Two texts about Finnland

Jarosław Suchoples

Ukraine is fighting. People prepare themselves for street-to-street fighting with the aggressor. The Ukrainians make Molotov cocktails.

What is this and why such a name? The prescription is really simple: take a glass bottle, fill it with petrol or, better, with gasoline (2/3) and old machine oil (1/3). Put a piece of a rag at the top. Throw it on a tank or any other military vehicle of the enemy. Oh, do not forget to put in flame the rag before you throw the bottle.

The first Molotov cocktails were produced in Finland during the Winter War in 1939. The Finns invented them because of the scarcity of their anti-tank weapons. The Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov claimed that Soviet airplanes were involved in humanitarian operations over Finland throwing baskets with bread to the poor population of Finland waiting for liberation by the Red Army. Therefore, the Finns immediately, with a specific dark sense of humor, invented the name for their new anti-tank weapon. It is primitive but can be deadly dangerous, especially during street-to-street fighting in cities. Tanks (even these most modern), unprotected by infantry, are very easy targets.

Molotov cocktail 1939-1940, Finland

Molotov cocktail (with some homemade grenades) 1944 Warsaw uprising, Poland

Molotov cocktails 2022, Ukraine

Appendix from the culture:

An ultra pathetic poem from Poland by Władysław Broniewski (trans. chrolka) and a pragmatic and humorous song from Finland (with Finnish, Ukrainian and English subtitles). Both refer to 1939. Try to replace geographic names (Poland with Ukraine and Helsinki with Kiev). It works quite well.

Shoot them dead
When they come to burn your home,
where you live – Poland,
when they throw their thunderbolt
when they fall in combat
and against your doors they thud
with wooden barrels stained with blood,
you, awaken late at night
quit your bed.

Stand and fight!
Shoot them dead!
Since this country’s bill of wrongs
foreign hand cannot repeal,
drain red blood from breasts and songs,
end your homeland’s long ordeal.

What if Poland’s prison bread
stings the tongue with bitter taste?
Put a bullet in their heads
for attacking what’s not theirs.
Blazemaster of word and heart,
Now a poem is a trench
erase the sadness from your art,
and shout, and order, and command:
“shoot them dead!”
Shoot them dead!
and even if it’s our last day,
remember what Cambronne* once said.
We will say these words again.

* Today, General Cambronne would probably say: Fuck you, Russian warship. **

** Bobrikoff, the Russian General-Governor, promoter of the unsuccessful Russification in Finland in 1899-1905.He was assassinated by the Finnish patriot Eugen Schaumann in 1904

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