Social Democratic Party of Finland

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Social Democratic Party of Finland


(SDPF, Suomen Sosialidemokraattinen Puolue), founded at a congress in the city of Turku (Abo) in 1899. Until 1903 it was called the Finnish Workers’ Party.

The party adopted a program in 1903. Under the influence of the Revolution of 1905-07 in Russia, a left wing took shape within the party leadership under such figures as O. Kuusinen and Y. Sirola. V. I. Lenin met several times with representatives of the SDPF. Beginning in 1907, the SDPF held seats in the Finnish Parliament. Members of the party led the workers in the Finnish Revolution of 1918 and in January 1918 established the revolutionary government of the Council of People’s Commissioners. The right wing of the party, headed by V. Tanner, sided with the counterrevolution. After the defeat of the workers’ revolution in the spring of 1918, the party in effect disintegrated.

In August 1918 the left-wing Social Democrats established the Communist Party of Finland. The right-wing Social Democrats usurped the name of the SDPF and reestablished the party in 1918 on a social-reformist basis. In 1926 the Social Democrats formed a government for the first time. From 1937 to 1944, members of the right-wing leadership of the party joined in coalition governments and supported the policies of the bourgeois parties, particularly the parties’ anti-Soviet line. These elements of the SDPF were partially responsible for Finland’s war against the USSR in 1939 and 1940 and Finland’s participation from 1941 to 1944 in the Hitlerite aggression against the Soviet Union.

In 1946 the Social Democrats entered the government of M. Pekkala, along with the Communists and other representatives of the democratic forces. Under this government, the Soviet-Finnish Agreement on Friendship, Cooperation, and Mutual Assistance was concluded in April 1948. In July 1948 the right-wing leadership of the SDPF cancelled the agreement on cooperation between parliamentary groups. The leadership adhered to an anti-Communist and anti-Soviet position until the mid-1960’s. The main points of the program adopted by the party in 1952 were based on the supposed transformation of capitalism into “democratic socialism.”

At the Twenty-sixth Congress of the SDPF (1963), the reactionary leadership consisting of V. Tanner and others was replaced by a more moderate group. The Twenty-seventh (1966), Twenty-eighth (1969), Twenty-ninth (1972), and Thirtieth (1975) congresses of the SDPF voiced support of the Finnish foreign policy of developing friendship and cooperation with the USSR. The SDPF established party-to-party contacts in 1968 with the CPSU and, subsequently, with the Communist and workers’ parties of a number of other socialist countries. Members of the SDPF headed Finland’s government from 1948 to 1950, in 1956 and 1957, in 1958, from 1966 to 1968, from 1968 to 1970, from 1972 to 1975, and since 1977. In the parliamentary elections of 1977, the party won 54 seats out of a total of 200.

The SDPF belongs to the Socialist International. The party had more than 100,000 members as of 1978. K. Sorsa became chairman of the party in 1975. The party’s central organ is the newspaper Demari: Suomen Sosialidemokraatti.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
In 1994 Finland's Social Democratic Party nominated him to run for the presidency and Ahtisaari became the first directly elected Finnish president.