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Sensationalism In History Studies Worries Secretary of State

The Secretary of State at the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Pertti Torstila, says that the line has become very thin between yellow journalism and history studies seeking scandals in the past.

Torstila's comments concern a debate being seen in neighbouring Sweden about wartime cooperation between Finland and Nazi Germany.

The Swedish writer Erik Arnstad has described Finland's WWII policy as a criminal war of aggression against the Soviet Union. According to Arnstad, with this policy, Finland also endangered Sweden.

Torstila's view is completely opposed to this. He sees Finland's wartime struggle as having been a battle on behalf of Sweden's independence as well. Since the Red Army did not advance to the Tornio River which forms the Finnish-Swedish border and create an iron curtain there, Sweden was able to peacefully develop its society far from the threat of the USSR.

The position taken by Torstila is that the discussion in Sweden is plagued by a lack of historical validity, something which he says seems to be rampant elsewhere as well.

The Foreign Ministery's Secretary of State says that he would hope for a reasonable debate on the history of Sweden and Finland. He adds that this is necessary because the two nations are so important to each other, especially in the field of security policy.

Concerning relations with Russia, Torstila stated that he hopes that Finland will be able to take Russia into constructive and real European integration which would benefit both parties. In his view, however, EU membership is not a possibility for Russia.


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