From the transparent parliamentary system to the informal journalism of Helsingin Sanomat (Sergey Surovtsev)

Wednesday, 20 of August 2008
Young Journalists’ blog (FCP 2008)
Sergey Surovtsev (Russia)

…20 August. It was not so heavy day as we have had before, for instance, in the beginning of the FCP’2008. Firstly, we met all together at the customary for us address Kanavakatu, 3C and discussed schedule for the rest of the days. But before it FCP participants managed bought tickets for the Viking line cruise to medieval Tallinn on this Sunday. Special thanks for Renata because originally she brewed this initiative.

After Ministry we had a very warm reception in the Finnish National Parliament. Member of Parliament Anni Sinnemaki – active Finnish politician, representing the Green League. She was first elected to the parliament in 1999. She told us about the financial legislation, a little bit about her Green party. We were interested in the “underwater streams” of the political campaigns financing. As in an every Parliament in the Finnish one the passions are also boiling without giving a pause for politicians. Election’s funding of the some political parties from time to time become a subject for the scandals. And media sometimes strengthened the blaze of political passions.

One question addressed to Anni Sinnemaki remained without the exhausted answer: “What would happen if the Aland Parliament says “no” and on the same issue Finnish Parliament says “yes”? This is practically impossible situation, explained Anni.

FCP participants were also interested in other issues like cooperation with Saami Parliament and some others. And during the lunch with wet bread (special bread type, but extremely tasty!!) and salmon sandwiches our conversation was going more interesting and filling way, I guess.

Crucial issue of food supply and food crisis became a head topic for the next meeting with the Dr. Mika Vehnamaki, economic adviser of the Department for Development Policy MFA. He disclosed horrible figures: it’s difficult imagine but nowadays, in the new, postindustrial 21-th century era, about 1 billion people go hungry, another 2 billion suffer from under nutrition and short calories intake (especially, Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia countries). Dr. Mika didn’t open for us America, he simply broadened our knowledge horizon in this question. And he gave us probably another view angle on the food crisis theme. One of the reason of ripen food crises is unusual weather circumstances that first triggered declines the production of cereals by 4% in 2004 and 7% in 2006. There are also other reasons – unexpected natural disasters happened in different parts of the world, low stocks of cereals and oil seals globally, but particularly in exporting countries, magnify price rises.

When “cosmic” figures displayed the level of the Finnish and European financial aid for African people suffered from the hunger had been sliding on the screen my neighbour, Hasina Mjingo from Tanzania, said me with quiet sorrow in the eyes that people from her country do not see any noticeable and perceptible changes in this sense…

In Russia we have very good dictum: “Hungry man couldn’t be understood by full one” (in Russian it is written so: «Сытый голодного не разумеет»). Indeed, wise and exact phrase reflected two opposite states of the human nature.

Two excursions were organized: in the Parliament building and in the Helsingin Sanomat newspaper editorial office building. Managing director Kaius Niemi introduced common facts about leading Finnish newspaper.

Almost 300 staff journalist…

More than 400000 circulation…

30000-40000 (!) euro payment for the advertising on the front page…

One million of faithful readers…

Informal journalist’s approach…and rare reporting photo with the night-Helsinki’s rat eating sausage on the foreground…

In other words, after visiting Helsingin Sanomat everybody, I hope, became more convinced there are no any limits for your personal perfection!!! Your journalism future depends on our, because, as we say in our country, water doesn’t drain under the laying stone.

And I was so fascinated by the impressions that forgot congratulate my farther with his 54th birthday. I remembered this only when mother has sent me a message… Indeed, Finland and Helsinki particularly could impress so that you without any back idea forget customary time sense.

You live as if in the parallel, blissful space called Finnish miracle of welfare!

45 thoughts on “From the transparent parliamentary system to the informal journalism of Helsingin Sanomat (Sergey Surovtsev)”

  1. Hi Sergey! I see, that we have in Helsinki and Finland two things that does not change, the Parliament (200 members represents the Finnish people) and Helsingin Sanomat. Most of adult people want read HS with their breakfast in the morning… Thank you of your specialized and good article!

  2. Hi! I love clothes and following the fashion during years and different times. Marimekko is also nowadays very fashion-conscious… more than earlier with a lot of flowers etc.

  3. hi Owen,loved ur post,u sound really ambitious and ready for anything..gud luck man.I am in South Africa and would like to visit Finland.

  4. Hi Susanna! Nice to know that your first impression of summer in Finland was positive. We are so dependent on the weather, especially in the summertime. Most people look at first in the morning whether we have today sunny or rainy day. Rainy days are sometimes welcome also…. Says who is living in Helsinki Finland… Have a nice and useful time during your FC-programme in August!

  5. Hey you guys, I hope you having a time this year. We had a blast last year. FCP rocks.


  6. yes, have a nice time in Finland! I hope you will have better weather than we had last year!!

  7. well… Names could be difficult, but you can easily distinguish butter from cat food, I guess… 😉 Good luck next time!

  8. You founded a lot of vital things. Especially the forest is a Finn’s church. It may also be a sea, lake or river, a mountain area in Lapland… A mug of fresh coffee with a lot of milk is also my way to start the day, afternoon. Raili

  9. Nice… I envy you! The military day was something I missed last year. Good that you had it in your programme!

  10. Thank you for the good post Ahmad. People were talking about it over coffee today and were very pleased to see a more serious opinion about the society. About the political parties one can naturally have different opinions but I will just correct one fact: the electoral participation in the latest parliamentary elections (2007) was 68 per cent (luckily not 40 per cent as you wrote).

  11. Hi! You wrote just the points what can imagine many Finns are missing nowadays. Maybe the students do that all the time, but not the middle-aged persons. They mainly follow that Culture of Consensus… in both the private and the public sector. The competition, that is so unfamiliar to me and many others. Missing of all competition makes people restful, but gives not food or fortune to a businessman or company… Raili

  12. Thank you Riika for your appreciation and correction. I should have checked the information told to me more than once. Sorry for that mistake, but I think its a good lesson for me to learn not to take any information or numbers from one source only.

  13. Wow…impressive information and I appreciate the comparisons.
    The photos are truly professional.

    Great work my dear!

  14. Hi Marc! You have a very interesting article. We can see, that Alvar Aalto, Ittala, Marimekko and Arabia are not only the names. They are an important part of Finnish design. Marimekko produced in their Collection Autumn and Winter 2010/11 something that I could want for myself too. For instance from designers: Mika Piirainen, Joanna Vanderpuije and Nora Iknadossian (

  15. I liked the read. Felt like just the other day when we sat in the class listening to him. I remembered the debate we had about it after the lecture and the fact that we had all agreed he told his story confidently. Nicely captured Finn!

  16. What is significant here is that all of these companies are old. Not a single new Finnish company has achieved anything even close to the success and visibility of these old, wonderful veterans. Perhaps it was the Finnish thinking of SOME TIME AGO that produced these winners but that same thinking is not visible today?

  17. Enrique my friend… I would give you the Pulitzer for this piece of writing if I could… great read.. brought back all my memories…

  18. Hi Martino! I liked very much your article from Rovaniemi, Lapland, but I had not time then to comment. My favourite places in Lapland are Saariselkä, Levi, Ylläs and Pallas. Now have been a long break. I was 1998 in Saariselkä, but some day I go again…. to the North Finland.

  19. Enrique, my friend, you brought some joyfull tears to my eyes… great moments… and the clouds cried when we left…

  20. You have just opened the floodgates of my eyes once again. Thank you for this brilliant recollection of our time. Nothing quiet like it!

  21. I can see that my once young friend has come to full blossom and spread her wings all over. Well thought, expressed and executed my dear Sandra.

  22. I agree. Read this. Have a good cry, by Victor M Parachin. “One reason people might feel better after crying could be because they are removing, in their tears, chemicals that build up during emotional stress. Most people, however, find the tears flowing when they read a touching story or have thoughts of past sadness”.

  23. I knew something about Finns and you wrote everything. It has been nice article. 🙂

  24. Glad to see you guys are having plenty of fun. Treasure these moments and open your eyes to the beauty that is Finland.

  25. I liked this. You managed to condense a message – Nordic Cooperation – Great Example for South Caucasus – into a few sentences.

  26. Thank you, I hope that people for our region will like this idea. We need it so much

  27. This is a good idea if we also consider that Armenia,Georgia and Azerbaijan have an experience of being considered as one country. Examples are Transcaucasian Federation which unluckily lasted very short period of time and USSR where the people were living under the same government with other 12 countries. So taking into consideration last experiences this can happen theoretically but a huge issue is the hatred which is being spread by governments of conflicting countries towards each other.
    Thank you, Arman for a great article and showing the light in the tunnel for those who think there are no solutions to conflicts in Transcaucasia.

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