old enough to see and
fully understand what happened. Even if Hertta Kuusinen was not orphan literally,
she suffered of "mental orphanage" from her father who was no longer able to
officially return to Finland. Otto Wille Kuusinen and his daughter had been sharing
hobbies in fields of music and litterature and they had been enjoying a satisfactory
companionship as mother Saima represented a strict education and disciplined upbringing.
Father was not able to act as an educator for his children.
Hertta Kuusinen's later dependency of her father can indeed be understood through her
childhood experiences. Otto Wille became a political idol for his daughter. He was a
counsellor whom his daughter never criticised - at least not in public. According to some
commentators, Hertta Kuusinen's political career was based only on the name of her famous
father. This claim is unreasonable, as I will show in my study. On my opinion, Hertta
Kuusinen was more impulsive, passionate and open-minded when compared to her cautious and
When compared to Moscow, Helsinki is a quiet, calm and tiny town. The change in lifestyle
must have been enormous for young Hertta Kuusinen. In Moscow, she lived in hotel Lux
together with the communist elites, and life in Lux was sometimes boisterous. Hertta
Kuusinen never accepted her father's marriage (Otto Wille was remarried in Moscow) to Aino
Hertta Kuusinen lived in Moscow until spring 1934. In 1932-33 she cooperated with the
communist underground movement in Germany. Se was a member of the Communist League of
Youth (Komsomol) in 1922-30 and a candidate member of the Communist Party of the Sovien
Union in 1928-30. In 1933, she was accepted as full member in both the Finnish Communist
Party and the Communist Party of the Sovien Union. In Moscow Hertta Kuusinen had an
education of a librarian and in 1922-26 she worked as a librarian for the Communist
International (CI) and Marx-Engels-Lenin institute. At the age of 22 she gave up this job
and began to work for Comintern.
Two years earlier, at the age of 20 she had became a mother. The father of her son
Jurkka (Jura) was Tuure Lehén, a Finnish-born red army officer and ideologist 11 years
older than Hertta Kuusinen. The couple divorced in 1933. Most of his life Jurkka was
separated from his mother and never met her again after 1934 when Hertta Kuusinen left for
Finland through Sweden. Jurkka died of an epidemic in 1942 in Ural as a factory worker
during the war against Nazi-Germany. We do not know for sure what all this meant for
Hertta Kuusinen. The loss of the only son must have been a hard experience, together with
self-accusations. In her written documents there are few pieces of information concerning
Jurkka. Mother Saima wrote in one of her last letters to her imprisoned daughter in the
spring 1939 that the family could try to get Jurkka to Finland for at least a few months
in the summer. But after being freed from prison Hertta Kuusinen soon met her great love,
communist Yrjö Leino, and the idea of Jurkka's summer in Finland never realised. After
Winter War and peace, the idea of getting Jurkka to Finland seemed to be more and more
distant, as was also the son himself. He died when his mother was in prison in
Unlike other Finns, Hertta Kuusinen studied in the German sector of Lenin School.
Her background was unique: her father was among the highest leaders in the Finnish
Communist Party, founded in Petrograd in 1919. She came from an educated home and could
speak several languages. According to Lenin School, she spoke Finnish, Russian and German
fluently but her Swedish was poor. After having listened to some of her radio interviews
and a 1st of May speech in Swedish, I would say that in 1950's and 1960's she also
spoke Swedish quite fluently.
Hertta Kuusinen's first period in prison lasted for almost five years (1934-1939). The
reason was "preparation of treason" and "misleading of civil
servants" by false name Iris Pettersson. She had stayed in Finland only for three
weeks until she was arrested with another well-known communist, Matti Janhunen. So far
Hertta Kuusinen had no criminal record in Finland as she had left for Moscow at the age of
18 still being a schoolgirl.
As the daughter of famous emigrant communist Hertta Kuusinen was considered to be
"the most likely suspect to get a long sentence for treason". Naturally, during
her first three weeks in Finland she did not have the time to achieve anything remarkable
but according to the archives of EK-Valpo (the secret police of Finland) there were
informers saying Hertta Kuusinen had arrived to Finland to take the lead in the Communist
Party in case Janhunen could not hold the task. On the other hand, Erkki Rautee, the
"propaganda secretary of SKP" said in a radio program "Tänään
kymmeneltä: Hertta Kuusinen ja Olavi Paavolainen" on 25 th June 1991 that Hertta
Kuusinen had returned to Finland to work for People's Front. On Rautee's opinion this
seemed to be a logical reason as Hertta Kuusinen was a firm supporter of People's Front.
Some days before the first day of the Continuation War between Finland and the Soviet
Union, on 18 th June 1941, Hertta Kuusinen was arrested in Helsinki and put in
Hämeenlinna prison for women. The argument given to legitimise this was "her own
safety". Hertta Kuusinen was now in Hämeenlinna prison for second time. The years in
prison were hard for her also because of health problems: In the spring 1942 she had
typhoid and she often suffered from dental pain. Finally she was freed after truce,
together with the last women held in prison, on 25 th September 1944.
III Hertta Kuusinen: Woman, female politician and charisma Finnish women got the right to
vote in 1906 when the universal suffrage was established both for men and women. As a
result of the first parliamentary elections in Finland (an autonomous state under Russian
rule) there were 19 female members of parliament, nine of whom were social democrats.
Between the First and the Second World War the most influential Finnish female member of
parliament was Miina Sillanpää, a social democrat who became a minister of social
affairs in Väinö Tanner's minority government in 1926. Sillanpää was a member of
parliament for almost fourty years in 1907-1947 with only one four-year break.
Hertta Kuusinen acted as a member of parliament from 1945 until the end of 1971. As a
many-sided person she is an extremely interesting character. You can only imagine how big
a role chance played in the big choices for the rest of her life.
In science - as well as in everyday life - people's lives are often presented as if humans
always acted rationally. If you think about Hertta Kuusinen's interests - music, theatre,
litterature, opera - you can easily think about her studying science, litterature or
performing arts if she only had stayed in Finland. She was also a writer, not only as a
journalist in the newspaper "Vapaa Sana" after the war, but by name "Hertta
Elina" she published a fairy tale about Ymmi ja hirviin 1952. She never wrote her own
biography - because of lack of time or lack of interest.
Hertta Kuusinen is said to have had "a natural contact" with ordinary Finnish
people. She was the most famous speaker of SKP. She was well-known not only in Helsinki
but nation-wide; until 1960's she was a parliamentary candidate also in the electoral
district of Kainuu where she competed with the later president Urho Kekkonen in the late
1940's and early 1950's.
During the first post-war years most politicians lived, in a way, closer to everyday live
than what they do nowadays. In the 1940's and 1950's it was natural to Hertta Kuusinen to
talk about billets, warming houses, black market and the prize of milk; in 2000's all
members of the parliament do not necessarily know how much it costs to buy a single ticket
in a bus in Helsinki.
For quite a few people, especially for poor people living in the counryside, Hertta
Kuusinen was an idol and a trustworthy person who listened to people's problems and
disappoinments. She received hundreds and hundreds of letters from Finns. Most of the
letters were sent by people who listened to the radio program
"Pienoisparlamentti", but at the end of 1960's Kuusinen still received letters
from her admirers. Of course, there were hate letters, too.
Olle Leino, Yrjö Leino's son from his second marriage, lived in Stockholm from the middle
1970's. He tells in his book "Vielä yksi kirje. Hertta Kuusisen elämä ja
dramaattinen rakkaus Yrjö Leinoon" that Hertta Kuusinen's dramatic temperament later
became less visible. The world was changing, and so did Hertta Kuusinen, too, as years
When I think about the situation in post-war Finland I can understand why Kuusinen behaved
herself so dramatically and unconditionally as she is said to. The Allied Control
Commission led by the Soviet Union had very much influence in Finnish politics, and the
most passionate communists insisted and waited for the Red Army to occupy Finland. The
influence of the Communist Party of Finland (SKP) and the people's democratic movement was
bigger than ever, and leftist people's bitterness towards "the old leaders" was
also huge. For instance, Hertta Kuusinen personally couldn´t forgive the fact that
president Risto Ryti did not pardon family Kuusinen's friend and political companion,
dressmaker Martta Koskinen. Instead, she was shot dead in 1943.
Hertta Kuusinen was "The Red Lady of Finland": She always dressed herself in an
elegant manner and she was well aware of how impressed many people were of her. On the
other hand, Rautee tells in a radio program how her lover Olavi Paavolainen once commented
her way of walking, saying she walked carelessly like a man. The very same moment Hertta
Kuusinen changed her style and walked in a "light and feminine" way. In 1966
there was a young student who became impressed by Hertta Kuusinen in theatre where they
both were watching "Lapualaisooppera": "The Lady was very charismatic.
Every single hair of her dark-coloured hair (apparently a wig) was as if it had been drawn
to its position."
IV Personal life
Author, director of radio theatre Olavi Paavolainen was Hertta Kuusinen's secret
companion from the early years of 1950's until Paavolainen's death in 1964. In her letters
to Paavolainen written in the 1950's Hertta Kuusinen very seldom tells about her political
work. Of course, in these personal love (/ hate) letters she mentions details about her
everyday political work. She does tell him about the party, the political ideas and, for
instance, about her inspiring speech tour to the countryside. But as a reader I would have
expected a deeper analysis about politics, values and ideas as Hertta Kuusinen very
analytically describes her relationship to Paavolainen. She calls this a
According to Hertta Kuusinen's letters to her lover, "dear enemy" Paavolainen,
the couple's life was quite dramatic and consisted of both good and bad days. When reading
the letters you can get an impression of an experienced, maybe even a bit tired party
leader. Naturally, Hertta Kuusinen's work as a member of the parliament and as one of the
leaders of SKP and SKDL was hard; she normally wrote her speeches at night, she always
worked on Saturday and often she could work only by drinking coffee and smoking
Smoking was a severe health problem for Hertta Kuusinen. A Finn born at the beginnig of
1960's once told me how Hertta Kuusinen always tried to hide her cigarrettes in TV. On
those days it was quite normal to smoke in a talk show on TV but Kuusinen was never seen
smoking as she thought that "a lady never smokes in public".
V Previous research and litterature about Hertta Kuusinen
Hertta Kuusinen's person has been of interest for quite a few Finns from the 1940's
until these days. Four students have written their master's thesis about her. Particularly
Hertta Kuusinen's personality and her relationships with her father and Yrjö Leino have
been of interest for researchers. All of the four thesis handle mostly about the 1940's.
Author Marja-Leena Mikkola has edited two books on Hertta Kuusinen's literary heritage.
The first one is "Vuodenaikain myrskyt. Kirjeitä, runoja ja proosaa 1930-60-luvuilta"
including letters, poems and prose and the second one is "Hamlet ystäväni -
Kirjeitä Olavi Paavolaiselle". Maybe this book is one of the reasons why so many
students became interested in Hertta Kuusinen.
Mikkola has done some great work when editing letters some of which have been damaged by
fire and/or water. Unfortunately Mikkola's work does not include all the letters available
because Mikkola has decided not to publish all of them but has left some letters and parts
of them out of her book. This is why a researcher interested in Kuusinen's letters should
rather study the original ones. In spite of these shortcomings both Mikkola's and Olle
Leino's books are remarkable sources for researchers.
There is also a biography written by Brita Polttila in 1975: "Hertta Kuusinen -
Ihmisen tie". The biography has both good and bad sides. The fact that Polttila makes
use of Hertta Kuusinen's personal archives and interviews is good. However, Polttila has
not specified her sources which makes the biography a problematic one for later
researchers. The book has been published soon after Kuusinen's death, and the author's
attitude is not critical at all. Polttila has wanted to see only the better sides of her
Helsingin Sanomat, the biggest Finnish daily, has recently published quite a lot of
contributions concerning "Kommunismin musta kirja" ("Le livre noir de
communisme") by Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth etc. One important point in the
discussion has been if everybody calling himself/herself a communist is also responsible
for all the cruelty - and if is it right to accuse ordinary people of the decisions made
by their leaders if they have even been miesled in their confidence on goodness, equality
and better society. The discussion was a typical Finnish one: quite moderate and quite
short - at least so far. In the Finnish edition of "Le livre noir de communisme"
Hertta Kuusinen is mentioned in the introduction together with Otto Wille Kuusinen, Ville
Pessi, Aimo Aaltonen and Taisto Sinisalo who all are considered to be representatives of
Finnish communism in practice - not in theory.
VI About my study
Personally, I am particularly interested in Hertta Kuusinen's work as a constructor of
the welfare society - if she, even as a revolutionary communist, was interested in
creating a new society slowly, step by step and without a violent revolution. In the
1950's and 1960's Finland had recovered from war and economical depression and became more
and more conscious about economical equality and the possibility of creating a welfare
In my research I will study what kind of politics The Communist Party of Finland made in
this process and what Hertta Kuusinen's role in promoting these policies in the parliament
was, in other institutions and internationally. I will also make international comparisons
between Kuusinen and communist leaders in other counties during the same time.
Hertta Kuusinen was used to act internationally but she did the most important part of her
work in Finland. As Rentola has written Ain spite of her background and the final
destinations of her party she acted in the 1950's and 1960's as a practical reformist who
as the leader of her parliamentary group played a central role in promoting social and
educational reforms. It was a paradox that welfare society was built in fear of revolution
but also in cooperation by the revolutionaries themselves".
Hertta Kuusinen was not very active in the Democratic Women's League of Finland (SNDL).
She chose to act where the power and "big questions" were. In the parliament she
promoted laws which were of great importance for SNDL: the reform of the Social Insurance
Institution of Finland (KELA), child benefits, maternity benefits, school reforms etc.
What do we know about Hertta Kuusinen's parliamentary work? Her speeches in plenarium were
the most visible part of her work but her work in different committees has maybe been even
more important. Kuusinen was a member of the committee of foreign affairs during most of
her parliamentary career - the only exception was in 1949. In Kansan arkisto (People's
Archives) there are quite a few documents from the committee of foreign affairs,
particularly from the 1940's and 1950's.
Pekka Kuusi, a social democratic member of parliament and an influential politician
specialised on social affairs, has told about his cooperation with Hertta Kuusinen in the
committee of foreign affairs. Kuusi acted as the chairman of the committee at the end on
1960's. During the occupation of Czechoslovakia in 1968 Hertta Kuusinen and Aarne Saarinen
informed Kuusi so properly that he felt being better informed than the Ministry of Foreign
affairs ever was. The cooperation between Hertta Kuusinen and Kuusi also promoted the
Conference of Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) in Helsinki in 1975.
In 1945 and 1946 Hertta Kuusinen also acted as chairman of the committee of educational
affairs. This task certainly was interesting for her as we know her love in culture and
her idea that culture belonged to everyone.
In addition, I am also interested in Hertta Kuusinen's international relationships. She
represented her party in the Finnish delegation to the Nordic council (Nordiska rådet)
from 1955 until the end of 1964. During her parliamentary career she traveled a lot: in
the 1940's and 1950's she mainly travaled to Moscow and East European socialist countries
but later as a delegate to the Nordic council and as a member of the parliament she also
traveled western countries and elsewhere. During her last years she visited among others
Ulan Bator, Teheran and Khartum, as she acted as chairman of the Women's International
Democratic Federation (WDIF). She was there when Salvador Allende gained victory in Chile;
she met Indira Gandhi and Fidel Castro.
Hertta Kuusinen was interviewed at president Urho Kekkonen's Independence Day banquet on
6th December in 1970. In the interview, the 66-year-old Hertta Kuusinen defined the three
most important issues for her and her party during her years. The important issues were
firstly, the cooperation between the three big parties in 1945-48, secondly, fight for
child benefits, and thirdly, People's Front Government's renaissance in 1966 after the
leftists' victory in parliamentary elections.
During her last years Hertta Kuusinen wanted to emphasize the cooperation between the
Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Communist Party (SKP) and their common work for
workers' power. In 1973 she again talked about cooperation in an interview: "I hope
we could today agree on a common program for a powerful labour front without anyone trying
to force others to adopt his opinions or his ideology".
I am interested to know what was the relation of ideas and practices in the 1950's and the
1960's and what kind of reformist and communist Hertta Kuusinen really was.
1 See Elina Katainen: Akkain aherrusta aatteen hyväksi. Suomen Naisten
Demokraattinen Liitto 1944-1990. Tammer-Paino. Tampere 1994. p. 59. After the war the
women of Finland were well represented in the communist and people's democratic movement.
For exemple Aili Mäkinen, Inkeri Lehtinen, and Tyyne Tuominen were known as impressive
speakers like Hertta Kuusinen; Erkki Rautee in radio program "Tänään kymmeneltä:
Hertta Kuusinen ja Olavi Paavolainen" 25th June 1991. Yleisradio sound archives:
According to Rautee, Paavolainen had been listening to a public speeches hold by Aili
Mäkinen and Hertta Kuusinen in Messuhalli in 1944 and Paavolainen had commented: How is
it possible that in that party there are so great women and so insignificant men?
2 Kimmo Rentola: Finnish communism, O.W. Kuusinen, and their Two Native
Countries in Communism, National & International. SHS. Studia Historica 58. Helsinki
1998. p. 161-162: "In Western Comintern historiography, Kuusinen has sometimes been a
semi-Russian, sometimes an obscure nonentity . . . He was a careful grey little man, well
versed in Kremlin intricacies, ever probing the weather before the winds would
3 See Kimmo Rentola: Kenen joukoissa seisot? Suomalainen kommunismi ja sota
1937-1945. WSOY. Helsinki 1994. p. 487-497; Olle Leino: Kuka oli Yrjö Leino. Tammi.
Helsinki 1973. p. 71-72.
4 Ibid, Rautee in radio 25th June 1991.
5 In 1945 Kuusinen got more that one tenth of all the votes of SKDL in her electoral
district; in 1948 more than one third.
6 Otto Wille Kuusinen's son Heikki Kuusinen said in a radio interview 23rd May 1986
about the Terijoki government: "Undoubtedly, it was such a shock."
7 Yleisradio (The Finnish Broadcasting Company) suffered from economical depression
until the 1950's and that is why there are no systematic archived recording dating from
that period. There is only one three-minute- recording in which Kuusinen can be heard.
Archived tape number 6709I. Yleisradio Sound Archives.
8 See Pirkko Koski: Kaikessa mukana. Hella Wuolijoki ja hänen näytelmänsä.
Otava. Helsinki 2000; Tauno Saarela & Kevin Morgan: Salaperäiset suomalaiset ja
Britannian kommunismin synty in Aave vai haave. Työväen historian ja perinteen
tutkimuksen seura 1998. Väki Voimakas 11. p. 10-29.
9 Pekka Lounela: Hella Wuolijoki - legenda jo eläessään. WSOY. Helsinki 1979. p.
10 Yleisradio Sound Archives: parliamentary discussions on 24th September 1964 and
debate after the election on 2nd November 1962.
11 Official Statistics of Finland, XXIX A:26, A:28, A:29, A:31, The electoral
statistics in 1945: Parliamentary elections: tables 1-6. Number TB 099:02, Micro film mf
48.51.54: about parliamentary elections 1910-1979. The archives of Statistics Finland.
Hertta Kuusinen's votes in parliamentary elections:
1945: about 26 360 votes ( 4 electoral districts)
1948 49 976 (4 electoral districts)
1951 38 288 (4 electoral districts)
1954 18 415 (3 electoral districts)
1958 31 453 (4 electoral districts, SKDL gained most votes in the whole country, 450 506
1962 32 074 (4 electoral districts)
1966 11 155 (Helsinki electoral district)
1970 4 719 (Helsinki electoral district)
12 Hertta Kuusinen papers. Kansan arkisto (People's Archives). 5Bd 23.
13 EK-Valpo archives. Hertta Kuusinen personal folder A 3339a. Kansallisarkisto
(National Archives). Helsinki. Hertta Kuusinen was given a permission by telephone to
travel abroad on 14th June 1922.
14 Kimmo Rentola: Kommunistin kahdeksan kohorttia in Ajankohta - Poliittisen
historian vuosikirja 1992. p. 82.
15 See Hertta Kuusinen: Hamlet ystäväni - Kirjeitä Olavi Paavolaiselle. Edited by
Marja-Leena Mikkola. Tammi. Helsinki 1999. p. 277-284. Letter on the 8th of April 1956.
16 The father-daughter relationship is emphasized in the studies on Hertta Kuusinen
because both the research on communism in Finland and the research and literature on
Kuusinen herself has focused on the 1940's and 50's.
17 Hertta Kuusinen folder. Number 495/269/9. RGASPI. ex-RTsHIDNI. Moskow.
18 Hertta Kuusinen papers. Kansan arkisto (People´s Archives). 5 Aa1. Letters to
the prison. Mother Saima Kuusinen wrote her on 30th of January 1939.
19 Hertta Kuusinen talar den första maj (1st of May 1950), I blickpunkten (2nd of
August 1962), Inga meningskilaktigheter vid kommunisternas möte i Budapest (15th of
November 1968). Yleisradio Sound Arcives.
20 EK-Valpo arcives. Hertta Kuusinen folder A 3339 a. Pöytäkirja number 109/34,
12th of June 1934, send to the prison in Turku 12th of July 1934. Kansallisarkisto
Hertta Kuusinen papers. Kansan arkisto (People´s Arcives). 5 Ca 24: Biographica: Hertta
Kuusinen got a passport to freedom (VAPAUSPASSI) on 15th May 1939 and was let on parole
which meant that she regularly had to make registration with the police. The registrations
stopped during the Winter War (November 1939-March 1940) when she was hiding with her
lover Leino in her childhood village in Central Finland. She was wanted but nobody could
find her. After the war the couple returned to Helsinki and Hertta Kuusinen made a
registration with the police.
21 EK-Valpo archives. Hertta Kuusinen folder A 3339 a: A letter from Valpo to a
significant official of Turku Court of Appeal on 18th of October 1934 EK/KDN:o
1396/1721-34, see Elina Ranta: Suuri ja samalla pieni - Otto Wille Kuusisen vaikutus
Hertta Kuusisen elämässä. Unpublished Master's thesis. University of Helsinki.
Contempory history. Faculty of Social Sciencies. 2000 p. 47: Elina Ranta has correctly
shown that Valpo did not know very much about Hertta Kuusinen's work for communism. Valpo
was not aware, for instance, about Hertta Kuusinen's underground work in Germany in
1932-1933. Because of this ignorance Valpo was not able to fully understand how important
a person Hertta Kuusinen in fact was.
22 Rautee on radio 25 th June 1991. Yleisradio Sound Arcives.
23 See Yksi kamari - kaksi sukupuolta. Suomen eduskunnan ensimmäiset naiset.
Eduskunnan kirjaston tutkimuksia ja selvityksiä 4. Eduskunnan kirjasto. Helsinki 1997.
24 See Irma Sulkunen: Naisen kutsumus. Miina Sillanpää ja sukupuolten maailmojen
erkaantuminen. Hanki ja jää. Helsinki 1989.
25 Hertta Elina: Ymmi ja hirvi. Parasta lapsille r.y. Lahti 1952.
26 "So far I have not stopped to think about my memoirs", Hertta Kuusinen
said at the Independence Day banquet in the Presidential Palace on 6th December 1971.
Yleisradio Sound Archives. About the memoirs see Olle Leino: Vielä yksi kirje. Hertta
Kuusisen dramaattinen elämä ja rakkaus Yrjö Leinoon. WSOY. Helsinki 1990. p. 207.
27 Hertta Kuusinen papers. Kansan arkisto (People`s Arcives). 5Ad 6-9.
28 Leino 1990 p. 138-146.
29 Rautee, 25th of June 1991. Yleisradio Sound Archives.
30 Helsingin Sanomat (22nd of August 1999). 30. The source here was the journalist
Hilkka Eklund who later worked as the theatre critic of the social democratic weekly
"Demari". The opera "Lapualaisooppera" later became one of the
catalysts of the cultural radicalism of the 1960's in Finland. The opera was later
performed in Helsinki in 2000.
31 Kuusinen 1999 p. 50-51, 87-88. A letter without a date, a letter written on the
30th of August 1952.
32 Ibid. For example p. 38-39. A letter written on the 30th of May 1952.
33 Nina Kaarlenkaski: Naisen karisma - Hertta Kuusinen. Unpublished Masters' thesis.
Tampere University, political science, department of political research. Tampere 1998,
Ranta 2000, Niina Lehtimäki: Hertta Kuusisen puhe Messuhallissa 24. maaliskuuta vaaran
vuonna 1948. Tulkinta, vastaanotto ja merkitys. Unpublished Master's thesis. University of
Jyväskylä, department of history. 2000, Maria Älli: Avioliitto aatteen varjossa -
Hertta Kuusisen ja Yrjö Leinon avioliiton anatomia. An unpublished Master's Thesis not
yet approved. Contempory history. Faculty of Social Sciences. University of Turku. 2001.
34 Hertta Kuusinen: Vuodenaikain myrskyt. Kirjeitä, runoja ja proosaa 1930-60
-luvuilta. Edited by Marja-Leena Mikkola. Kansankultuuri Oy. Helsinki 1975, Kuusinen 1991.
37. Olavi Paavolainen (1902 - 64) was one of the pioneers and leader figures of modernism
in Finland. A conflicting character, he was afflicted with the so-called Finnish national
disease, alcoholism, during his last years. His most famous books were "Nykyaikaa
etsimässä" which praised modern technology, and "Synkkä yksinpuhelu"
which critically assesses Finland during the Continuation War.
35 Brita Polttila: Hertta Kuusinen - Ihmisen tie. Tammi. Helsinki 1975.
36 Stéphane Courtois, Nicolas Werth etc. : Kommunismin musta kirja. Rikokset,
terrori, sorto. WSOY. Helsinki 2001. p. 20. (Le livre noir de communisme.Crimes, terreus
et répression.). The introduction in the Finnish edition written by Heikki Eskelinen has
been criticised for not dealing with the latest scientific results by, among others, Kimmo
Rentola, Tauno Saarela, Veli-Pekka Leppänen, Elina Katainen and Joni Krekola of
University of Helsinki.
37 Kimmo Rentola: Hertta Kuusinen - vaikutusvaltainen naispoliitikko.
Kansallisgalleria. Suuret suomalaiset. Kehittyvä Suomi (1945-1965). Erikoispainos Suomen
itsenäisyyden 80-vuotisjuhlan kunniaksi. Weilin&Göös. Helsinki 1996.
38 Hertta Kuusinen papers. Kansan arkisto (People's Arcives). 5Bd 23.
39 Erkki Tuomioja: Pekka Kuusi: Alkoholipoliitikko, sosiaalipoliitikko,
ihmiskuntapoliitikko. Tammi. Helsinki 1996. p. 209, Pekka Kuusen haastattelut 21st of
February and 5th of September 1986. Yleisradio Sound Arcives.
40 Hertta Kuusinen papers. Kansan arkisto (People's Arcives). 5Bc 20, Hertta
Kuusisen haastattelu Santiago de Chilestä 4th of November 1970. Yleisradio Sound Arcives.
41 Interview on the Finnish radio on the 6th of December 1970. Yleisradio Sound
42 Interview on the Finnish radio on the 1st of May 1973. Yleisradio Sound Arcives.