Every Finn has a relationship to Russia. (Sadist at work. What’s not to love.)

All the things that Russia is inspire me. To understand this is probably difficult but I guess my feelings and thoughts are normal considering in part I am from Russia and anything Russian was present in Finland in my childhood. As Russia was in the News all the time, an influence via the media given for us. It is of course like all big nations are a constant puzzle and cause of chaos, all the time. I am almost obsessed partly because we are neighbors, because the country is dangerous and the influence we have had from Russia is mighty huge in many ways. Partly because the amount of grandiose, contradictions, sheer lunacy and wildness are beyond anything else. Dark mystery of Russian mind or mysticism, an abysmal depth, and violence that scare both the shit out of me, a history to sink into, a turmoil that is a nonstop mess politically, socially and culturally, painful and bloody for the most part and to follow the soap opera is to realize that this all is happening. The whole of Russia is an explosive entity that excites me as a place and state of mind and has done so always. The question is why the threat Russia likes to embody and keep alive? Russia, the scare and secrets it holds, which mystery it still is for Finland as we wonder what will Russia do next, a criminal for the rest of the world but something we are related to. Criminal is what it politically enjoys being. Such monstrous fear justifies warring just to keep fear alive and well, justifies inequality and bullying because big guys do so, not mentally mature though. Russia enjoys it grandiose and megalomaniac attacks. Its war history is such a big part of the image and character of Russia that warring is something it seems to do naturally. Amount of veterans and problems caused by wars inside the country are also gigantic. It is at constant war also with its own people. Therefore to be peaceful and start building an equal and peaceful country that does not threat its neighbors and the US is a faraway dream country, unthinkable almost to achieve but lovely to hate. How to change something that is historically and organically a law and a habit, violent macho culture? The way things are, ways people think and what things are unthinkable, unimaginable, out of reach. To keep decades long feuds going deserves a prize.

Russia could, if it was in its interest, change Russia completely for the better, meaning better for all Russians and its neighbors. Nevertheless violence and the attraction to deadly games and sadism is unescapable. I adore Russia for its culture and because it is so different to Finland, the sterile cubical Finland. I adore beauty of Russia, naturally, which beauty makes me melancholic and blue, which wildness/ melancholy/wilderness/unexpectedness is in its people, literature, vodka, food, cities, in its size and in its history. Savages, I love your beauty! Russia is an endless game, un suspicion, that does not change all the time to be a contemporary country among others as history is always present as is the suspicion. The way of thinking is a monolith. Nothing is erased, corrected, hidden or something to be ashamed of, other than the assassinations and hazy businesses might be something to rethink. But Russia is moving ahead in someways, rolling ahead and changing maybe visually, how about culturally? Trying to be cool and being definitely scary is a very special feature.

I cannot erase the image of Brezhnev’s funeral from my mind as the occasion was shown on Finnish TV in the 80’s or the nuclear threat or the possibility that Russia any day might do the same as it did 1939 attacking Finland. Somehow possibility of revolution seems impossible, that Russian people would or could overthrow Putin, never. So far we are friends. It is a strange friendship, honest and dishonest at the same time. Something that one can only have with Russians.

Here are some of photographs I took in Kronstadt 2001. Haven’t Photoshopped them, so there is dust.