Universitas Helsingiensis 3/1995

Universitas Helsingiensis 3/94

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The relationship between neighbours always tends to be a bit delicate or even problematic, especially if one of the neighbours is a country great and powerful and the other a small country. The common border may result in two opposite things at the same time: menace and fear, but also opportunities economic and cultural interaction and cooperation.

Throughout the centuries the border between Finland and Russia has been the scene of great turmoil. Today this border is developing a whole new dimension as for Russia it is also the frontier of the European Union. Finland's role inside the Union will gain new importance as our expertise in Russian affairs becomes recognized.

The political leadership of our country has taken this issue very seriously. Ideas and plans have led to concrete action. The Ministry of Education is providing special funding to the University of Helsinki for the development and expansion of the already high-standard teaching and research on Russian history and culture. At the moment, the majority of the courses in Russian Studies are given in English.

The present Russian Studies will be supplemented by teaching and research focussing on Russian administration, politics and economics. The aim is to create a leading European institute in the field which will attract researchers and students from all over the world to Helsinki.

Even if the Finnish government recognizes the importance of developing expertise in Russian affairs, this does not mean that all Finns share this point of view. The mistrust left by the wars dissolves very slowly. The present lack of stability in Russia raises questions whether any investments in that direction are wise. School children making a choice as to which foreign language to study seldom opt for Russian; the importance of the Russian language may become clear to them only after the convincing arguments of their German or American friends.

A dialectical attitude against Russia is part of Finnish identity. The University of Helsinki sees Russia above all as a great opportunity. We are in a unique position to offer both Finnish and foreign students and researchers excellent opportunities for developing expertise on Russia. The Slavonic Library has an impressive collection of Russian literature and non-fiction, and the University has a large number of researchers specializing in Russian Studies who maintain close contacts with their colleagues in both the east and west.


The present status of women dates from the period between the two World Wars

Nina Korhonen

The period between the two World Wars was for women a time of opportunities, claims Maria Lähteenmäki in her doctoral dissertation on Finnish working-class women of the 1910s to 1930s. Many of the factors still determining the status of women even today began to emerge in the first few decades of the century.

Finnish women were granted the right to vote as early as 1906, but years -- or rather decades -- were to pass before they were recognised as full citizens with the same rights and obligations as men. Maria Lähteenmäki, in her study of working-class women and the change in Finnish society in the 1910s-1930s, has identified processes that emerged in the period between the wars and that are still affecting the status of women even today. It was also at about this time that the foundations were laid for the Finnish welfare state, even though it was not fully achieved until the 1980s.

Finland in the second decade of the 20th century was still a predominantly agrarian country, but industrialisation and urbanisation were already well under way. No level of Finnish society remained untouched by the major upheavals of the period: political independence in 1917, and the Civil War of 1918 that rent the country in two, into Reds and Whites, workers and non-workers.

Industry spread first to Southern Finland. The first big, modern cotton mills were founded in Tampere and Forssa. The factories and mills began to require a growing labour force, to manufacture clothes and soap, sawn goods and foodstuffs.

In the industrialised nations of Europe, women were already leaving their homes to take up paid employment by the end of the 19th century. In Finland this was rare until the turn of the century, when the country became industrialised and began its journey towards a market economy that called for a growing female labour force. Persuading women to take up employment outside the home was not, to begin with, easy, since there was no such thing as a leisured reserve on which to draw. The demand for female labour gradually increased as the big mills and factories went into production. By the beginning of the 1930s, 30-40 per cent of the Finns in paid employment were women.

The percentage of women in the labour force was, according to Lähteenmäki, relatively stable from the late 19th century right up to the Second World War. A change did, however, take place in the female labour force itself and the fields in which these women were employed. Until the turn of the century, the women working in the factories were mostly unmarried and between the ages of 15 and 25, and they gave up their jobs when they married and had children. Married women first began to seek work in the factories in the second decade of the 20th century and took over in growing numbers jobs formerly done by men.

"The transfer of a relatively small and impecunious band of married women from the home to the factory had some enormous consequences. Society was now forced to seek ways of solving the problem of the double workload of women. On the one hand women were needed in the home to raise the future generations, while on the other hand women's paid labour was vital to the national economy of this small nation."

Revolutionary reforms

One major landmark was the new Marriage Act of 1929 repealing the practice by which husbands were their wives' keepers. A woman could now engage in trade and take legal action in her own name, and practise a profession. The former Marriage Code dating from 1734 named the husband as being chiefly responsible for his wife's subsistence. And since he bore the main responsibility for supporting his family, he naturally held the greatest authority. Accordingly, a woman voluntarily forfeited her independence on marriage and recognised her husband as her legal guardian. A widow and her children were placed under the guardianship of some male relative.

The women's organisations were already calling for reform of the marriage legislation in the first decade of the century, but the process that finally led to its amendment did not get under way until the early 1920s. Women, irrespective of their political persuasions, campaigned for greater equality between the sexes and the abolition of the guardian system.

"This law will have more impact on human destinies than any other Act previously passed by Parliament; it is revolutionary in many respects," proclaimed one Social Democrat MP. Like the other women Members of Parliament, she regarded the system of guardianship degrading for a married woman. People optimistically believed that the new Marriage Act would at last dispel the widely-held opinion that regarded the work done by a wife at home as being of lesser value than that done by her husband for a wage.

The new Marriage Act got a jubilant reception among women, though attitudes and practices were slower to change. By the 1930s some progress had, however, been made, as indicated by various moves to improve the status of women. Between 1935 and 1943 an experiment was made in taxing husbands and wives separately, and in 1937 a Maternity Benefit Act was passed aiming to improve the financial standing of married women.

"Before the Maternity Benefit Act was passed, there was debate over whether the benefit was to be regarded as compensation for the loss of income occasioned by pregnancy and birth or whether it was to be a benefit for all mothers. Parliament made a decision of the utmost social significance in choosing the latter alternative. The woman's place was still in the home," says Lähteenmäki, and goes on to say that this attitude is still firmly rooted in present-day society: "Had the reform chosen compensation for loss of income, the Act would have had consequences of a completely different magnitude."

From the 1930s right up to the present day every Finnish mother has received a maternity pack as a gift from the Finnish government on the birth of each baby. In the 1930s this pack contained not only money but also textiles for the mother and baby, sheets for the mother, gauze and cotton wool, clothes and wash flannels for the baby. The pack for 1941 further introduced the big cardboard box that is still issued today and that could be turned into a hygienic crib for the baby.

Depression grounds for giving women notice

Despite all the reforms, the position of women between the wars was still weaker than that of men. Men were paid better wages than women, the argument being that they had wives to support. Even the young messenger boy would go home with a fatter pay packet than the messenger girl of the same age; boys were, after all, potential supporters. The wages, perks included, of the men working in factories were on average one third higher than those of women. The young, unmarried women got the lowest wages of all. Not until after the Second World War did men and women begin to receive the same benefits, though the women's wages lagged systematically behind those of men.

By the early 1930s married women had become a separate group in the labour force with their own specific needs. The mothers of children under school age had a particularly hard time, since they had a "second shift" waiting for them at home - a mound of laundry to be washed and meals to cook. In many working-class families the money brought home by the wife was, however, vital for the family to survive. Many women with a husband who was sick, working in another town, out of work or a political prisoner after the Civil War were the sole supporters of their children. It was far less common for women from the upper social classes to work outside the home.

Despite all the good intentions, the position of poor, working-class women was further undermined by the decree issued in 1917 that prohibited women from working for four weeks after a confinement. "Although four weeks may seem only a short rest to us women today, this waiting period had a catastrophic effect on the poor working-class family. In the absence of any form of compensation, the poor had no alternative but to take work "on the side", beyond the reach of the labour protection laws and for a pitiful wage," Lähteenmäki points out. A similar ban on the employment of women for a specific period after the birth was also in force in other parts of Europe.

Women became engaged in a bitter battle for survival during the great depression of 1929-1932, when married women were given notice in large numbers. The discrimination against married women led many a girl to hide her wedding ring from her employer, or to postpone marriage until a later date.

"When a country fell upon hard times, the first to lose their jobs were the married women. In Finland the state alcohol monopoly, the department stores, the big banks and insurance companies gave their married women notice. Women who did remain at work were made to feel guilty, for they were regarded as stealing jobs from men. Similar opinions have been voiced during the recession of the late 1980s and early 1990s. One wonders what decade we are living in on reading the daily papers. In this respect, nothing seems to have changed," says Lähteenmäki.

Free time for entertainment

In her doctoral dissertation Maria Lähteenmäki calls the period between the two World Wars "the time of opportunities". By this she is referring both to the growing legal status and independence of women under the Marriage Act of 1929, and also to the increase in leisure. An Act stipulating an eight-hour working day was passed in Finland in summer 1917. It was the result of left-wing lobbying backed by demonstrations in the streets. Bakeries had been experimenting with an eight-hour working day as early as 1908.

For women the new Working Hours Act meant a shorter working day in the factories, but also the abolition of the special provisions designed to protect women. Women were no longer placed on a par with children: they were adult workers, and subject to special legislation only in exceptional cases such as night work. The Act on the eight-hour working day was thus a major step towards the full status of women and a general change in attitudes to women.

The Working Hours Act gave women more free time. Leisure pursuits were not yet recognised in the 1920s, especially in the rural regions, but a study of young people made in 1928 was already speaking of hobbies in describing how young workers spent their free time. Young men went in for sport or fishing, women for pastimes about the home and handwork. Both were equally attracted to music and drama. The popularity of the cinema also grew rapidly.

The increase in leisure was not felt to be entirely without its problems. The factory managers, politicians and workers' organisations demanded controlled, guided activities to prevent the spread of idleness and drinking. About one factory in three provided some kind of organised activity, such as gymnastics and sports clubs, brass bands and drama clubs. On Saturday evenings workers would head for the public parks or summer colonies owned by the local authorities or the workers' associations.

Little by little people began to travel. Touring in Finland became particularly popular, and some workers were even able to travel abroad.

Needs grow with rise in standard of living

Economic growth and the rising standard of living brought families more money, but they also made them demand more. The growth in advertising in the 1930s made people aware of the existence of ready-made clothes, cosmetics, radios, cars, and various entertainments. The Federation of Social Democratic Women went so far as to warn workers against falling for the "cheap Jack" promises made in advertisements. Between the wars this federation occupied a significant role in providing working-class women with consumer enlightenment. Its most radical members transferred to the trade unions, leaving it more or less only with wives in occasional employment. The change in policy brought about by the women's movement in the 1920s towards a heightened household policy was exceptional compared with the manifestos of the other Social Democratic women's movements in Europe.

Domestic work had until then been regarded more or less as the domain of middle-class women. Cookery courses and consumer enlightenment were not considered fitting for a political women's movement engaged in class warfare.

According to Lähteenmäki, the main reason for the change of course was the state aid which the Social Democratic women's movement first achieved for work in the home in 1929. The courses for working-class women covering domestic science and political agitation were immensely popular and in 1929 attracted some 8,500 participants. By 1931 the number of participants had risen to over 50,000. In times of economic hardship women were issued with recipes adapted to the meagre ingredients available and practical advice on subjects ranging from mending clothes to child care. The enlightenment on domestic matters would, it was thought, make mothers at home more interested in politics.

"It has been suggested that the rising standard of living was accompanied by a shift to the right by the workers' organisations, but to my mind there was integration in both directions and at all levels of society; the right and the left drew closer together in both party politics and social welfare policy. Finland, now politically independent, created a united republic," says Lähteenmäki.

Social need for working-class women's studies

Maria Lähteenmäki became interested in working-class women in the 1980s, while employed to organise the material on the women's organisations at the Finnish Labour Archives. The Finnish working-class woman had been somewhat overlooked by research, even though women's studies in other parts of the world had been investigating the women working in factories ever since the 1960s. "There was a social need for research into the Finnish working-class woman," she says.

Lähteenmäki does not regard herself as a women's researcher, but rather as a social historian who views Finnish society through women. "What interests me is oral history, the way needs arising in everyday life filter through to society's decision-making process via the work of organisations. My work comes at the intersection of social history and political history."

Maria Lähteenmäki, a history researcher at the University of Helsinki, is now turning to the history of the Second World War. She will not, however, be concerned with front lines and military strategies, but rather with the social history of the war years and the everyday lives of the women in Finnish homes and factories. "During the war the position of women was in many respects exceptional."

New women's studies professor Aili Nenola: IT'S GOOD TO BE A FINNISH WOMAN

Nina Korhonen

"The status of the Finnish woman is a good average by Nordic standards," says Aili Nenola, the new professor of women's studies at the University of Helsinki. The discipline has now established itself in Finland and has been granted three new chairs as of the beginning of next year, in Helsinki, Turku and Tampere.

Women's studies reached Finland via the United States, Germany and Sweden a few years after the other Nordic countries. The Scandinavians' lead has now been reduced, however, for over the past 15 years there has been tremendous interest in Finland in the teaching and study of women's subjects. Aili Nenola, the recently appointed professor of women's studies at the University of Helsinki, considers that Finnish women's studies are both versatile and of a high standard.

"Here in Finland we have women's studies with both a sociological and an arts orientation. There are still areas in the natural sciences, medicine and technology waiting for scholars with an interest in the gender theme. In these fields we have only a few dissidents in Finland, but the situation is already much better in Sweden," says Professor Nenola. She would like to see more people in women's studies with an interest in such issues as the way a scholar's gender affects his or her research, or the way male dominance has guided technological trends.

"There is also plenty to be done in modern information society. Why are men more receptive of the new IT applications and network data than women? Are girls still being brought up to believe that technology and machines are not for women?" she asks.

Women's studies are now being offered by nine universities in Finland. Their status was further enhanced this year by the establishment of three new chairs in the subject on the initiative of the Ministry of Education. The new professors, each with a five-year tenure, will take up their posts at the beginning of 1996 at the University of Tampere, the Swedish-speaking Åbo Akademi University in Turku, and the Helsinki of University Faculty of Law. Aili Nenola occupies the chair established in 1992 at the Kristiina Institute operating in conjunction with the Helsinki University Faculty of Arts. The Kristiina Institute, which coordinates women's studies at the University, has been operative since 1991.

Over the next few years the Ministry of Education hopes to establish a total of seven chairs in women's studies. According to Professor Nenola, this initiative from a high-ranking authority was a refreshing stimulus to the universities and brought recognition for women's studies. "So far we have more or less had to be motivated by our love for women's studies alone. Women scholars have put in endless unpaid work, for which they have had to take time from their other obligations. Creating and establishing a new, multidisciplinarian field of research has meant a lot of hard work, searching for funds, the creation of networks and talking people round."

Professor Nenola came to Helsinki from the University of Turku, where she was professor of folkloristics and comparative religion and where she had been responsible for women's studies since 1989. She says she left Turku with a good conscience, for just as she was leaving she managed to obtain approval for a long-term project, the establishment of a centre for women's studies at the University of Turku.

Pent-up rage

Aili Nenola belongs to the generation that never took women's studies as a university subject but that gradually got involved through the subjects chosen for research. Her feminist worldview was first stimulated by the debate and life history literature of the mid-1970s. A graduate in folkloristics and comparative religion, she wrote her first women's studies article in 1981, on death in the female worldview. Her doctoral dissertation dealt with Ingrian laments. "Laments are exclusively women's tradition," she points out.

Finnish women's studies have been promoted by Professor Nenola not only in her own research but also by stressing the gender theme at the seminars she has held in folkloristics and comparative religion. She gave the training of women researchers special impetus while acting as the leader of a national women's studies network in 1990-1992. This network took in about 150 postgraduates, several dozen of whom had already completed their doctorate, and the number is growing all the time. The network has generated a host of research projects, one of which, entitled "Culture, tradition and the gender system", has been led by her in collaboration with Associate Professor Satu Apo (University of Helsinki) and Dr. Kaija Heikkinen (University of Joensuu). Professor Nenola was editor-in-chief of the nation-wide journal Naistutkimus (Women's Studies) 1992-1994.

"Ever since the mid-1970s I have been seething with pent-up rage at the injustice suffered by women. There is something of the evangelist in me, and I hope I will never lose it," she says. She firmly believes that "watering things down" and "hushing things up" will never get anyone anywhere. The researcher must have the courage to take a personal stand, and not try to hide behind a veil of objectivity.

"You can, to my mind, do more harm by putting up a seemingly neutral front than by speaking out your own ethical views and opinions on the world, because all research carries an ideological charge," Professor Nenola argues.

The many facets of violence

Ever since she was writing her dissertation Aili Nenola has been concerned with a triangle in which the three points are women, death and rites. Her future research will also be dealing with women and death, and she does not intend to forsake her beloved laments.

In her lectures the new women's studies professor intends to take up the subject of violence. "Finland lags way behind the other Nordic countries in the study of genderised violence. Statistical investigations of violence to women have been made, but so far there have been no deeper analyses of the relationships between power and violence." The entries in a competition on the theme of "Free from Violence" held last winter will also be providing material for her lectures.

Questions of identity are also of interest to Nenola. A short time ago, Finland's Minister for Culture, Claes Andersson, said in an interview that the nation is becoming an increasingly significant factor in a united Europe: as national capital becomes less important, people identify more with the nation. "The question then arises of whose national culture is stressed. The nation nevertheless looks very different when viewed from the women's and the men's perspective," Nenola points out.

Reason to be satisfied

The social and economic status of the Finnish woman is, according to Aili Nenola, a good average by Nordic standards. "The Finnish welfare state, which is admittedly to some extent now being dismantled, has given women a chance to work outside the home - yet even so their children have had a decent upbringing and education. Women have not been economically dependent on their husbands for ages now."

Compared with their Scandinavian sisters, a very large proportion of Finnish women are in full-time employment. Their economic independence is, however, overshadowed by wage discrimination: women's wages are on average only 75-85 per cent of men's. "In this respect the trend still seems to be in the wrong direction," says Nenola.

Culturally, Finnish men and women do, however, have equal opportunities for personal development - at least in principle. And the young women in Finland are in fact more highly educated than their male peers.

"Despite all the positive trends, there are still some extraordinary contradictions in Finnish society at the moment. Although our educated women are doing a full day's work outside the home in addition to shouldering most of the household work at home, and even though we have a lot of women in Parliament and the Government, there have still been some set-backs on the road towards greater equality." Professor Nenola is here referring to the blatant commercial sex, the pornography that has been forced into homes, the streets, wherever people - children included - turn. "How did this happen, even though a large proportion of the decision-makers are women?" she wonders.

The militarisation of women is another thing that astonishes this professor of women's studies. Why has the decision to permit voluntary national service for women been made just at a time when Finland is not under any military threat from any direction? "What on earth is going on in our culture and society, for decisions such as this to be made? We women's studies people still have a lot to account for here.

But if I had to give just a simple answer to the question of the status of women in Finland, I would say that it's good to be a Finnish woman - provided you have education and a job and don't come up against any nasty men in the course of life."

Women's studies professor Aili Nenola is concerned about genderised violence. Statistical investigations of violence to women have been made, but so far there have been no deeper analyses of the tradition of power and violence.

Of the 200 members of the Finnish Parliament, 67 are women, and close on half the members of the Government are women. Yet decisions that will have a doubtful impact on equality are still being made. (Photo Lehtikuva)

Equality does not extend to wages

Wage discrimination is still very much a feature of the present day: women's pay packets are thinner than those of men doing the same job. This is confirmed by a study made by economics professor Yrjö Vartia and research assistant Jaana Kurjenoja that is the first broad investigation into wage differences and discrimination based on individual data to be carried out in Finland.

Vartia does not subscribe to the frequently voiced claim that women's wages amount to only three quarters of men's. "Wage discrimination does not fully account for the 20-30 per cent discrepancy in the overall earnings of men and women. Most of the deficit is due to different work characteristics, such as the demands of the job, the age and education of the employee. This does, however, leave some clear wage discrimination that can only be explained by gender," he agrees.

The wage discrimination in Finland, i.e. the differences in the wages paid to men and women for the same job, is 8.5 per cent for white-collar workers and 4.5 per cent for blue- collar.

"The fact that men and women are recruited for different jobs, and that the salaries in predominantly women's fields are lower than those in predominantly men's, is quite another matter. The wage differences from one job to another may be ascribed to many factors that are virtually impossible to present as statistics, which means they are difficult to examine statistically," says Vartia. Such mechanisms which do not fall within the domain of wage discrimination are the tendency of women to be employed in less demanding jobs and discrimination at managerial level.

In Finland, male blue-collar workers receive 19 per cent higher wages than women. The wage gap for white-collar workers is considerably bigger: men on average take home a pay packet that is 48 per cent bigger than that of their female colleagues. According to an inquiry conducted by Statistics Finland, the gap between men's and women's wages has grown wider in the past couple of years, and the situation is not expected to improve in the very near future. The obstacles standing in the way to this are attitudes, which are slow to change, the male dominance of the thriving export industry, and the increase in wage drifts. The main weapon for women in the battle for equal wages is their high level of education.

The study made by Vartia and Kurjenoja covered a population of 4,954 blue-collar and 3,177 white-collar workers. The sample was selected in the normal way from company wage statistics and included workers from all the wage and salary levels represented in the company. Wage gaps and discrimination were then examined by means of regression and covariance analysis. The results of the study apply to some 160,000 blue- and white-collar workers employed in industry.

"Judging from the study, it is true to say that men are systematically paid more than women for doing the same job," is how Professor Yrjö Vartia sums the matter up. He does, however, point out that there is no reason why this wage discrimination should not be put right; where there's a will, there's a way.

First female soldiers enlisted

Ulla Kivekäs

Finland's first female soldiers have now enlisted. The selected 225 women will enter the armed forces next year.

In its first year, the female military service has proved very popular. By the beginning of May, almost 1,100 applications had been filed. The applicants must be 17 to 29 years of age.

The female military service does not differ from the normal (male) service. Legally and socially, a recruited woman has the same rights as a man.

Among the newly selected female recruits are two students at the University of Helsinki, Outi Siimes and Pia Heinonen. Besides being students, they are also city council members of Lahti and represent the National Coalition Party.

Outi Siimes started her political career four years ago by speaking strongly in favour of female military service. Pia Heinonen had the same idea later on.

The 27-year-old Pia is in now her second term in the Lahti city council. She will enter the military service in July next year in the Helsinki Anti-Aircraft Defense Regiment in Hyrylä. "I must enter the service now; later on I'll be too old", she says.

It is a "must" because she wants to participate in the service, although the timing for her is not the best possible. Her studies at the University of Helsinki are only half finished. She has just switched her main subject from physics to geography, which she had wanted to study from the very beginning.

"Unfortunately I'm too old for the Military Academy. But anyway, I'll still want to go to the Reserve Officers' School", Pia says.

As the Military Academy is out of question, Pia is especially sorry at not being able to take part in the Independence Day reception at the Presidential Palace, where the students of the Academy are yearly invited to dance with unaccompanied female guests (which, in her case, would be the male ones).

Let's reap the harvest

"Obviously, I'll have to enter the female military service, since I have worked for it for four years", says Outi Siimes, 24 years of age. This is her first term in the Lahti city council.

Outi will be posted to the Artillery Brigade in Niinisalo, where her service will start in January. She would have preferred the Air Force Technical School at Kuorevesi. "There were 150 applicants, and only 15 were taken. It's like trying to enter a university."

Outi has barely started her studies. She has studied computer science for two years at the University of Helsinki, but last year her studies suffered during the parliamentary elections, in which Outi was a candidate. In addition to computer science, she has studied environmental subjects at the training centre of the University of Lahti.

"A military career would appeal to me, but it depends on my chances of entering the Reserve Officers' School. If I make it and like it, I could even think about entering the Military Academy. But, at some stage, I'll also want to get an academic degree."

Pia and Outi both want to go on being city council members in Lahti, although Outi suspects that, as a newly enlisted recruit in Niinisalo, she won't be able to participate in the meetings. But after the recruit period she believes in finding time for the city council and the board of a training company.

"I'll try to handle the city council and the school board all the time. That's why I wanted to enter the service as near by as possible, namely in Hyrylä. I'm also a deputy member of the city government, but so far my presence has not been required very often", Pia says.

Russian language goes business

Pauliina Susi

In Finland the Russian language has always had a special status -- it has been either loved or hated. Russian reflects the Slav mentality and the rapid development of Russian society.

When Arto Mustajoki began his studies at the University of Helsinki in the sixties, he shocked his father, who was a clergyman, by growing a beard and enrolling on an elementary course in Russian.

"I suppose it was a good boy's protest," Mustajoki laughs, looking back now as Vice-Rector and Professor of Russian language and literature.

Finns have never been nonpartisan vis-à-vis Russian; for us it has never been just a language among others.

"Having lived with Russians as neighbours for centuries, Finns have a love-hate relationship with their language. We disapprove of a lack of orderliness, even laziness, in the Russian way of life, which is totally alien to the Finnish mentality. On the other hand, Slavonic culture attracts us. Many Russian songs are popular in Finland. There is an affinity on some deep psychological level," Arto Mustajoki says.

No language without culture

"With Finland's membership in the European Union, Russian has only grown in importance, because our knowledge of Russian language and culture and our experience of trade with Russia give Finland a special edge in the Union. I would have thought that the fall of communism had freed the Russian language of its old ballast and raised it to the status it really deserves in Finland. This has not, however, happened -- partly owing to the chaotic, and even dangerous, situation in Russia."

It is only in the past couple of years that pupils in Finnish primary and secondary schools have begun to take up Russian. Especially in the eastern parts of Finland, schoolchildren understand that Russian is needed in service industries and in trade. In adult education centres, Russian has always been a popular subject. It is often later in life that people realize how useful Russian is.

But it is not enough to know the language. "In dealings with Russian people, one must above all know their culture. I know a Finnish engineer, who does not speak the language, but has learned a few songs in Russian. I fancy he has sold a few extra tons of pulp after get-togethers," Mustajoki says.

Russian reflects Slav mentality

Arto Mustajoki wants to refute a common misconception. "Russian is not a difficult language. The orthography takes one night to learn. The grammar and syntax are fairly uncomplicated, and even Russian pronunciation is quite regular," Mustajoki explains.

One special characteristic of Russian is the verb aspect. It is a feature typical of Slavonic languages, indicating whether the action expressed by the verb is completed or not. Russian is also famous for its seven different sibilants.

Some characteristics of Russian are considered to reflect the Slav mentality. When an event is caused by natural forces, the verb is in a special half-passive, half-active voice. This has been claimed to reflect a belief in supernatural forces. Sometimes the inflection of a word depends on whether it refers to an animate or inanimate object. Such a distinction between the animate and inanimate worlds is another feature attributed to the Russian mentality, although in historical terms it stems purely from a desire to avoid ambiguity.

Business language replaces communist officialese

Russian usage has changed rapidly in recent years. In communist times, journalistic style and official language were emotional, pompous and full of clichés. Even the language of science was highly affected. Arto Mustajoki thinks that the style might partly date back to the Czarist era, but after the Communist revolution officials tampered with the language intentionally. Politicians were interested in language as an instrument of propaganda. A new vocabulary was an important part of the communist programme.

In the 1990s Russian usage has become lighter. The language of the press is approaching spoken language. Russian has borrowed a great deal of business vocabulary from English. At the same time, such changes modify usage and customs. First names have become a common form of address, and the younger generation no longer want to use patronymic names (Ivan Ivanovich), because they associate this ancient Russian tradition with the Soviet regime.

The Russian intelligentsia have aired their concern about the purity of the language, especially about excessive borrowing from English. Mustajoki has no confidence in attempts to protect the purity of the language. He thinks that the situation will settle down in a few years, but part of the language will certainly change for good.

The colourful history of Russian teaching

The instruction of Russian at the University of Helsinki has had its ups and downs since the mid 19th century, when Finland formed an autonomous part of the Russian Empire. For a time Russian was a compulsory subject in Finnish schools, and there were many renowned professors of Russian in Helsinki. After Finland became independent in 1917, people wanted to ban the instruction of Russian. At the University, Russian was hidden quietly under the heading of Slavonic Philology. After the Second World War, Russian got a Chair of its own, and in the 1960s, it was a popular subject again.

"In fact, certain developments in Russia and the former Soviet Union have had an immediate impact on the popularity of the language. When the war in Afghanistan began, students lost interest in the language at once, whereas in the Gorbachev era it picked up again. English never lost its popularity because of the Vietnam war or the United States' action in Panama."

Now the Department of Slavonic Languages at the University of Helsinki is the largest in western countries. About 400 students read Russian as their major subject, and some 50 new students are admitted every year. There are many more applicants than are admitted. There are many foreigners and Ingrian return migrants among the applicants.

The students are of a high international standard. In addition to Russian language and linguistics, undergraduates study Russian literature and culture. Half of the theses deal with literature.

Half of the graduates find jobs in teaching, especially within adult education. Many make careers in trade. Proficiency in Russian may also be the key to the media, library work and other jobs in the field of culture.

The proximity of Russia and Finland's special status as its neighbour have been very useful to the Department of Slavonic Languages. Under the Soviet regime, Finland was one of the few places which Russian top scholars could visit relatively easily. Students in Helsinki have been treated to guest lectures by foremost Russian linguists and many famous authors.

The real ace of the Department is the Slavonic Library, which is unique in the world. Under the Russian rule, it was a copyright library, receiving a copy of every book printed in Russia. Particularly its collection of 19th century Russian literature is the best in the world. The Library is also widely used by students of Russian history.

Over 2,000 Russian experts trained at the University of Helsinki

More than 2,000 Russian managers and other experts have so far participated in the business courses held at the Lahti Research and Training Centre of the University of Helsinki. The made-to-measure business courses for Russians started in 1988. Lately also people from other fields have been trained. In summer 1995, for instance, a group of Russian physicians became acquainted with Finnish medical care.

The business courses for Russian managers and other experts try to give a general picture of a Western market economy and the functioning of Finnish companies. The Russians pay for the courses themselves. The courses are mainly held at Imatra and Lahti.

The courses are always planned together with the Russians. The goal is to help Russian managers to develop their own businesses and also to find new business contacts. The teachers are Finnish managers and university lecturers. Also visits to Finnish companies are part of the programme. The Russians are encouraged to train themselves also after the course. They have been satisfied with the training, and sometimes the demand has been greater than the possibilities to take participants. The immediate benefits of the training, such as new business contacts, depend on the field and location of the Russian companies.

The Russian projects are led by Mr Vladimir Orlov, who lectures on Finnish commercial law and is also engaged in research on Russian business legislation. According to him, the Russian group of physicians was a good example of expanding the field. "We would like to have more specialist groups, and we are constantly developing our activities in that direction. On the other hand, as recently as five years ago it was difficult to imagine that regular doctors would come to Finland to be trained and even pay for the training themselves."

Finland and the University of Helsinki have a lot to give

Orlov thinks that training could be given in any branch of science taught at the University of Helsinki. One of the goals is also to make the University of Helsinki and Finnish science known in general. "Finland has a lot to give to Russians, but unfortunately the economically difficult situation in Russia has limited contacts to certain fields only. What the Lahti Research and Training Centre does in Finland can be utilized in Russia, too. Obviously, the idea is not to transfer knowledge directly to Russia, but the Russians often have to find their own solutions. But there are good chances for increasing cooperation, especially as the situation in Russia improves."

Over the years, the training has changed in many ways. After two-week courses, follow-up courses have been arranged, and long-term training programmes are about to start. The idea has been to create long- term training relations with the companies. Orlov thinks that, more frequently than before, the training should focus on longer and more advanced training programmes, without forgetting the practical point of view. This sort of cooperation is liable to improve also economic relations between Finland and Russia. "We have just started a half-year training programme for managers from the oil industry. The form of training we are using is multiform teaching, and the Russians have been very interested in the training itself as well as in this new way of doing it. Also other similar programmes are being developed."

Even if the continuity of the training is worth aiming at, the exacting nature of the follow-up courses has sometimes been a problem because of the varying backgrounds of the participants. "Many managers have to decide whether they come to Finland to be trained or for a tourist trip. The Lahti Centre does not approve of tourist trips. There are enough travel agencies in Finland and Russia, and this sort of business does not suit a university. Regular managers often think that they already know so much that it is easy to learn new things also at a theoretical level. But it is a long way from theory to applying it in practice and really doing things. The effect of short courses too often remains at the level of concepts; the longer programmes help to a deeper adoption of things. On the other hand, one could oversimplify matters and say that, in Russia, those who have money think that they know enough, and those who would need the knowledge, don't have enough money."

According to Orlov, there are all kinds of trainers circulating in Russia. He thinks that the Russians would need deeper knowledge of the things than what the trainers are offering, so that they could also adopt the knowledge. On the other hand, Orlov thinks that training is an effective way of making progress in society in general and also a way of starting scientific cooperation with Finns. Unfortunately, the difficult economic situation of the universities is still obstructing more ambitious plans. Orlov also dreams of teaching Russians to train themselves.

In addition to courses and training programmes, the Lahti Research and Training Centre has arranged seminars dealing with foreign trade and international cooperation. In 1993 and 1994 common meetings have also been arranged for entrepreneurs from Finland and St Petersburg.

Dissertation on Russian economic law

Vladimir Orlov is presently finishing his dissertation on legislation. Its theme is 'The legislative conditions and forms of business in Russia from the point of view of a Finnish company'. Lots of work has been done in Russia during the last few years in order to renovate the legislative system. Orlov's work deals with the new civil code, which was adopted the beginning of 1995.

"My dissertation is an extension of my licentiate's degree, which I took in 1986. While I have been working on it, the social and legislative changes in the Soviet Union and later in Russia have proved a problem. A recorded legislative norm does not really tell how things are in reality."

For further information on the Russian training projects: Vladimir Orlov, tel. +358-0-1912 3645 and Pirkko Visnevskij, tel. +358-0-1912 3646.

The University of Helsinki develops Bulgarian social security systems

An international group of consultants collected by the Lahti Research and Training Centre of the University of Helsinki assessed Bulgarian social problems and the functioning of its social security systems in 1994 - 1995.

An extensive development plan for social security systems was produced as a result of this one-year project. Among other things, the plan proposes measures for changing legislation, investment systems and social security administration, as well as statistical systems. Modifications were suggested for central and local administration, and renovations were proposed for the educational system. The project was funded by the World Bank and carried out at the request of the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs of Bulgaria.

The Lahti Research and Training Centre of the University of Helsinki was chosen to coordinate the project as a result of an international competition with over 20 participants from European institutions. Ms Eija Bergman, the development manager of the Centre, says that the Bulgarians' confidence in Finnish social security knowhow influenced the decision. "The University of Helsinki has experience from similar development projects, for instance in Estonia. Besides, we wanted to do the work in a constant dialogue with the Bulgarian experts."

The ex-socialist countries, which are moving toward a market economy, are experiencing various difficulties. The most common are the political crisis in general, old-fashioned economic systems and the huge grey economy, enormous foreign debt, ethnic and religious problems, environmental problems and, the most difficult to assess, a crisis of values and morals. Also in Bulgaria, as a result of social changes, many people have to live at a subsistence level. The most crucial of Bulgarian social problems are the impoverishment of the population or the expansion of poverty into new groups, the reduction of real incomes, high inflation, unemployment and the visible increase of criminality. In this situation the Finns have tried to show the direction for the renovation of social security systems.

Poverty has led to many sorts of entrepreneurship, and the portion of the grey economy is big. "It was one of the most vital results of the research that families with many children are in the worst position. Every family has to figure out where to earn an income, and all possible ways are used. Some people make their children beg in the street, others collect money by performing with a bear, and still others sell weighing with scales."

In principle, also the Bulgarian social security systems should form a protective net for those who cannot stand on their own feet. But the development of the Bulgarian social security system is closely linked with the political and economic situation of the country. The functioning of economic life determines how much money will remain for other purposes. In developing a country, it is not easy to reach political unanimity; besides, the country is not used to developing its own activities, since it has been used to outside control.

According to Eija Bergman, it is surprising to notice that, among other things, a community is allowed to decide independently how to use its own funds. So a poor community may announce to a person who is entitled to income support or child subsidy that, this month, there is no money available because it is being used to build a road. In this case, social security is not a subjective right, and therefore the Ministry receives lots of complaints from people who have not received the money they are entitled to. Social institutions, such as homes for the handicapped or orphans, have to fight every day in order to make the money suffice for food. Often, there is not enough money for clothes or the personnel's salaries.

Weak legitimization crumbles power

Jukka Luoma

The strange uncertainty expressed by Soviet power-holders during Leonid Brezhnev's regime sparked off Pentti Sadeniemi's interest while he was working as a correspondent in Moscow, and inspired him to study the relations between power and its legitimacy in depth.

Last June, Sadeniemi's doctoral dissertation entitled Principles of Legitimacy and International relations was publicly examined at the University of Helsinki.

In this study, legitimate political power is defined as power that is accepted as justified by those subjected to it. The legitimacy of leadership depends on how widely and unquestioningly its exercise of power is accepted.

The author divides different principles of power legitimation into two major groups. First, power can be legitimized by governance: there are issues of communal importance that must be taken care of. Second, legitimation may rely on a specific task in which the state serves as an instrument.

"During my time in Moscow it was obvious that the Soviet leaders gave a great deal of thought to legitimacy. They were remarkably sensitive to anything that might have questioned their legitimacy," Sadeniemi recalls.

According to him, the Soviet leadership were caught in their own trap. "The party held to two arguments: that its power was democratic, and that its power was related to the task of creating a Communist society." Yet the country was not heading towards Communism, nor was it a democracy.

"Any system that has been ruling for 70 years can claim that it must remain in power because that is the only way to keep the wheels in motion. But in Moscow such an argument was useless because the doctrine did not contain anything to legitimize traditional power as such."

The Soviet Union finally collapsed, owing to its inner weakness, and its East-European circle of influence broke up, although the oppressive machineries of the ruling parties still appeared to be intact.

Upheavals of the Iranian Islamic revolution

According to Sadeniemi, the Islamic revolution that took place in Iran in the late 1970's is a good example of how changes in the legitimacies of rulers directly affect the so-called cold power relations.

"The Iranian spiritual leaders associate power with a specific task: they must convert the society to Islam and spread the Islamic faith. However, should it be found that this project is not progressing, the leaders would not be trapped because they claim to represent a power system legitimized by God and because it makes no difference how many decades it will take to accomplish the task."

"Events like the Iranian revolution also have international repercussions. When Khomeini ordains how Muslims must live subject to political power, all those who lead Islamic countries according to other principles become usurpers of power. The doctrinal legitimation of power challenges the legitimacies of all neighbours," Sadeniemi argues.

Sadeniemi does not believe that the developments of the last ten years in the Soviet Union, Iran and elsewhere could be explained solely by the methods of the so-called realist school.

"The realist theory is based on the notion that everything is power politics and that ideologies are merely propaganda. But think of Western politicians or businessmen Ä- they really had major personal interests at stake when their principles were challenging the Communist ideology."

"It is a strange thing to say that this is nothing but power politics disguised as ideology, since ideologies frequently involve very strong interests. When Socialism collapsed, it did not only pull down Politburos; it also affected innumerable individuals who had built their whole lives on the Socialist principle and its established application."

Legitimacy as clarification

Surprisingly little has been written about the relations between legitimacy and power, as Sadeniemi points out. "It is hard to formulate a conceptual structure that would help you to proceed, without allowing illusions to replace reality. This is why the realist school has so long dominated the theory of international relations."

"This is an attempt to outline a conceptual structure where the semantic fields of concepts are not very precise. My aim is not to formulate hypotheses and then check whether or not they come true. The international reality does not lend itself to such attempts."

"This kind of dissertation cannot come up with results in the same sense as a natural-scientific study. If there is a result, I suppose it is a possibility of understanding some aspects of international politics slightly more clearly."

"Of course it is also possible to argue that the gap I referred to in international politics research is there because filling it would be of no use. By way of answer, my dissertation attempts to show that the gap should be filled," Sadeniemi says.


Pentti Sadeniemi began to study the relations between power and its legitimacy when he was stationed in Moscow in the 1970's as a correspondent.

Pentti Sadeniemi: Principles of Legitimacy and International Relations. Acta Politica, 250 pages. ISSN 0784-0632, ISBN 951-45-7040-5. Gummerus 1995.


This interview was originally published in Helsingin Sanomat, where Pentti Sadeniemi is one of the leader editors.

Finland's youngest PhD ever: I am no genius

Multi-talented Tuomas Lukka completes his doctorate in physical chemistry at the age of twenty

The strangest thing about Tuomas Lukka, 20, is that he appears to be just an ordinary young man, or on closer inspection, really almost a boy. But can you be ordinary when you complete your doctorate at a younger age than anyone else in the whole country in a field such as quantum mechanics, and on top of everything else, attain such a high standard in your research that it arouses international interest?

Tuomas Lukka has sought new ways of understanding a molecule's nuclear motion in his research. He has developed mathematical models for calculating this motion, since the current capacity of computers is insufficient for this task. "I find nothing odd about the fact that I came up with a solution to these problems; what I find odd is that no one else thought of it before," says Tuomas.

Tuomas had already studied textbooks on quantum mechanics at comprehensive school, but it was only at the university that he really got involved in quantum chemistry and mechanics.

One feels perplexed when faced with the boyishness and candour of this prodigy, who caused a stir through the academic community. He does not fit the stereotype of the serious, labouring student and scientist at all. "I find quantum mechanics easy. It is all to the good when you don't know too much about it. Too much knowledge can be an obstacle to coming up with new ideas; it can lead to a complete deadlock."

Tuomas says he worked five or six hours a day on his dissertation. Research did not take up all his time - he tackled his work only when he felt inspired to do so.

Son of two professors

Associate Professor Anita Lukka says of her son that "he was an active child, extremely curious and quick to learn, very impulsive."

Tuomas showed signs of musical and mathematical gifts at a very tender age, but did not do particularly well at school. His mother remembers him as a self-sufficient and introverted child, who eventually opened up during his teenage years and has become more and more sociable ever since.

"Tuomas learned to read and play music before he learned to read books. He said that was only because he wanted us parents to read aloud to him", she recalls.

Tuomas himself does not believe that genes have much to do with the development of cognitive abilities - - even though his father also is a professor! Tuomas argues that the environment that he grew up in, a home steeped in academic thinking, parents ready to answer a child's most perplexing questions and a tolerant atmosphere, was more important to him than genetic heritage. "Although in issues which were not academic questions, I do not think that our family was particularly open-minded," Tuomas says with a slightly rebellious tone in his voice.

His mother agress that at home they discussed all topics possible and Tuomas was encouraged to seek knowledge for himself.

"In technical work at primary school Tuomas tried to build a robot arm and he had his own ideas about using the magnet," Mrs. Lukka recalls. "But it was at the upper stage of the comprehensive school that Tuomas really got going. We tried to slow him down and asked him what the hurry was."

Tuomas, who was born in December 1974, completed upper secondary school mathematics while still in comprehensive school, skipped the second year of the upper secondary school, completed the school- leaving examinations at the age of 17 with the best possible grades, and went on to begin his studies at the University of Helsinki.

In the spring of his first-year studies, while taking an advanced-level course in quantum chemistry, he became interested in molecules and quantum mechanics and decided to specialize in physical chemistry.

Problem-solving is fun

Tuomas completed his Master's degree in chemistry, mathematics and physics with excellent grades. He started working on his dissertation in the summer of 1993, after having studied at the university for only a year.

Professor Lauri Halonen, who supervised Tuomas' dissertation, finds it extraordinary that despite his youth, Tuomas was not content with the research topics given to him by his professor, and came up with research problems and solutions entirely on his own.

Tuomas says he enjoys the challenges of problem-solving. Doing research does at times make you stressed and weary, but it is always fun to find a solution to a problem. Tuomas describes his working methods: "When you have a well-defined problem, you must think, try out different formulas on the computer or just rough it out on a piece of paper. You can think anywhere; the easiest is out in the nature where it is quiet, but sometimes it feels good to think in the hubbub of the cafeteria."

Mathematical formulas and mental visualization

Tuomas came up with and resolved one of his research problems in just a couple of weeks during his summer vacation in Central Finland, in a commune organized by young people. Since last year, Tuomas has spent quite a lot of his time at this commune.

"When I think, I can't do anything else. Mental visualization demands total concentration. Since I see the problems and their solutions in the form of mental images, I actually can't even look at anything else at the same time."

When Tuomas has thought of an idea, he must put it down on the computer. That, he maintains, is boring, because the computer is so dumb. The computer is fast at what it does, but it can do nothing without the appropriate command from a human being.

Tuomas argues that the results, scientific solutions, are never logical solutions, but rather intuitive ideas, sudden visions. "Sometimes you can't transfer them into formulas right away, but have to visualize them several times."

Tuomas sees formulas as a language that explains and summarises graphs. He learned the language of scientific formulas at the same time as other languages. Tuomas has found foreign languages easy to learn, but sports and the arts gave him more trouble. "In the humanities there is no clearly-defined truth," he explains.

Intuition comes in handy in instrument building

Since Tuomas was a small boy, he has been reading science-fiction in English, and has also fallen in love with the beautiful language of Dickens and his contemporaries.

Tuomas plays the piano, the recorder, the harpsichord and the transverso, a Baroque tranverse flute. His dream is to build a harpsichord -- he is currently building a clavichord for practice. Tuomas believes that as in science, in instrument building intuition and vision play an important role.

This interview was previously published in the daily newspaper Turun Sanomat.

Tuomas Lukka: Some Studies of Molecular Vibration and Vibration-rotation Hamiltonians. University Press 1995, ISBN 952-90-6594-9

Further information from: Dr. Tuomas Lukka, Puistokaari 1 E 18, 00200 Helsinki, Finland,tel. +358-0-692 3924.

Professor emeritus Pekka Vuoria's thesis on the disadvantages of Public Sector: The patient's free choice would remove parasitic functions from medical care

Eila Väisänen

The free choice of the patient and also of the doctor would help to keep down the costs of Public Medical Care and to remove the expensive parasitic functions that can be traced to rationalistic fallacy.

These conclusions can be found in professor Pekka Vuoria's thesis, which evaluates the disadvantages of our Public Medical Care from a philosophical point of view.

Vuoria does not want to criticize the system strongly and states that Finnish Public Medical Care is generally speaking on a high level and has lots of benefits to offer. The work done by nurses, physicians and others is of high quality.

"But there are some disadvantages that could be easily repaired. The patients often feel them too strongly on an emotional level. It may be only a minor point where they have been treated somewhat badly", says Vuoria.

His starting point is classical liberalism, which believes that when utilizing dispersed information in a market economy, the individual is capable of deciding for himself what to do with his money.

"This principle could be better put into practice also in medical praxis", Vuoria states.

The misunderstood patient

The patient's distress, basically caused by his disease, is further increased by indifference, unfriendliness, anxious waiting in uncertainty, lack of respect and interest, and reluctance to listen. Also the limits of responsibility may be unclear.

"Administration, economy, theoretical biomedicine and nursing science, bureaucratic systems as well as political aspirations overwhelm the unknown, unprivileged patient, who is suffering and dies lonelier than ever. Often the patient's level of knowledge and his will or wishes are not understood or even paid attention to. Nobody asks for the conditions of the patient's choice", Vuoria states.

The patient should make the choice

At the moment, the systems of Public Medical Care are directed, administered, structured and managed from the top downwards. Vuoria thinks that the decisive factor, also in Public Medical Care, should be the patient's possibility of making the choice as often as possible.

It is sometimes claimed that the patients don't know enough about medicine to choose their own medical care.

"It is like buying clothes, food or furniture without being an expert: when consulting a doctor, the patient will know if he is treated well or in an unfriendly way", Vuoria points out.

Vuoria presumes that in an organization-patient encounter the patient should be given the privilege of making his choice, since the encounter of the patient and the doctor is the basic contact of all good medical care.

The patient would bring the money

The costs of the present system are escalating. "We can not apply all modern means of medicine to everybody. There is no spare heart for all of us", Vuoria says.

"If the choice were made by the patient, he would also bring the money. He would have a health insurance card to show that this is where he wants to go. A place with lots of patients would also have more resources", Vuoria describes.

The medical care units could be small teams of some ten or twenty people, with certain powers, such as the the ability to hire and dismiss its members, as well as certain uniform, accepted lines of operation, and common values. The members of the team would know each other and meet often, so that "the wrinkles of their smiles would be familiar".

"These units would compete with other, similar units. This kind of system could be applied to various organizations, if there is the will", Vuoria states.

The nonmeasurable quality

If doctors were also given the freedom to do their work, the present system could be humanized, and the expensive and harmful overgrowths and deviations removed, Vuoria claims.

"We talk about the quality of health care. I think that we should talk about the quality of the medical care of the sick. This kind of quality exists, but how should we measure it? We want to quantify it, but we don't know how", Vuoria points out.

"And yet about a million articles concerning quality have been written in twenty years. This is useless nonsense, which does not improve the status of the patient", Vuoria criticizes.

Another example of parasitic deviations: the director of a large university hospital says that the task of his hospital is to give medical care and to employ people.

"If the hospital is a social-based workplace, its original target of operation is not being properly carried out. Then, there is the problem of suppressed information. The patients dare tell only afterwards, as anecdotes, the unpleasant things that happened to them. Also these examples should be systematically collected, and not only suppressed by saying that they are of no importance. Such anecdotes are important if they reveal drawbacks", Vuoria points out.

More common sense in medical care

Vuoria emphasizes that there are lots of good nurses and good doctors, who give good care despite the system.

"But the emotional drawbacks of the system could be easily improved by applying a little good will and common sense, so that the system would be less expensive and yet function better", Vuoria believes.

According to him, the disadvantages of the present system date back to the French Revolution. That is when the idea about public medical care was born in Western civilization. A clinic with different phases and types of diseases was developed to train doctors.

What is the matter with you, an 18th-century doctor asked his patient. The clinic's systematic way of thinking turned this question into: Where does it hurt?

"The present structures of the Public Medical Care were the result of this system-oriented attitude and the scientific-technical development. The system inspires confidence. The machine functions well in many respects, but does not pay enough attention to the patient as an individual human being. Many problems that are based on the biomedical way of thinking are generally not handled", says Vuoria.

Now we should go back to the question "What is the matter with you" and add to it another question: where and when do you need help and who should give it.

Inspiration from the private sector

"The patient should be able to choose where and when he goes for treatment and who should take care of him. This sort of tendency is surely possible to include in the system, be it public or private", Vuoria believes.

But he does not think that a private system would be an all-round solution to problems. The work of private doctors gives good ideas and alleviates the economic burden on Public Medical Care, but all the functions of Public Medical Care can hardly be carried out by private enterprises", Vuoria suspects.

Personal survival course

Professor Pekka Vuoria compiled his second thesis after having retired. He was born in 1924, graduated from Lahti High School in 1942, and, at the end of his active career, worked for decades until 1990 as a docent and professor of radiology at various universities. His first dissertation was submitted in 1959.

Now Vuoria talks about his amateur phase. It includes his studies of philosophy, his M. A. degree and thesis within five years.

"I didn't want to stay home reading old books and new magazines. I wanted something else. This is my way of keeping the system going, phase No. 1 of my survival course, which obviously took some five years. Now I'll have to plan some new ones", he explains.

Besides his scientific work, Pekka Vuoria has published a book of poetry and five adventure stories for boys, and written hundreds of light stories for Finnish newspapers and magazines.

The thesis by Pekka Vuoria is called "Philosophical aspects of Public Medical Care. The rationalistic fallacy and its consequences." AJ Mattilan Kirjapaino Oy, Oulu 1995, ISBN 951- 9160-17-5

The article was published in Etelä-Suomen Sanomat.

Asssyria 1995

The glory and fall of the Assyrian Empire

M.S. Whiting

The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming in purple and gold;
And their raincoats and umbrellas shone wet in the cold.
(Lines 1-2 "The Destruction of Sennacherib" by Lord Byron;
Line 3 "The Helsinki Weather Report" by M. S. Whiting)

The modern-day cohorts of the Assyrian kings descended on Helsinki on
the 7th of September in the form of many of the finest scholars in the
field of Assyriology. They came to help celebrate the 10th Anniversary
of the Neo-Assyrian Text Corpus (State Archives of Assyria) Project
which is directed by Prof. Simo Parpola. This truly international group
of more than 70 scholars represented 15 different countries: Australia,
Austria, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Great Britain, Holland,
Israel, Italy, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Turkey, and the United States
of America, and included three representatives of the contemporary
Assyrian community -- Nariman Solhkhah, his son Cyrus, and Peter Talia.
This extraordinary group had come to participate in a five day
symposium, ASSYRIA, 1995. The Symposium had two distinct types of papers --
Scholarly Papers designed for exchanges of information and new ideas
amongst specialists, and Public Lectures, a gift made by the Project to
the people of Helsinki by inviting top scholars in the field to give a
series of lectures designed for non-specialists. This was a challenge for
these scholars and they all rose to it admirably.

Day 1 -- 7th September

The Chancellor of the University of Helsinki, Dr. Lauri Saxén, opened
the symposium, remarking on Finland's long-standing association with
with the field of Assyriology, having had one of the first chairs in the
field and with the first courses in Assyriology having been taught here
over a century ago.
There followed four public lectures on the topic of the Assyrian Empire.
The large audience, consisting of people from many different fields, were
treated to lectures intended to make our somewhat abstruse field
Prof. J. A. Brinkman of the University of Chicago led off
with a paper entitled "Unfolding the Drama of the Assyrian Empire" which
kindly included a very complimentary description of the Helsinki
Project's own contributions to that "unfolding." Next came Prof. Hayim
Tadmor of The Hebrew University in Jerusalem, whose lecture on
"Propaganda and Literature: Cracking the Code of the Assyrian Royal
Inscriptions" explained how Assyrian royal ideology was embodied in the
royal inscriptions in a form that, among all the ancient empires, was
peculiar to Assyria.
Prof. David Stronach of the University of California at Berkeley, an
archaeologist who has recently been excavating at Nineveh, accompanied
his lecture, "Urban Nineveh: New Perspectives from the Last Imperial
Capital of the Assyrian World," with slides illustrating not only the
history of excavations at Nineveh beginning in the 1840's but his own
work which included the excavation of one of Nineveh's gates with the
jumbled skeletons of Assyrians lying undisturbed since that dreadful day
in 612 BC when the city was destroyed. His work has also given new
insights into how that destruction was achieved in practice by the enemy
Prof. A. K. Grayson, Director of the Royal Inscriptions of Mesopotamia
Project of the University of Toronto, spoke on "The Resurrection of
Ashur: A History of Assyrian Studies." His interesting presentation
included a delightful anecdote from the earliest period of decipherment:
three different scholars were given "sealed envelopes" containing
identical copies of a cuneiform inscription and asked to translate it.
When their translations were compared and found to be virtually
indistinguishable, it was decided with a sigh of relief that, indeed,
decipherment had truly been accomplished!
The afternoon was devoted to scholarly papers with the level of
abstruseness soaring, though many members of the public, having been
"hooked" during the morning, remained, and several registered for the
At 17.15 in the Grand Hall of the University of Helsinki, the 10th
Anniversary Celebration began with the song "The One Come Forth on High
I Will Hail" sung in the original Sumerian by jazz singer Reine Rimón
accompanied by her Hot Papas but to the tune of "Amazing Grace" with a
distinctly jazz-like beat! Vice-Rector Arto Mustajoki gave the opening
address, welcoming the participants and praising the international
flavour of the gathering as well as that of the SAA Project. Next came
"The Mystic Dance of Ishtar" performed by the Masrah Dance Group of
Helsinki and choreographed by Tuija Rinne. The dancers, gorgeous in yellow and
red, illustrated various aspects of the Mesopotamian goddess of love
Ishtar, including "The Tree of Life, Wedding Dance, Giving Birth,
Separation, Descent to the Netherworld, Battle, Death and Resurrection."
Prof. Paul Garelli of the Sorbonne, who is not only the
senior Neo-Assyriologist but is also the head of the larger group of
scholars in all branches of Ancient Near Eastern Studies, gave an
address -- "The Finnish Contribution to Assyrian Studies" -- detailing
Finland's long and productive association with the field. Reciter Martti
Mäkelä gave an oral interpretation of Enuma Elish (Primeval Water), the
Mesopotamian epic of creation. Dr. Andrew George of the School of
Oriental and African Studies, London, spoke on "Assyria and the Western
World," placing Assyria firmly as part of the western heritage and
suggesting that as time passes, in the next millennia or so (after all,
Assyriology is an infant field compared to Classics), Enuma Elish and
other works of Mesopotamian literature will become as commonly studied
and read as Homer is today. The Celebration Ceremony concluded with, once
again, Reine Rimón singing an Assyrian elegy, this time to the tune of
***. The Hot Papas then led the guests off to a lavish reception hosted
by the Rector of the University*** to the music of "When the Saints Go
Marching In!"

Day 2 -- 8th September

Friday morning began with two scholarly papers, though members of the
public were well in evidence. The Public Lectures continued, this day's
topic being "Assyrian Culture." Prof. Erle Leichty of the University of
Pennsylvania gave a lively lecture entitled "Divination, Magic, and
Astrology in the Assyrian Royal Court," which pointed out that all of
these practices are still going strong in modern times, and not by any
means confined to so-called "primative" societies. He noted that
horoscopes are the most widely-read literature in the world. This
lecture generated such a cheerful and enthusiastic question and answer
period, entered into equally by scholars and members of the public
alike, that Prof. Leichty might be there yet had there been no time limit.
Dr. Irene Winter of Harvard University in her lecture on "Art in Empire:
The Visual Dimension of Assyrian Royal Ideology" showed many examples of
Assyrian art and discussed the role art played in the empire and how it
was both used and viewed by the Assyrians themselves. It was interesting
to note how Prof. Winter's conclusions complemented those of Prof.
Tadmor the day before and that her presentation could equally
appropriately have been called 'Propaganda and Art: Cracking the Code of
the Assyrian Royal Reliefs.'
The lecture with the most intriguing title of the symposium, "'Is Simo
Parpola Crazy?' An Answer from the Perspective of the Study of Jewish
Mysticism," was delivered by Prof Ithamar Gruenwald, Director of the
Center for Religious Studies of Tel Aviv University. Contrary to some
joking comments, it was not the shortest lecture ever given, requiring
merely a three letter, single word answer. The lecture referred to Prof.
Parpola's recent work which compares the Assyrian Tree of Life to the
medieval Jewish Kabbalah, and suggests, amongst other ideas, a direct
line of descent from Assyrian religion through Judaism into
Christianity, finding the concept of a messianic figure or "saviour god"
in Assyrian religion. Though Prof. Gruenwald, an expert in Jewish
mysticism, admits there is much work to do, he believes that Prof.
Parpola's creative, remarkable and risk-taking study has "cracked open"
a very long-standing mystery, i.e. the origin of the Kabbalah.
Dr. Alasdair Livingstone of the University of Birmingham concluded the
Public Lectures with "New Dimensions in the Study of Assyrian Religion"
which demonstrated how the recent proliferation of research tools has made
it possible to bring together widely disparate elements to increase our
understanding of Assyrian religion.
In the afternoon, the scholarly papers continued, giving the archaeologists
a chance to show some exciting new Assyrian period discoveries at Til Barsip
in Syria, at Ekron in Israel, and over a wide area in the upper Tigris
valley in Turkey.
At the close of the session everyone jumped on a train and travelled to
Heureka, the Finnish Science Centre in Vantaa, for the opening of the
exhibition, NINEVEH 612 BC. Dr. Evelyn Klengel, Director of the
Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, gave an illustrated lecture entitled
"The Vorderasiatisches Museum and Its Assyrian Collection" outlining the
history of the museum itself and the strange odysseys of some of the
objects in this most magnificant of collections. Dr. Per-Edvin Persson,
Director of Heureka and Prof. Simo Parpola officially opened the exhibit
and cut the ribbon across the doorway of ... SURPRISE! An Assyrian royal
reception room reconstructed in the great foyer of Heureka! The outer
walls (L 10m W 4m H 4m) are the light clay colour with the same
glittering sandy particles found in original mud-brick. The arched
doorway is flanked by two large winged bulls with human heads,
protective guardian figures found at the gates and doorways of Assyrian
palaces. High on the interior walls are paintings -- red, black, blue,
and yellow (copies of originals from Til Barsip, Syria) -- showing the
enthroned king giving audience on one side and hunting lions from his
chariot on the other. Above and below are bright geometric and floral
motifs, while white rosettes decorate the red roof beams. Below the
paintings, running the length of the walls are reliefs depicting the
battle of Lachish (701 BC) and the king, the Tree of Life and guardian
spirits. The lighting is indirect and captures the atmosphere of ancient
oil lamps. Never mind that the walls are wood, the bulls styrofoam, the
reliefs photographs and that the painting was done in 1995 in Finland,
not 695 BC in Assyria -- the effect is stupendous! The objects, however,
in cases within the room, are all genuine. Thanks to the four lending
institutions, the British Museum in London, the Israel Museum in
Jerusalem, the State Hermitage in St. Petersburg and the
Vorderasiatisches Museum in Berlin, and the support of Finnair, for the
first time the Finnish public may see original Assyrian documents and
artefacts -- but in a setting they could see no where else, thanks to

The cuneiform tablets, all found in the royal archives at Nineveh, and
all published in the SAA series, illustrate various aspects of Assyrian
life -- politics, divination, astrological reports, prophecies, letters
from scholars and foreign relations. The artefacts further illuminate
the texts by filling out the picture of Assyrian life. They include
seals used on clay documents, luxury goods such as carved ivory and
glazed vessels, bronze bowls and weapons, pottery jars, apotropaic
figurines, jewellery, and an original stone relief from the palace of
Assurnasirpal II at Nimrud. The beautiful building including the display
of the objects dramatically arranged on sand, was the creation of
Heureka's Exhibition Director Jouko Koskinen. The 520 guests were
treated to a lavish buffet of fine Assyrian food -- olives, grapes,
apples, fresh vegetables, lamb, pita bread, wine and beer -- that would
have done credit to a royal banquet at Nineveh itself.

Day 3 -- 9th September

Saturday morning the participants were back bright and early at
Porthania for a full morning of seven scholarly papers on a variety of
topics with a lighter moment supplied by Dr. J.M. Russell of Columbia
University who described his and Dr. Julian Reade of the British
Museum's "archaeological" discovery of a genuine Assyrian stone relief
under layers of plaster on the wall of a sweet shop in a boys' school in
England! The afternoon was devoted to two workshops: "Historical
Geography of Assyria" chaired by Prof. Simo Parpola and welcomed by
Prof. Paavo Talman on the premises of the fine Geography Department here
at the University of Helsinki. The session discussed the new map of Assyria
being prepared by the Project in collaboration with the Geography Department
and the Tübingen Atlas des Vordern Orients, whose director, Prof. Wolfgang
Röllig, was present. The second workshop was on the "Chronology of
Post-canonical Eponyms" chaired by Dr. Robert Whiting (see UH 2/1994).
The day ended with a reception hosted by the Project and the Department
of Asian and African Studies, and held in the departmental library.
Guests were also invited to visit the Project's headquarters during the

Day 4 -- 10th September

I am sure that everyone who has read so far in this article will have
noted that the participants in the Symposium had, thus far, been kept
extremely busy. Sunday was a break. At 10.00 the ship, the J.L. Runeberg,
set off for Porvoo with all of us on board. The guests enjoyed the ride,
the beautiful coastline, the Finnish folk music provided by two "strolling
players," and, naturally, talking with each other. After a wander through
the old part of Porvoo and a visit to the cathedral, lunch was served at the
Vanha Laamanni Restaurant, followed by a return to Helsinki by bus.

Day 5 -- 11th September

The final day of the Symposium began with seven scholarly papers in the
morning and a short film, "The Descent of Ishtar," made by Scott Noegel,
a recently graduated student of Prof. David Owen. It is a portrayal of
the journey of the goddess Ishtar into the netherworld where she is held
prisoner by the queen of hell; ultimately rescued, her return brings
back fertility to the earth. The afternoon saw two final workshops
covering "Creation and Management of Electronic Cuneiform Data Bases"
chaired by Prof. D. Owen of Cornell University and "Desiderata in the
Study of Assyrian Economy and Society" chaired by Prof. K.R. Veenhof of
the University of Leiden. Our final evening together commenced with a
glass of champagne at the Dept. of Asian and African Studies from where
we proceeded on foot to the historic Officers' Club on Katajanokka. We
had a short tour of the building before sitting down to dinner in the
Hall of the Generals and dining on "Pike-perch a la Mannerheim" under a
portrait of the Marshal himself. Prof. Parpola thanked the guests for
their enthusiastic participation and commented on how much useful and
productive work had been accomplished. It was a happy ending to an
extremely successful symposium and everyone seemed to have had a great
Obviously, no one would have had a great time, nor would it have been so
successful without an enormous amount of work put in over the course of
the past year, much of it done by Acting Director of the Project, Raija
Mattila. During the absence of Prof. Parpola for the academic year
1994-95 she handled the correspondence with the various museums, worked
with Heureka on the planning of the exhibition, edited the catalogue of
the exhibition entitled "The Glory and Fall of the Assyrian Empire:
Nineveh 612 BC" and much, much more. Prof. Parpola upon his return to
the Directorship of the Project planned the 10th Anniversary
celebration, working with the performers. Dr. Robert Whiting, Managing
Editor of the Project, made sure that there were three new volumes ready
for the Symposium. SAA XI and SAA XII, published by Helsinki University
Press, were prepared with the assistance of Laura Kataja, the Project's
technical assistant, and SAAS Vol. III, published by the Neo-Assyrian
Text Corpus Project, was completed with the assistance of Margot Stout
Whiting, so that, including the catalogue of the exhibition, the Project
completed four volumes since the beginning of 1995.
The smooth running of the Symposium would not have been possible without
the assistance of our five hard-working students, Kaisa Åkerman, Pirjo
Lapinkivi, Mikko Luukko, Tommi Mäkelä, and Juha Pakkala whose intelligence,
linguistic excellence, helpfulness and sheer speed when needed turned many
a potential catastrophe into triumph. Bradley Parker, our visiting
Fulbright Scholar, turned his apartment into a breakfast room serving the
fifty-some participants who were housed in the new University housing in
Viikki and kept things running smoothly there in addition to participating
in the Symposium by giving a presentation of his own archaeological work in
The University Press and Heureka have both supported the Project for all
its 10 years. The Press has published all 12 volumes thus far produced
in the SAA series as well as the exhibition catalogue. The Project was
fortunate to have worked with Heureka during the Science Centre's own
planning stages and was invited to assist in the creation of several
exhibits. The Project looks forward to future collaboration with both
these institutions.