THIS STORY WAS UPDATED
As a person living in the rural South Savo region of Finland, MP Ano Turtiainen of Juva is a warning for Finland. On the one hand, you have big urban centers like Helsinki and surroundings, Turku and Tampere and on the other depopulated and graying rural Finland, where populism, white nationalism, white extremism, iliberal democracy, and anti-science are spreading roots.
Juva is a small town of about 6,000 inhabitants where 32% of the population is over 65 years. On the town’s main street, it isn’t uncommon to see hardly any young people in a backdrop of pensioners walking about with the help of their rollators.
According to Yle, the PS is predicted to have the best showing in municipalities that are losing the demographic vitality, where young people are moving away and in which the population is graying.
You must have done something outrageous if you get sacked from the far-right Perussuomalaiset (PS)* party. That was the case with Turtiainen, who got the boot from the PS parliamentary group last year and who got ejected in February from the white-nationalist party.
Apart from his racist posts, Turtiainen incites others to violence.
Turtiainen was quoted as saying in Mikkeli-based Länsi-Savo in 2019 that he has no regrets about publishing in December 2015 a post where he asks people to burn asylum reception centers run by the Red Cross. In another interview with the Mikkeli daily, he stated the conviction for inciting people to commit a crime was a” feather in his cap.”
Having crosshairs with his former party, the PS, Turtiainen has found a new anti-vaxxer role. According to him, the Corona pandemic is a secret global government plot to control people.
Turtiainen is not an anomaly but an example of how populism, white nationalism, white extremism, iliberal democracy, and anti-science are taking hold of depopulated and graying regions of Finland.
Some polls suggest that the PS will be the big winner of the June 13 municipal elections. If this is the case, it is another indication of how the rift between two Finland’s will grow.