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Ilmari Kianto, Turjanlinna and the Winter War

Author Ilmari Kianto lived most of his life in Suomussalmi and is known for his accounts of the people of Kainuu region, Punainen viiva (the red line) and Ryysyrannan Jooseppi (Jooseppi from Ryysyranta). He had an estate called Leporanta by Lake Kianta, and built a house called Turjanlinna. He bought the place in 1934.

Kianto was in his house, when the Winter War broke. When the Finnish troops burned the Suomussalmi village in the night of 6 December, he fled. The front line run past Turjanlinna for a long time, and the Finns took it over 19 December and burned it down.

Kianto was convicted to hard labour for attempted treason for six months after the Winter War, because he had left a message in Russian onto an empty cigar box on Turjanlinna porch: ”Russian comrades! Please respect the home of a poor writer. There's an empty island, and a hill with buildings on it, eastbound. - I have been in Moscow, too, in 1901-03. Ilmari Kianto.”

Kianto's fishing cabin was located on the said island, and the house next door belonged to his sister. Kianto's message was construed as helping the Russians.

In 1949, a new building was constructed on the site of Turjanlinna, aided by the publishing company Otava. It burned down almost immediately, and was not insured. Only farmyard buildings are left of Turjanlinna.

Ilmari Kianto's burial site is on Niettussaari island in lake Kianta. Boat trips are available to Turjanlinna and Niettussaari in summer.

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