Urho Kaleva Kekkonen

Urho  Kaleva

Urho Kaleva Kekkonen (3 September, 1900 - 31 August, 1986) was the greatest Finnish President during peace time, whose rule lasted exceptionally long, from 1956 to 1981; thus not being comparable to the presidents and prime ministers of other Western democracies, but rather the demagogues of the Eastern Communist countries; such as Brezhnev, Josip Broz Tito or Ceaucescu. This unusual extended period of one man staying in power was made possible by the continuing pressure of Russians, who wanted to make sure that the anti-Soviet powers would not gain foothold in Finland (with its strategic geopolitical location between the East and West). Kekkonen would play this situation to his advantage and, with hindsight, also managed to keep the Russians at bay and thus maintained Finland's sovereign position (which could be seen as quite shaky for observers both abroad and in Finland).

A Machiavellian Prince both in the best and worst sense of the word, Kekkonen was the ultimate father figure of the postwar to pre-Glasnost Finland; ruling with an iron hand, loved by his subjects -- and feared and hated by his enemies (prone to mockingly call Finland "Kekkoslovakia"). Suomen Talvisota 1939-1940 and Sleepy Sleepers wrote songs about him. The athletic Kekkonen also liked to ski, fish, hunt, womanise and booze -- in other words, in the class of real men's men. Americans had their John Wayne, we had Kekkonen.


Urho Kaleva Kekkonen
Urho Kaleva Kekkonen @ Wikipedia
Urho Kekkonen Archives (in Finnish)
pHinnWeb Urho Kaleva Kekkonen (in Finnish)
UKK Lives (in Finnish)
WWW.UKK.NET (in Finnish)
Finnish History Resources on the Internet