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Otto Ville Kuusinen
Otto Ville (Wilhelm) Kuusinen (known in Russian as Отто Вильгельмович Куусинен) (1881–1964) was a Finnish and Soviet politician, literature historian, and poet, who after the defeat in the Finnish Civil War fled to Bolshevist Russia, where he worked until his death.
After having overthrown the more moderate party chairman Kari in 1906, Kuusinen came to dominate Finland's Social Democratic Party until the defeat in the Civil War in 1918. He was member of Finland's Parliament 1908–1913 and the party's chairman 1911–1917.
In Bolshevist Russia, soon renamed the Soviet Union, he continued his work as a prominent leader of the Comintern. In Finland a more moderate faction rehabilitated the Social Democrats under Väinö Tanner's strong leadership; meanwhile Kuusinen and other radicals were increasingly seen as responsible for the Civil War and its terrible aftermath.
Animosity against Socialists in Finland in the decades after the Civil War prompted many Finns to emigrate to Russia to "build Socialism." However, the Soviet Great Purge was a hard blow against Finns in the Soviet Union — most who didn't escape back to Finland were executed as unreliables in the 1930s — and Kuusinen's reputation in Finland was further damaged when he turned out to remain one of the very few not targeted by Stalinist show trials, deportations and executions.
When the Red Army began its unprovoked attack on Finland November 30th, 1939, he was immediately pronounced the head of the Terijoki Government, Stalin's puppet régime (of the so called Finnish Democratic Republic) intended to rule the captured Finland. But as the Winter War went wrong, and a negotiated peace with the capitalist government in Helsinki became unavoidable for the Soviet leadership, Kuusinen was put aside and made chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Karelo-Finnish SSR (1940–1956).
Already suspect, Kuusinen's involvement in the Terijoki government sealed the reputation among Finnish Socialists of Kuusinen as a traitor, and rather than the intended effect it contributed to the unification of the Finns and the healing of the wounds from the Civil War. The dislike was reciprocal. Memoirs and statements from people who knew Kuusinen are univocal. Kuusinen had, since his escape from Finland in 1918, nurtured a solely negative view of Finland and the Finns.
After fleeing to the Soviet Union, Kuusinen became an influential official in the state administration. He was a member of the Soviet Union's Politburo, the highest state organ, Stalin's ghostwriter and ideological adviser. Kuusinen also continued his work during the reign of Nikita Khrushchev (1953–1964). He was Secretary of the Russian Communist Party's Central Committee 1946–1953 and 1957–1964. In 1952 and 1957 he was also elected to the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet for the Soviet Union.
Kuusinen was one of the editors of The Fundamentals in Marxism-Leninism, considered one of the fundamental works on dialectical materialism and Leninist Communism. In the Kremlin politics he was considered "liberal" — and from its temporal distance his thinking pointed forward to the perestroika. While editing a new party programme for "rapid agricultural, industrial, and technological development" he championed giving up the concept of the dictatorship of the proletariat, to the horror of more conservative ideologists. In this he was supported by Khrushchev.
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