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Communist Party of Finland

Communist Party of Finland
Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue
Abbreviation SKP
Founded August 29, 1918 (1918-08-29)
Legalized 1944
Dissolved 1992 (1992)
Split from Social Democratic Party of Finland
Succeeded by
Youth wing Young Communist League of Finland
Political position Far-left
National affiliation Finnish People's Democratic League (SKDL)
International affiliation Comintern
Colors Red
Politics of Finland
Political parties

The Communist Party of Finland (Finnish: Suomen Kommunistinen Puolue; Swedish: Finlands Kommunistiska Parti; abbreviated SKP) was a communist political party in Finland. The SKP was a section of Comintern and illegal in Finland until 1944.

The SKP did not participate in any elections with its own name. Instead, front organisations were used. In the 1920s the communists took part in the Finnish People's Democratic League was formed. The SKP controlled these fronts but they always had a prominent minority of non-communist socialists.


  • History 1
    • Early stages 1.1
    • Cold War 1.2
    • Aftermaths of the Prague Spring 1.3
    • Collapse 1.4
  • Youth wing 2
  • Leaders 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5


Early stages

In 1918 the "Reds" lost the Finnish Civil War. The Social Democratic Party of Finland had supported the losing side, and several of its leaders were refugees in the Soviet Union. Some of these refugees founded the Communist Party of Finland in Moscow.

The SKP was illegal in Finland until 1944. After the umbrella organization of the radical left wing.

Cold War

The era of the Cold War was the "golden age" of Communists in Finland. Between 1944 and 1979 support of the Finnish People's Democratic League was in the range of 17%–24%. Communists participated in several cabinets, but Finland never had a communist Prime Minister or President. In the mid 1960s the U.S. State Department estimated the party membership to be approximately 40 000 (1.44% of the working age population).[1] with the SKP's main rival for domination of the political left being the Social Democratic Party of Finland. The competition was very bitter in trade unions and other leftist organizations.

The SKP received substantial financial support from the Soviet Union during the Cold War (Rentola 1997, p. 177). Internally, SKP was divided, with an Eurocommunist mainstream and a hardline Stalinist minority, called the Taistoists after their leader, Taisto Sinisalo. The word "taisto" also means "battle" or "fight"; the double connotation made this slur, originally launched by the largest Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, stick. Soviet threats to withdraw support were the main reason why reformists didn't expel the Taistoists from the party leadership or membership.

Aftermaths of the Prague Spring

A Communist Party of Finland tent during the 2015 World Village Festival.

The events of the Prague Spring followed by the Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia had strong repercussions on the SKP. With the SKP's leadership strongly denouncing the Soviets' invasion, the internal disputes became fiercer than ever. While the de facto Eurocommunist majority faction had always supported third-way policies, the Taistoist minority decisively stood by the Soviet Union and the Brezhnev doctrine.[2] Gradually this led to a disintegration, and in practice, the party now consisted of two parallel structures, and gradually lost ground in terms of public support.[3] The most hardline-leader of the party, Markus Kainulainen, led a group that even opposed Soviet policies after the Perestroika had begun.

In 1985–1986 a large number of Taistoists, hundreds of party organizations with thousands of members, were expelled. They regrouped as Communist Party of Finland (Unity) (SKPy) which later evolved into the current Communist Party of Finland (1997).


The Left Alliance in 1990.

SKPy, originally the faction of the party expelled in 1985–1986, outlasted its parent and registered itself as the Communist Party of Finland in 1997 but has been unable to regain the former Communist Party's parliamentary representation. Its vote share in the elections of 2007 was 0.7%. In April 2011, its vote share was 0.3%.[4]

Youth wing

The youth wing of the SKP was the Communist Youth League of Finland (SKNL, 1925–1936). After World War II young communists were active in the SKDL's Democratic Youth League of Finland (SNDL). The SNDL was member of World Federation of Democratic Youth.


Yrjö Sirola 1918–1920
Kullervo Manner 1920–1935
Hannes Mäkinen 1935–1937[5]
Jukka Lehtosaari 1937–1938[5]
Aimo Aaltonen 1944–1945 &
Aaro Uusitalo 1945–1948
Aarne Saarinen 1966–1982
Jouko Kajanoja 1982–1984
Arvo Aalto 1984–1988
Jarmo Wahlström 1988–1990
Heljä Tammisola 1990–1992
    General secretaries
Arvo Tuominen 1935–1940
Ville Pessi 1944–1969
Arvo Aalto 1969–1977 &
Erkki Kivimäki 1977–1981
Aarno Aitamurto 1984–1985
Esko Vainionpää 1985–1988
Heljä Tammisola 1988–1990
Asko Mäki 1990–1992

See also


  1. ^ Benjamin, Roger W.; Kautsky, John H. Communism and Economic Development, in the American Political Science Review, vol. 62, no. 1. (Mar., 1968), pp. 122.
  2. ^  
  3. ^  
  4. ^ 9.232 of 2.939.571 (Ministry of Justice Finland)
  5. ^ a b Joni Krekola: Stalinismin lyhyt kurssi (SKS 2006), p. 108.
  • Rentola, Kimmo (1997), Niin kylmää että polttaa - Kommunistit, Kekkonen ja Kreml, Helsinki: Otava,  
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