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Finnish Reservists’ Association slams false Russian interpretation of Winter War

The Finnish Reservists' Association criticises a Russian museum for spreading false information about the Winter War.

Väistyvä presidentti Boris Jeltsin ja tuleva presidentti Vladimir Putin virkaanastujaisseremoniassa 7. toukokuuta 2000.
Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin (left) with Vladimir Putin (right) at his presidential inauguration in 2000. Image: ITAR-TASS / EPA

A tweet by a Russian state-run museum painting Finland as the initial aggressor in the Winter War has angered the 37,000-member strong Finnish Reservists' Association. This year marks the 80th anniversary since the start of the 105-day Winter War.

Last week a state-run museum in Moscow tweeted that the Winter War broke out when Finnish artillery fired at Soviet stations. The tweet referenced a staged incident known as the Shelling of Mainila, which was orchestrated by the Soviet Union to paint Finland as an aggressor and justify launching an offensive.

“Back in 1994, Russian president Boris Yeltsin said the Winter War was Stalin's crime against Finland,” Ilpo Pohjola, chair of the Finnish Reservists' Association said in a statement, adding that Vladimir Putin has also expressed that he would not have acted the way Josef Stalin did at the time.

When newsstand tabloid Iltalehti reached out to the museum regarding the tweet, the institution claimed the tweet had been misinterpreted and that it referred to the reasoning given at the time the Winter War began.

Iltalehti said the museum’s response was apologetic, stating it hoped the twitterstorm would not negatively impact relations between the two neighbors.

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