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Monument of the Winter War
Start date: Jun 30, 2002, End date: Jun 29, 2004 PROJECT  FINISHED 

The Raate road is known both in Finland and outside of the country as practically a miracle. Th e Raate road battle has great signifi cance for all of Europe, as the Red Armys objective to divide Finland was stopped at Suomussalmi. Th e Winter War exhibition at Raatteen Portti in Suomussalmi has been operational since the spring of 1992. Its visitor volumes have been high compared to other similar attractions. Th e probable reason for this is that the exhibition is located on the actual site of historical events. Th e goal of the project was to increase tourism on the Raate road by 30%, to create new jobs and to secure existing jobs. In addition, the intention was to increase general interest in military history and to cherish the legacy of the Winter War. Th e Monument of the Winter War was to be constructed near the Winter War exhibition in honour of all of the veterans of the Winter War and to inspire, using visual means, thoughts in visitors about the destruction and despair the war caused. Th e Monument of the Winter War was designed as a fi eld where natural stones (approx. 23,000 stones) would be placed in remembrance of all the soldiers – Finnish, Russian and Ukrainian – who lost their lives at Suomussalmi during 1939–1940. As historical facts were the foundation of the Raate road tourism product, an eff ort was also to be made in military history research. Th e intention was that the Russian Academy of Sciences would gather the information regarding the Red Army and the Universities of Joensuu and Petrozavodsk would complete the research on the civilian prisoners of war held in Suomussalmi during 1939–1940. Th e project was also to establish a cooperation network with Russian military history researchers and create a foundation for military history tourism in Finland and Russia. Th e research project was the fi rst objective scientifi c study of the Winter War in Russia. Achievements: The project was completed and an approximately three-hectare monument was built as planned. The traveller volumes on the Raate road were increased by over 50 percent during the project, thus exceeding the set goals. The increase in visitors at the museum and the monument was also clearly evident in the sales volumes of the caf. The visitor numbers and turnover remained at the same level during the summer of 2008. The project created one new job and secured an existing one; both jobs still exist. A researcher network, which is still utilised by reporters and researchers, was developed in Finland and Russia. Interest in the history of the Winter War has been increased in Finland, Russia and elsewhere. The topic has also been presented extensively in public following the projects conclusion. United States company MastersWork Media produced a Winter War fi lm,Fire & Ice, Finlands national public service broadcaster YLE created some short documentaries on the subject, several books have been published regarding the battles of Raate, and the topic is touched upon in countless books. Lots of visitors still visit the and websites. Military history trips are organised to Russia and Russian/Ukrainian travel agencies arrange trips to Suomussalmi. Products related to military history are sold at Raatteen Portti and on its website
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  • 2000 - 2006 Euregio - Karelia  (FI-RU)
  • Project on KEEP Platform

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