Russian spy laughing through his execution in Finland, 1942

By RHP | Posted on: December 29, 2013 | Updated on: June 20, 2016
Russian spy laughing through his execution in Finland, 1942.

Russian spy laughing through his execution in Finland, 1942.

A Soviet spy laughs at his executioner in a picture taken in Rukajärvi, in East Karelia, in November 1942. It has been thought within the Finnish Defence Forces that the decision to withhold pictures of the fate of Russian POWs and spies may also have been prompted by concerns that pro-Soviet elements in Finnish society could have used the images for propaganda purposes. This picture was declassified by the Ministry of Defense of Finland in the 2006, with the description: Unknown Soviet intelligence officer before being shot, Finland, 1942.

It’s a pretty amazing picture. To capture the last few moments of life. He knows he will die in a few seconds, in a forest in the snow. And there he will bleed out and be forgotten. His life, his experience, has come to an end. What else could he do but smile? That smile was his final defiance. Death smiles at us all, all a man can do is smile back.

The execution.

The execution.

This picture was declassified in 2006.

This picture was declassified in 2006.

Of note Finland was allied with Germany and at war with USSR. This is the Continuation War, not the previous Winter War. By 1942 Finland was involved in the blockade of Leningrad (that starved to death 1 million civilians). Finland was not that involved, to be exact they refused to assist with the siege directly even though their frontlines were just about 30km away.

World War Two for Finland was the Winter War (Soviets invade Finland, Finland fights until it almost literally has no more ammunition left in Finland so they have to negotiate a peace where they lose territory which the Soviets were glad to accept since they had lost so many people – meanwhile, the other democracies of the world initially help Finland since the Soviet Union is one of the “bad guys” – allied with Nazi Germany), the Continuation War (Finland allies with Nazi Germany to take back territory lost in the Winter War – meanwhile, other democracies are placed in an awkward situation since now, the Soviet Union is one of the “good guys” since the Nazis backstabbed the Soviet Union) and the Lapland War (Finland negotiates separate peace with allies on fairly favorable terms – since the western allies realize that the Soviet Union is actually not a “good guy” but an “enemy of my enemy” – and kicks Nazis out of Finland).

12 thoughts on “Russian spy laughing through his execution in Finland, 1942

    1. plenum222

      it’s more an existential response than political, Anna. Russians are human beings, too.

      Reply
      1. TLB

        Those bastards? We are a 99% smaller contry and they invaded us, slaughtered our soldiers (well we killed more of them) and burned our homes. Not all russians are bad but a lot are. For example you cant trust the police there at all.

        Reply
      2. Roshimon

        Or perhaps he was an incredibly tough man who refused to give his murderer the satisfaction…

        Reply
  1. Nord Land

    Incredible reaction, must have been his way of expressing nervousness, the way many people laugh nervously when confronted with an uncomfortable situation. A Soviet looking down the barrel of a Finnish soldier’s weapon had to be in unimaginable terror.

    Reply
  2. john michael niemela

    my father Keijo Alpo Niemela was born in karelia in 1920 ,he fought in the winter war ,I don t know if he fought in the continuation war as well ,he passed away in 1995

    Reply
  3. graham64

    I think Finland was the only country to be involved in threee distinct wars (Winter, Continuation and Lapland) within the timeframe of WW2.

    Reply
  4. Demetrius

    A perfectly justified way to deal with Russian apes invading other countries

    Reply
  5. Dmitry V.

    To be fair to the USSR – not as many people keep saying “the Russians” dammit – they were fighting a qualitatively superior, well dug-in force on its own turf.

    Finland was being supplied in the first war by both the Allies and the Axis, during the second these combined forces on a total war footing were never successful in their main objectives of cutting off Leningrad and capturing Murmansk, northern Russia’s only year-round sea port.

    The reasons why the USSR attacked are old as time itself – they saw the encroachment of the Germans as a threat and wanted once again, as theyve done in the Finnish peninsular during wars with Sweden, to create a politically neutral physical buffer zone.

    Reply

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