Memorials and statues


Alassalmi Memorial
Having attacked at Juntusranta Red Army forces quickly
succeeded in reaching the Ensilä road fork on the
Suomussalmi-Kuusamo road.
A part of the invadingforces headed northwards towards Kuusamo while the remainder turned south towards Suomussalmi. At Alassalmi at a narrowing in the waterways of Lake Piispajärvi the Finns succeeded in repelling the progress of the aggressor during a battle which lasted 6th – 16th December 1939.
Finnish forces included the 16th Special Battalion from Kuusamo and the 65th Infantry Regiment which arrived in the area around Christmas.This monument was designed by a veteran of the Suomussalmi campaigns, Toivo Rossi.
The inscription on the stone reads: “Enemy progress northwards during the Winter War was halted at this spot”.
The monument was erected in 1981.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Viitostie 801, Suomussalmi

Haukiperä Memorial
On the southern shores of Haukiperä in the terrain around a fork
in the road one of the most significant battles of the Winter War
place. Early in the morning before the mist had lifted an quite
massive infantry troop of the Red Army succeeded in crossing
the bay at Haukiperä. The ice was too thin for their tanks to cross.
After a fierce battle the Finnish forces succeeded in pushing the
aggressor back over the gulf to the opposite shore. The Red Army’s
breakthrough towards Oulu was thus thwarted.
The monument bears the text: “The advances of enemy forces during the Winter War were brought to a halt here on 9th December 1939”.
The monument was erected on the 30th May 1959.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Juntusrannantie 27, Suomussalmi

Hulkonniemi Memorial
The area of Hulkonniemi, close to the centre of Suomussalmi village,
saw fierce battles during the period 12.-28.12.1939 in which the
Finnish forces regained territory. Finnish infantry forces repeatedly
attacked the numerically superior Soviet force which had established itself at the end of the Hulkoniemi headland. The Finns suffered heavy losses. However, on 28th December 1939 the Soviets suddenly abandoned the area and began to withdraw along a road made across the frozen surface of Lake Kiantajärvi towards Juntusranta.
This monument tells of the heavy fighting which took place in the area.
The text on the plaques state:
“Hulkonniemi 1939
On behalf of Finland and Suomussalmi
Comrades-in-arms of Hulkonniemi”
The monument was erected in 1998.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Veikkolantie 18, Suomussalmi

Kuomanjoki Memorial
During the Winter War, the Finns formed a defence line
at the River Kuomanjoki to prevent Soviet
reinforcements from reaching Suomussalmi village
during the battle for the village on 12th December 1939.
This defence line also succeeded in halting the leading
edge of the Soviet’s Ukrainian 44th Division at around
Christmas time. The monument was erected in memory of two brothers from Infantry Detachment Mönttä who fell during the struggle.
The text on the plaque reads:
“Comrades-in-arms from Mänttä
Sulo Aalto 26.12.1939
Erkki Huttunen 4.1.1940”
This monument was erected in 1965.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Kuhmontie 86, Suomussalmi

Kylänmäki Memorial
The Suomussalmi-Kuusamo road formed the Soviets’ northern
line of attack and maintenance channel. When on 28th December 1939 the Soviet forces began to withdraw from Suomussalmi village back towards Juntusranta some used the road while the rest marched up the frozen surface of Lake Kiantajärvi.
The Finnish Sixth Bicycle Battalion succeeding in blocking the
road at Konttimäki in Kylänmäki and thus prevented the Soviets
from retreating northwards. A plaque on the monument bears the text:
“At this site the retreat of enemy forces was prevented on the last days of 1939.
This stone was brought from Satakunta and erected by the Sixth Bicycle Battalion”.
The monument was erected in 1958.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Veikkolantie 115, Suomussalmi

Lehtovaara Memorial
At the start of the Winter War the main forces of 163rd Division
of the Red Army mounted a surprise attacked on Suomussalmi via Lehtovaara in Juntusranta. A patrol sent by a small group (44 men) of Finnish soldiers stationed at Juntusranta village ran into the full brunt of the Soviet attack at this location.
The text on the monument reads:
“The first shots of the Winter War were fired at this spot on 30th November 1939.
Wilderness comrades-in-arms”
The monument was erected in 1963.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Lehtovaarantie 62, Suomussalmi


The Flame – a monument to the battles of Suomussalmi
Most historical monuments have their origins in battles and the events of wars.
A very large part of these consist of portraits and statues in which oligarchies
and state apparatuses are assigned their characteristic attributes.

During ancient times, by which I mean the earliest centuries of antiquity, monuments in the forms of both buildings and art sculptures were mostly related to associations between states and especially to the religious ceremonies which they practised. In some cases they were simply gifts.

The idea of creating a monument to the battles of Suomussalmi came from a large body of citizens. At a relatively early stage Colonel August Mäkiniemi was chosen to be the chairman of the committee which was to lead the project of building the monument. I mention this in particular because his viewpoint concerning the nature of the monument came to influence both its general form and, more importantly, its inner content. According to his understanding monuments to battles should not be aggressive but rather the dramatic and tragic elements always present in conflicts between nations should be emphasised.

The unique nature of the monument has affected its form. This is no ordinary urban or street sculpture. It stands alone in the remote forests of Northern Finland. The surrounding scenery, the special landscape forms of northernmost Finland and the
modest proportions of the forest themselves form the background. The monument carries no real symbolism or theme. Neither has its creator striven to effect any metaphorical or seminatural meaning. Instead, the form of the monument has, in its creator’s opinion, grown directly from the tragedy of human life as well as from the natural environment and conditions in which man lives. Nevertheless, the viewer himself should be able to project content in the angles and curves of each form and in this way the monument may carry a certain emotional value for the viewer.

This monument is cast from bronze and takes the form of a leaning asymmetrical column representing a linear opposite to the vertical character of Northern Finland’s pine and spruce forests. At the same time the scale of the monument and its surface formationsreflect the ever-changing proportions of the wilderness forest. The monument is fixed to a base of granite and its actual environment is made up of a gradually sloping hillside and surrounding broad landscapes. Perhaps the long winters and snowy forests have to some extent influenced the choice of materials while the way in which the sculpture rises from the ground has been harmonised with the rich and snowy terrain. The monument stands nine metres high, rising above the tree canopy without, however, doing so in a disproportionate way. Since the monument is the work of an architect it is natural that it does not mimic natural themes or represent any kind of symbolic image designed to elicit particular emotions. The creator of this work considers that sentiments should be the result of some kind of free relationship between the monument and the viewer.

The monument was sculpted by Heikki Häiväoja and the casting work performed by Pentti Lappalainen. The stone base and platform are the work of Nurmeksen Kiviveistämö. The sculpture was erected on 30th August 1959 to mark the 20th anniversary of the Suomussalmi battles. Fixed onto the base is a metal plaque showing the battlegrounds of Suomussalmi while at its front is an inscription of General Hjalmar Siilasavuo’s words: “The lives of many brave soldiers ensured the great victories of Suomussalmi. They showed their nation an honourable path which was hard but which offered no alternative.”
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Kuhmontie 1, Suomussalmi

Purasjoki line
The field fortification of the Purasjoki Line at the River
Purasjoki fell into three stages:
Stage I: 16.10. – 11.11.1939 (period of additional training)
Stage II: January – February 1940
Stage III: April 1940 – June 1941

During Stage I the field fortification of the Purasjoki Line was the task of
reserves from the Suomussalmi Training Centre along with groups of
non-reserve civilians. On either side of the road defence posts of some
300 men were set up.
A reinforced anti-tank barrier was erected along the western bank of the river.
Remains from this are still visible today at the bend in the river. Behind the
anti-tank barrier a trench was dug and reinforced with wood. This also
contained machine-gun posts, againprotected with wooden constructions,
and a number of covered observation points. Behind this trench connecting
trenches were dug. No dugout buildings as such were constructed. Instead
shell-resistant bunkers were built at the sides of the connecting trenches.
After capturing the defence post the Red Army forces, which had no tents,
used these bunkers for accommodation, fitting them with temporary “wood stoves”.
During the second stage, on retaking the defence post the Finns repaired it and improved its fortifications as far as circumstances would allow. This work was performed by the 64th Infantry Regiment and 15th Special Battalion.
In Stage III during the period of interim peace the defence post was further reinforced as part of the Salpa Line (= a defensive line from the Gulf of Finland up to Salla in north) Work was carried out by both soldiers and civilians.
The constructions from the above-mentioned three phases are difficult to distinguish from one another as they were built and reinforced one on top of each other. Some of the original constructions were destroyed during the straightening of the road and building of the new bridge.
The Purasjoki line is located on the Raate museum road, near Raatteen Portti Winter War Exhibition and Frontier Guard Museum. The specific location can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Raatteentie 97, Suomussalmi

Raate Road Memorial
Located on the Raate Museum Road by the yard of the house at Likoharju is
the Raate Road Monument. Fierce battles were fought in this area at the
beginning of January 1940. A large section of the invading Russian force was
isolated here and defeated by Finnish soldiers.
A plaque on the monument has the text:
“This monument has been erected in memory of the courageous battles fought
along the Raate road during 1939-1940. Wilderness comrades-in-arms”
The monument was erected on 11th August 1963.
The location can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Raatteentie 83, Suomussalmi

Memorial in Suomussalmi village
Attacking from the direction of Juntusranta in the north the Soviet forces
reached Suomussalmi village on 6th December 1939. The retreating
Finns were faced with a difficult decision, namely to burn the village
before abandoning it to the enemy. This would deny the aggressor
shelter from the snow and frost in the houses of the village. Only a few
buildings remained intact and the village centre was completely destroyed.
On the wall of one hut which served as a stock of explosive for a shop in the village stands the
grim text: During 6.-27.12.1939 fierce battles raged in Suomussalmi village. This war-battered
“building” is all that remains to tell of those days

Ukrainian Memorial
This monument is situated at Haukkila where a large number of Soviet
soldiers was separated from other Soviet forces during the Winter War.
Indeed this was the largest single body of Soviets to be isolated in this
way. The head of the Ukrainian 44th Division was brought to a halt here
around Christmas 1939. At the beginning of January the Finns attacked
at Haukkila and in the days up until 8th January succeeded in cutting off
and destroying the Soviet forces almost to the last man. The Ukrainian
language text on the plaque of the monument states:
“In memory of the fallen from their grateful descendants and the authorities of the City of Novograd-Volynskiy in
the Ukrainian province of Zytomir”
The monument was erected by Ukrainians on 13.3.1998.
The location of the memorial is available in the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Kuhmontie 105, Suomussalmi

Russian Memorial
By the side of the Raate museum road, about one kilometer from Raatteen
Portti Winter War Exhibition, stands the Russian monument in honour of all
those who died in the war. The monument was designed by the Moscow
sculptor Oleg Komov and his architect wife Nina Komova. At the foot of the
monument is a text in both Finnish and Russian:
“To the boys of the fatherland – Sorrowful Russia”.
The monument was erected on 19.9.1994 and blessed by Aleksi II, Patriarch of
Moscow and the whole of Russia.
Close to the monument is a Russian mass grave in which 57 Russian soldiers
are buried.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Raatteentie 12, Suomussalmi

Memorial plaque for the additional exercises
Located in Suomussalmi church village, on the wall of Wanhan Kalevan café, formerly operating as an inn. Placed there 10.10.1998, on the memorial is written: “At this site was situated Inn Kaleva, where the headquarters of SU. HK began operations 10th of October 1939. Reserve troops were called in to Suomussalmi church village from Suomussalmi, Puolanka, Hyrynsalmi and Ristijärvi. -Winter War began 30th of November 1939. Former Soldier Boys.”
The location of the memorial can be seen in the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Kainuuntie 24, Suomussalmi

Monument to the Freedom Fighters and Refugees of Russian Karelia
By the side of the car park to Raatteen Portti Winter War Exhibition is
a large slab of stone with plaques bearing texts: On the front side of
the monument there is the inscription: “In memory of our brother
soldiers from Russian Karelia. All honour to the freedom fighters who,
holding by their convictions, bravely followed the flag of freedom.
The Raate road was the main channel for the fighters and refugees
from Russian Karelia. The War of Independence Heritage League and
the War of Independence Heritage Association of Kainuu”.

The inscription on the rear face of the monument reads: “As a consequence of the War of Independence the Malmi-Kuisma Volantary Expedition was sent from Finland to provide protection during the period 21.3.1918 – 2.10.1918. It contained some 500 men including 15 Finnish Jägers. The Russian Karelians took part in the struggle dreaming of their own nation. The municipalities which had joined Finland, Repola (in August 1918) and Porajärvi (in October 1919), were defended by soldiers of the Finnish Army accompanied by a company of volunteers and possessing in all a total of 23 Finnish Jägers. According to the Tarttu peace treaty of 14.10.1920 the region was returned to the Soviet Union. The Russian Karelians’ own War of Independence was fought during the period 28.10.1921 – 20.2.1922. Of approximately 3000 soldiers loyal to the short-lived Russian Karelian government some 500 were Finnish, including 27 Finnish Jägers . After the independence struggle was crushed by superior forces some 11 000 refugees left Russian Karelia for Finland. The majority of these returned but the Finnish state provided refuge for some 4000 refugees up until the Winter War”.
This monument was designed by the architect Anita Tuhkanen and unveiled on 12.7.1998.
The location of the memorial can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Street address: Raatteentie 2, Suomussalmi

Winter War Monument
The Winter War Monument was erected in honour of the veterans of the Winter
War 1939-1940 as well as those others who were involved or who suffered.
The monument is located along the side of the old Raate road. The bloodiest
battles of the war were fought in this area.

The monument forms a part of the Raatteen Portti Winter War exhibition. It was designed by Suomussalmi’s Erkki Pullinen and was consecrated on 13th February 2003.

Stones standing on an area covering almost three hectares represent the
number of soldiers who died in the Winter War battles of Suomussalmi.
This stone field reminds us of the human suffering which the war brought.
It impels the viewer to reflect on the mindlessness of war.

The central monument “Wide Embrace” stretches its protective wings over
the silent field of stones. The monument contains 105 brass bells, one for
each day of the Winter War. When the wind blows the bells sound a quiet
message of the mindlessness of war. A text on the central monument reads,
“Although man dies – his memory lives on.”

The Winter War Monument is a powerful message for peace. It communicates to its viewer the idea that war is a horror that no-one alive today need experience.
The idea of peace is particularly stressed by the fact that here on the Raate road
a joint monument has been built to commemorate the dead of two nations which fought against each other. The Winter War Monument project comprises a study in which researchers from Finland and Russia are together investigating the history of the Winter War and related issues. Such a strong desire to collaborate with a former foe is possibly unique anywhere in the world. Perhaps this is the real meaning of peace work.

The Winter War Monument project is financed by the EU Interreg III A Karelia programme, Suomussalmi Municipality and the Employment and Economic
Development Centre of Kainuu.
The location can be seen on the Kainuu outdoors map.
Click here for the official site of Raate Gateway.
Raatteentie 2
89800 Suomussalmi kk

Located in the Suomussalmi Church Village, in Kirkkoniemi, the Memorial of the First Church is situated on the stone base of the church that was destroyed in the Winter War, in 1939. On the memorial is a picture of the church and the names of the vicars that have preached there. The Memorial is designed by Martti Manner, a teacher from Suomussalmi. The scale model of the first church is on display in the House Museum.

The Memorial is located in Karhulanvaara, on the yard of the Vocational Institute of Kainuu (Kainuun Ammattiopisto), on the same spot where the old vicarage had been. The first president of Finland, Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg, was born in this vicarage on January 28th 1865.

During the summer of 1943, The Soviet Partisans made several attacks
to the boarder villages of Suomussalmi; Tuppuri, Hyry, Malahvia and Viianki.
In these attacks died 36 civilians and 3 soldiers. Revealed on the 4th of June
1993 in Hyry village, on the plaque of the memorial is the personal data of the
deceased. The Memorial of the Viianki village is the oven of a destroyed house.