Former Finnish Communist Party leader and trade unionist Aarne Saarinen has died at the age of 90. He was a longtime parliamentarian for the Finnish Peoples' Democratic Union and had a long career in the Union of Construction Workers.
Despite his leftist leanings, Saarinen fought against the Soviet Union in World War II declaring afterwards that patriotism did not ask for one's party membership card.
Although a lifelong Marxist, Saarinen said the Soviet Union ruined socialism. During his period as communist party boss, he resisted efforts by Stalinist extremists to increase Soviet influence in Finland.
On the trade union front, Saarinen became leader of the Construction Workers' Union in 1954. He is credited for being one of the founders of the current system of pay and conditions agreements and for setting up union unemployment benefit funds.
Saarinen was considered as a eurocommunist and is remembered by his contemporaries for being one of Finland's honest communists.
YLE24, YLE Radio News