René Nyberg – 8th February 2018
Russian hybrid operations and information warfare have dominated the headlines of late. Billed as a new threat to Western democratic societies, Russian hybrid operations run the gamut from fake Facebook accounts targeting unsuspecting U.S. voters with fake news to economic information used for foreign policy gain. The term itself may indeed be new but the concept is as old as warfare and diplomacy, and Russia’s neighbors have had to live with it for a long time. Few countries can match Finland’s long experience of dealing with Soviet and Russian hybrid warfare—before, during, and after the Cold War—and few countries have had as much success in standing up to it. The secret of Finland’s success can be found in the resilience of Finnish society, which is derived from its unique history and record of combining firmness with flexibility in dealing with its much larger, difficult, and unpredictable neighbor.
In the context of the conversion of Osip Mandelstam, who was baptized as a Finnish Methodist, I quoted Vladimir Jabotinski, who in his novel The Five tells the story of a Jew from Odessa who contemplated conversion. He was given the advice to do “as everybody does” and go to Vyborg to see the Finnish Lutheran pastor “Pihko”.
The attached article by a Finnish theologian André Swanström analysis the story of Mandelstam’s conversion and also tell the story of several Finnish Lutheran ministers who baptized hundreds of Russian Jews around the turn of the century. Among them the most active one was a man called Arthur Pihra, who was disciplined, as were the others, by the diocesan chapters, for transgressions against Church law.
Thus it seems highly likely that Arthur Pihra is Pihko.
Internet site Delfi, 30.11.2017
Conversation with the former ambassador of Finland in Germany and Russia (summary)
René Nyberg in his book “The last train to Moscow” has described his mother Fanny Tukacier, who abandoned her Jewish identity in 1937 when against her father’s will she got married with a Finn of Swedish origin Bruno.
Latvian translation of the book was published in mid-November and the opening of it took place at the Finnish embassy in Riga. The title of the book and also one of the links with Riga is the fact that in June 1941 the last train went from Riga to Moscow in which there were Fanny’s cousin Masha and her husband Josef. The rest of his mother’s relatives who stayed in Riga were killed.