Timo Vihavainen
Humanist of the day

Timo Vihavainen

Timo Vihavainen was professor of Russian Studies at the University of Helsinki between 2002 and 2015. His research interest has been first and foremost on Russian and Soviet history. As for Finland’s history, he has investigated relations between Finland and the Soviet Union during the period after the second world war, the so-called ‘Finlandisation’ phenomenon, as well as Finns’ and Russians’ perceptions of each other. Before his professorship, he headed the Finnish Institute in St Petersburg and was a researcher for the Academy of Finland. Besides his writing, Emeritus Professor Vihavainen is a keen cyclist, sailor and musician.

Timo Vihavainen

Timo Juhani Vihavainen
Born May 9, 1947, Sulkava.

Master of Arts (General History), 1970, Licentiate of Philosophy, 1983, and Doctor of Philosophy (General History), 1988, University of Helsinki

Professor of Russian Studies, University of Helsinki, 2002–2015
Senior Research Fellow, Academy of Finland, Suomen Akatemian vanhempi tutkija 2000–2002
Director, Finnish Institute in St Petersburg, 1998–2000
Acting assistant, East European history, Helsingin yliopistossa 1980–1998 (intermittent)
Classroom Teacher, Vantaa Municipality, 1975–1980

Publications, Research Projects and other Academic Activity
Research interests
Finland in the Soviet Press, norms and values in the Soviet Union 1920s–50s, public opinion in the Soviet Union, 1920s and 1930s, intelligentsia and petit bourgeoisie in the Soviet Union, Finnish-Soviet relations and neighbourliness, consumerism and consumerist ideology in the Russian Federation and the Soviet Union

Honorary Doctor, Petrozavodsk State University, 2005
Badge of the Order of Friendship 2014, Russian Federation
History Book of the Year 2014 for Vanhan Venäjän paluu (‘The return of old mother Russia’), Historian Ystäväin Liitto (‘Association of the friends of history’)

Written by Timo Vihavainen (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by John Calton

The Soviet Union was once seen as the ‘second world’, offering an alternative to the capitalist world. It presented very dogmatic claims about the socialist alternative and what it had achieved. Unlike many others, I did not see any reason to fully believe these arguments, but I was still very curious to see the reality behind them.

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