Undemocratic History Politics in a Democratic State: Celebrations of Finland’s 100 Years of Independence


  • Juho Korhonen Boğaziçi University, Istanbul


history politics, politics of history, Finland, democracy, nationalism, national anniversaries


This article analyses the history politics of the Finnish state as illustrated by the organization of the celebrations of the centenary of Finland’s independence. The article suggests that the Finnish state and its Finland 100 project promoted an undemocratic, controlled, and carefully curated approach towards the politics of history. An homage to pluralism was constructed on top of an immutable national narrative that was actively safeguarded and adopted as the only acceptable framework for interpretation of the connections between Finland’s past, the present, and future. In other words, as the primary source documents I analyzed show, lip service to the “harmonious coexistence of different perspectives” was coupled with controls over contested and alternative interpretations, with guidelines that urged the Finland 100 organizers to “report any weak signals of crisis to central communications in good time.”

DOI: 10.14712/23363231.2021.9