Juho Kusti Paasikivi

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Paasikivi, Juho Kusti

 

Born Nov. 27, 1870, in Tampere; died Dec. 14, 1956, in Helsinki. Finnish statesman.

Paasikivi received a legal education. Between 1903 and 1913, and again in 1917 and 1918, he was a leader of the Old Finnish Party, serving as a deputy in parliament from 1907 to 1913. From 1903 to 1914 he served as general director of the treasury and from 1914 to 1934 was general director of the National Commercial Bank. Paasikivi was prime minister from May to November 1918. He headed the Finnish delegation at the talks that led to the peace treaty between Finland and the RSFSR signed on Oct. 14, 1920. From 1934 to 1936 he served as chairman of the National Coalition Party and between 1936 and 1939 was envoy to Sweden.

As chief delegate at negotiations with the USSR in 1939, Paasikivi showed an understanding of Soviet and Finnish state interests, but his own government did not support him. On Mar. 12, 1940, he was one of the delegates who signed the Soviet-Finnish Peace Treaty. From April 1940 through May 1941, Paasikivi served as Finnish envoy to the USSR. From 1941 to 1944 he was chairman of the board of a private bank. He belonged to the “peaceful opposition,” demanding that Finland abandon the war and in February and March 1944 carried on unofficial peace talks with the Soviet government. He served as prime minister from November 1944 to March 1946 and as president of the Finnish Republic from March 1946 through March 1956.

Paasikivi’s name is linked with the peace-loving foreign policy of postwar Finland that aims to develop friendly relations with the USSR, the Paasikivi-Kekkonen policy. Paasikivi declared: “The principal and determining factor in Finland’s foreign policy is our country’s relationship with our great eastern neighbor, the Soviet Union. … It is my conviction that it is in our basic national interest to conduct henceforth a foreign policy that will not be directed against the Soviet Union” (Liniia Paasikivi, Moscow, 1958, pp. 169–70). In 1948, Paasikivi authorized the signing of the Soviet-Finnish Treaty on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance and in 1955 took part in the signing of the protocol to extend the treaty’s period of operation. Between 1944 and 1956, Paasikivi was honorary chairman of the Finland-USSR Society. For his great contribution to the cause of developing friendly relations between Finland and the Soviet Union, Passikivi was awarded the Order of Lenin in 1954.

WORKS

Passikiven muistelmia sortovuosilta, vols. 1–2. Porvoo [Borgå]-Helsinki [1957].
In Russian translation:
Liniia Paasikivi: Stat’i i rechi, 1944–1956. Moscow, 1958.

A. V. NOVIN’KOV

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