Konferenssit ja seminaarit

Behind the Myths: 150 Years Since the Birth of Lenin conference

“Behind the Myths – 150 Years Since the Birth of Lenin” conference, 16–17 November 2020

April marked the 150th anniversary of Vladimir Lenin’s birth. “Behind the Myths” conference explores the myths and adulation surrounding significant political figures and the ways in which these myths have been interpreted and deconstructed over the years. The conference is organised by the Lenin Museum and sponsored by the Ministry of Education and Culture. The working language of the conference is English.

The conference will be held in the Tampere Workers’ Hall, 28 Hämeenpuisto. The conference is free of charge. The museum will not cover any travel or accommodation costs for the participants. Please confirm your attendance by email to by November 9, 2020. There number of seats are limited due to Covid-19 regulations.

The conference will also be streamed online to YouTube channels (November 16) and (November 17). You do not have to confirm your attendance if you follow the conference online.


Monday, November 16
Time Zone UTC +2

10:00–10:15 Welcome to the Lenin Museum, Museum Director Ulla Rohunen, Finnish Labour Museum Werstas.

The Finnish Labour Museum Werstas and the Lenin Museum merged in early 2014. The premises of the museum were renovated and the exhibition, originally made in Soviet era, was renewed. The renovated Lenin Museum was opened in June 2016. In her welcome speech, Museum Director Ulla Rohunen will talk about the feedback received by the new Lenin Museum.

10:15–11:15 We gave the press an order: at least once a week to ridicule and harass. Senior Researcher Julia Kantor, The Russian Academy of Sciences.

After seizing power in Russia, the Bolsheviks tried to get rid of their opponents. Undermining was one of the tools used to marginalise non-Bolshevik parties and their leaders, as well as many of the significant independent dissidents, from the political arena and social life. The presentation sheds light on the methodology of the Bolshevik press propaganda campaigns between 1917 and 1922 aimed at their political opponents.

The presentation will be held via the Zoom video conference system in Russian and interpreted into English.

11:15–11:45 The Russian state art and technical school VHUTEMAS in the light of Russian political history, Associate Professor Maria Marchenko, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

During the 100th anniversary of the Russian state art and technical school, the gaps in the history of the post-revolutionary school are gradually being filled. The presentation discusses whether the development of the Russian state art and technical school and the social functions of contemporary Soviet art were predetermined by the political development of the country.

The presentation will be held via the Zoom video conference system.

11:45–13:15 Lunch (at own expense).

13:15–13:45 Lenin and children. Visual representations of Lenin with children, PhD Candidate Silja Pitkänen, University of Jyväskylä.

In the presentation, Pitkänen regards how Lenin was represented with children in the Stalinist era, especially in the 1930s. For example, the international propaganda magazine SSSR na Stroike (USSR in Construction) dedicated a special issue to Lenin, and it featured photographs of children visiting the Moscow Lenin museum.

13:45–14:45 The Memory of Lenin in Finland. Tampere Lenin Museum as a Place for Negotiating the Entangled Finnish-Soviet History, PhD Pia Koivunen, University of Tampere.

Koivunen looks at the history of the Tampere Lenin Museum as a cultural bridge between Finland and the Soviet Union. She discusses how the legacy of Lenin has been utilised in maintaining good relations between the two neighbours.

14:45–15:30 Coffee.

15:30–17:00 An introduction to the Lenin Museum and a Q&A session with senior researcher Mia Heinimaa.

Tuesday, November 17
Time Zone UTC +2

10:00–11:00 Lenin in the eyes of students studying in St. Petersburg, Professor Marina Magidovich, Herzen State Pedagogical University of Russia.

The presentation examines contemporary Russian views on 20th century Soviet leaders. The material consists of university student surveys conducted in 2019–2020. Does Lenin have a place in the daily lives of Russian youth?

The presentation will be held via the Zoom video conference system in Russian and interpreted into English.

11:00–12:00 Constructing the ”Daddy”: Public image of Alyaksandr Lukashenka as Belarus’s founding father, PhD Candidate Kristiina Silvan, University of Helsinki.

Already in the 1990s, Alyaksandr Lukashenka constructed his public image as ”Bat’ka” (”Daddy”), the fatherly leader of the Belarusian nation that is rigid and demanding but and also just and loving. The presentation analyzes the construction and elements of Lukashenka’s ”Daddy” image, as well as the attempts to challenge it by the Belarusian opposition and civil society.

12:00–13:30 Lunch (at own expense).

13:30–14:30 Lenin and Stalin themed tourism as a tool for building a personality cult, author Ville-Juhani Sutinen.

One branch of Soviet domestic tourism from the 1920s to the 1980s was Lenin tourism, which meant visiting Lenin-related destinations and places dedicated to him as part of a package tour. Soviet tourism was a way to build a personality cult around Lenin and, for a time, Stalin, in which foreign tourists were also engaged.

14:30–15:30 Two Vladimirs: a historical myth at the service of Russian state nationalism, PhD Candidate Veera Laine, University of Helsinki.

On the occasion of the National Unity Day in November 2016, a statue dedicated to Vladimir the Great was unveiled in the centre of Moscow, just a short distance from the Kremlin. This Kievan Rus ruler is especially remembered for converting the Kievan Rus to Christianity in 988. The presentation focuses on the ways in which Vladimir Putin’s interpretation of state nationalism has exploited the myth of Prince Vladimir in the 2010s.

15:30–17:00 Opportunity to explore the Lenin Museum.