Praying for Peace in Imatra

The spire of the Tainionkoski Church, as seen from a wheat field on a beautiful evening in August 2018. Tainionkoski is a neighborhood in Imatra, an industrial town of 26,000 people on the Finnish-Russian border. Photo by Living in FIN

The shocking news that Russia had launched a war in Ukraine spread around the world on Thursday morning. The war within Europe’s borders is shocking and worrying people everywhere.

The Imatra Parish is organizing a joint prayer for peace at 7 p.m. Thursday evening in Tainionkoski Church.

“This morning we have woken up to the fact that war has begun in Ukraine. It’s good to react immediately. Another reason is that our bishops across the board have called on all congregations to hold a prayer hour, ” says Mari Parkkinen, Vicar of Imatra Parish.

The vicar was incredulous this morning as she read the headlines about the war in Ukraine. She’s sad to see her faith in humanity go away once again.

“It’s heart-breaking and tragic when there’s a war going on. Ordinary people suffer in the midst of war. The sadness this morning was palpable,” Parkkinen says.

Imatra Parish welcomes everyone to Tainionkoski Church in the evening to light a candle for peace.

Source: Santeri Tynkkynen, Uutisvuoksi, 24 February 2022. Translated by Living in FIN


This was the scene earlier today (24 February 2022) outside the Russian embassy in Helsinki, via artist Alexander Reichstein. The crowd is shouting, “Russia get out, down with Putin!”

Insane Clown Posse

insane clown posse siteA scary clown has struck again in Vuoksenniska, this time on the bike path at the end of Retikankuja. Photo by Minna Mäkinen. Courtesy of Uutisvuoksi

Clown Character Shows Up in Vuoksenniska in Broad Daylight, Scares Two Schoolboys
Clown Was Lurking in Bushes on Bike Path Leading to Lakasentie 
Minna Mäkinen
September 30, 2019

A character wearing a clown mask has struck again in Vuoksenniska. This time the character appeared in broad daylight—on Sunday sometime after one in the afternoon.

The victims of the intimidation were schoolboys out riding their bicycles.

“The boys came home out of breath and told me the clown had been in the bushes. He had come out of the bushes to chase them. He was not able to overtake the boys since they pedaled as quickly away from the spot as they could,” said Tanja Jaatinen, mother of one of the boys.

According to the boys, the clown character was holding a knife.

The incident occurred at the end of Retikankuja on the bike path leading to Lakasenpelto.

Frightening Encounter
The encounter with the clown frightened the second-graders.

“I was freaked out, too,” Jaatinen said.

She immediately reported the incident to emergency services.

“A police patrol has been to the spot,” she said.

The police situation center confirmed their officers had gone to Vuoksenniska, but no one was found at the scene of the incident.

Last Incident Was in Early September
According to Jaatinen, it was especially unfortunate the clown character was scaring little children, who until then had ventured to move around by themselves in the daytime.

The last time a clown struck was in Vuoksenniska on September 3. The target of the intimidation was 17-year-old Imatra resident Samu Kemppi.

Kemppi was biking toward the underpass that runs under Saimaanhovintie in Vuoksenniska when a person dressed in a clown suit jumped from the hillside in front of him.

saimaanhovintieThe site of the September 2019 incident. Image courtesy of Google Maps

Kemppi called emergency services, but when police arrived at the scene they could find no trace of the perpetrator.

The police have been investigating the incident in early September as illegal intimidation.

A person in a clown suit also made headlines in Imatra in October 2017 when they intimidated a young girl in Vuoksenniska. The police then also failed to catch the perpetrator.

Translated by Living in FIN

The Women’s Caucus

naisliiton eduskuntaryhmä 1907 v.

The first women’s caucus in the unicameral Finnish parliament, 1907. The caucus was actually larger, as six female MPs from the SDP were not included in this picture.

Women occupy 43% of the seats in the current Finnish parliament, putting the country in seventh place in the world rankings behind Rwanda, Bolivia, Andorra, Cuba, Sweden, and Seychelles.

The US is tied at 19% with Burkina Faso, Estonia, Kenya, Mauritius, Panama, and Slovakia, while Russia is tied at 14% with Fiji, Guinea-Bissau, Malta, Romania, Somalia, and Turkey.

Information courtesy of The Telegraph; photo courtesy of Uutisvuoksi

Got the Matra Blues


Imatra ranked at the tail end of Finnish municipalities in a happiness study by newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, in 243rd place. [Neighboring] Ruokalahti, on the contrary, did fairly well, coming in as Finland’s fifty-eighth happiest municipality. [Neighboring] Rautjärvi ended up in 199th place. At the moment there are a total of 317 municipalities in Finland, sixteen of which are in the [autonomous] Åland Islands.


In Imatra, use of anti-depression medications is slightly above the national average. Nine percent of residents take anti-depressants, while the average is 8.4 percent among Finnish municipalities. Child welfare clients among minors residing in Imatra is as much as ten percent, while the average is 6.5 percent among Finnish municipalities.

Also, the number of offenses committed while drunk or under the influence of drugs is relatively high. Two people per every thousand Imatrans are charged with having committed a crime while intoxicated, whereas the average in Finland is 1.2 person per thousand residents.


—Mari Lääperi, “Imatra Did Not Fare Well in Happiness Comparison,” Uutisvuoksi, September 1, 2015

Photo and translation by Living in FIN