When you come out of the Moscow train outside St. Petersburg, just remember that this city is more than a hundred years was the capital of Finland.
You don’t even have to open his mouth: a native of Petersburg Finn learns to walk.
“Both cities are great for completely different reasons, says the Consul of Finland for culture and the media in St. Petersburg Niinivaara Susanna (Susanna Niinivaara). − In Moscow it is remarkable that finnishness does not have for anybody no matter everything here is either from Moscow or from somewhere else.”
“Before, in St. Petersburg, I was always startled by the reactions of others, somehow responded to what I Fink. Usually people want to tell some incident that had occurred in Finland, his impression of the country or the memory of her. Most often these reviews are positive or even flattering.”
Niinivaara can compare the Russian capital. Since the beginning of 2006 to the end of 2009, she worked as a correspondent for Helsingin Sanomat in Moscow. And she already has worked three years at the Consulate General of Finland in St.-Petersburg, only two.
In the circle of its duties included collaboration with Russian journalists. I think this work is terrible in the current information war?
“I receive many calls, and most have a sincere desire to obtain correct and necessary information. Usually ask how a particular problem is solved in Finland: how a bike paths, as renovating old multi-storey homes,” said Niinivaara.
“A lot of interest in education, someone who wants to learn about agriculture, organic agriculture. The 100th anniversary of independence of Finland is also very interested in how and various practical issues, for example, statistics on visas”.
Many Finns working in Russia, has Karelian roots as Niinivaara. However, she claims that this has nothing to do with the choice of working.
Father mother Niinivaara was originally from the village of the Peninsula near the Karelian Town. Grandfather’s father, i.e. grandfather, moved here from Satakunta region, to learn the carpenter, got married and started a family. When the war started, grandfather went to the front, and the rest of the family went to the evacuation in the municipality of Hollola.
During the Soviet-Finnish war of 1941-1944, the family returned to the village of Peninsula, but grandfather did not seem to accept the idea of a greater Finland is close to his heart: he did not sell the cottage in Hollola, but became to take it. During the second evacuation, the family returned there.
“Perhaps due to the fact that his great-grandfather was Karel, and only came back to work, the theme of Karelia for us is not very important, no nostalgia for Karelia our family was not. At the same time, this was not some taboo subject. My grandfather, of course, was a map with marked Karelian villages were transferred to Russia, and I remember looking at her in childhood”.
Niinivaara says started to learn Russian language before, and quite spontaneously. In the third grade schools in the city of Lahti had to choose to study a third foreign language — Russian, English or Swedish.
“For us, this choice did not seem unusual. Later I have completely forgotten the language because it was not practice. However, to resume training was easier than to start to learn the language from scratch.”
Niinivaara went to study in the Norwegian Tromso University, was a volunteer in Mozambique and Namibia. Studying at the University of Tampere began in the 1990s, and then in connection with the school had a lot of contacts in India.
“As a result, until 2005, I visited India at least once a year and at least a month. India has almost become my cottage, I tried to take a vacation in the winter and fly to India.”
All this time, according to Niinivaara, Russia was her secret love. On this topic appeared and books − two guide: “Russia Medvedev” co-authored by researcher Hanna Smith (Hanna Smith) and the book “the Fifth side of the world in Russia.”
“East of Finland, the world becomes interesting,” says Niinivaara.
And this so-called Putin’s system of government with all of its features, not annoying? Niinivaara responsible for themselves: “Personally for me it has no effect”.
Observation Susanna Niinivaara about Russia and St. Petersburg:
“To understand Russian is not difficult, it is difficult to imagine a people more similar to Finns than Russians.”
“Petersburgers slower Muscovites, Petersburgers can be quiet.”
“If the hipsters of Helsinki was a vegetarian restaurant in St. Petersburg, they would have never left.”