Johan Bäckman

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Johan Bäckman
Born 18 May 1971 (1971-05-18) (age 44)
Nationality Finnish
Alma mater University of Helsinki
Known for controversial views, pro-Russian statements, criticism of the Estonian government[1]
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Erkki Johan Bäckman (born 18 May 1971) is a Finnish political author, legal sociologist and criminologist, holding an adjunct professorship in three Finnish universities.[2][3]

He received his training in sociology at the University of Helsinki, where he defended his Ph.D. in 2006,[4] and is now an adjunct professor in the sociology of law.[5] He is also an adjunct professor in criminology at the University of Turku[6] and the University of Eastern Finland. He has taught courses on the sociology of law, criminology, and Russian studies in several Finnish universities.

Bäckman has written books, some of which highly controversial, about Finnish-Soviet relations during the Cold War, war history of Finland and the Soviet Union, organized crime in Russia and Estonia, the Russian Mafia, terrorism, and the history of Estonia. As a spokesman for the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee he is against the integration policies of Estonia and Latvia, claiming they are "apartheid policies". On the whole, he does not recognize them as states. In recent years Bäckman has frequently commented on Finnish-Russian child custody and grandmother cases in the Russian media.[7]

Bäckman has a background in music. According to Helsingin Sanomat he became a public figure in the late 1980's when playing the bassoon in the EBU Young Solists Competition on national television. Bäckman also played the bassoon in the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. [8]


Bäckman and Russia

Bäckman is highly critical of the modern Finnish historiography of World War II and challenges the traditional Finnish ideas that Finland waged a separate Continuation War against the aggression of the USSR. According to Bäckman, the Finns participated in the Siege of Leningrad actively and asked Hitler to destroy the city. He speculates that Finland also planned an ethnic cleansing in Karelia in order to create a Fenno-Ugric superpower, possibly stretching as far as the Urals, or even to the river Yenisei, which he claimed is proven by vast amounts of documents and in several Finnish history books by Helge Seppälä, Osmo Hyytiä and Nikolai Baryshnikov.[9]

Bäckman accuses Finland of being the aggressor in WWII: that it allied with Hitler in attacking the USSR in 1941 (Continuation War)—omitting the original source conflict (Winter War); plotted territorial expansion and planned to conduct ethnic cleansing; and that, along with the Estonians and Germans, believed in its Aryan origins (a Nordic master race). He contends Finns are both anti-Semitic and Russophobic, Russophobia being a "racist political ideology"—both per "several academic works by Finnish authors."[10]

In 2002, Bäckman publicly accused the Foreign Ministry of Finland of Russophobia and racism. He claimed that the ministry was preparing a campaign to smear Russia and return the territories lost in the Paris Peace Treaty.[11]

Bäckman has frequently travelled to Russia since 1993,[12] and is fluent in Russian. In 2000, he established a publishing institution named the Johan Beckman [sic] Institute in Saint Petersburg.[13]

In March 2002, during a military historical festival in Suojärvi in the Republic of Karelia which was dedicated to the 62nd anniversary of the end of the Winter War, Bäckman made a sensational claim that the modern authorities of Finland propagated the idea that the Russian people are genetically inferior and expected Russia to collapse in about twenty years.[12][14] The other participants at the festival considered that he unreasonably overestimated the extent of anti-Russian sentiment in Finland.[15] According to Bäckman's article "Finland without a mask" (the title alludes to a 1943 proclamation by Otto Wille Kuusinen), published in Russian in May 2002, the Finns in general consider themselves a superior nation, all Russian women prostitutes, and all Russian men thieves and bandits.[16] During 2002, Bäckman gained an odious reputation both in Russia and among his Finnish colleagues.[17]

In 2003, Johan Beckman Institute published the book Finland and the Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944 by the Russian historian Nikolai Baryshnikov. The Saint Petersburg legislature awarded Bäckman their Marshal Govorov Literature Prize (2003) for the book. Historian Timo Vihavainen, a historian at the University of Helsinki described it as "a book built on Stalinist propaganda stereotypes". Vihavainen also said that Baryshnikov had misunderstood some of the language in Finnish archive documents.[9] Bäckman and Baryshnikov threatened to sue Vihavainen.

According to Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat, Johan Bäckman was a talented researcher in Russian studies in the early 2000s, who has since "marginalized" himself in Finland.[18]

Bäckman's views of Vladimir V. Putin

In the pamphlet Finland washed with Anna Politkovskaya's blood Bäckman accuses the Finnish media of anti-Russian and anti-Putin sentiment.[19]

In his 2007 book Finland washed with Anna Politkovskaya's blood (Finnish: , Literally: Satan Arrives in Helsinki, which alludes to Saatana saapuu Moskovaan, the Finnish language title for The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov) he supported the conspiracy theory that Anna Politkovskaya assassination was organized by circles who wanted to smear the Russian president Vladimir Putin.[20] Bäckman even hints that Politkovskaya was depressed and ordered her own murder. According to Bäckman, Politkovskaya, a Russian writer and human rights activist, was an American agent. He also criticizes Finns' reaction to the murder. Bäckman accused Finnish Green League politician Heidi Hautala and the Finnish media of inciting hatred towards Russia and Vladimir Putin. Hautala, depicted on the book cover (pictured), saw this as a smear campaign, but refused to take legal action, preferring to allow the book to speak for itself.[19]

Bäckman admires Vladmir Putin, crediting all recent successes of Russia to Putin's personality and health.[21][22] He has compared Putin to Cold War-era Finnish president Urho Kekkonen, and claimed he wishes Putin would likewise rule Russia for 26 years. He stated that Finland also needs organizations such as the pro-Kremlin Nashi and Walking Together.[21] According to Bäckman, the freedom of the press in Russia is considerably higher than in Finland, and Estonia is not free at all.[21]

Bäckman and Estonia

Bäckman has authored several writings, published in Finland and Estonia. Many of his published opinions are provocative and some have been regarded as pro-Putin and anti-Estonian by commentators in the Estonian press.[23] Bäckman has stated that Estonia "does not exist" as a sovereign state.[24]

According to Bäckman, the Estonians and Finns are actually one nation and the Republic of Estonia should be united with Finland where it could still have an autonomy.[25]

The Bronze Soldier book

In his highly controversial book about the Estonian Bronze Soldier Pronssisoturi: Viron patsaskiistan tausta ja sisältö, published in Finnish in 2008, Bäckman argues against the integration policies of Estonia. In his opinion, Estonian integration policies that have seen some 147,000 Russian speakers receiving Estonian citizenship in the past decade are "apartheid" and represent a "criminal discrimination of Russians".[20] In the Bronze Soldier he dismissed the Soviet occupation of Estonia as a "Nazi myth".[26] Bäckman has gained wide publicity in Estonia for denying the Soviet occupation during 1940-1941 and 1944-1991:
"In my opinion speaking or writing of Soviet "occupation" should be criminalised as a form of racist propaganda.

In connection to the publication of the book in September 2008, Bäckman gave several controversial interviews, e.g. one in which he claimed Estonia will join Russia within a decade.[20][27][28][29][30] Bäckman also claimed that the "destruction" of the Bronze Soldier grave site and monument in April 2007 by the Estonian government was "the end of history of Estonia". He speculated that most of the Russian youth all over Russia, including children, hate Estonia and deny her the right to exist. Bäckman went on to predict that in ten years at most, the Nashi would come to power in Russia, leading to an end of the Estonian statehood shortly afterwards.[20]

After the publication of the book, a number of Finnish and Estonian cultural figures, scholars, journalists and politicians, including Henrik Lax, Lasse Lehtinen and Sofi Oksanen, addressed the University of Helsinki in an open letter of protest, partly in relation to Bäckman teaching a course on "specialities of Estonian legal policy" in the Spring 2009 semester.[31] Bäckman immediately threatened to sue letter's authors for libel and later filed a criminal complaint, but Helsinki Police refused to open investigation.[32] The former minister of foreign affairs of Finland Dr. Erkki Tuomioja called Bäckman's book as "deliberate provocation", but condemned the open letter for violating the principles of freedom of speech.[33] The University of Helsinki distanced itself in a statement holding that Bäckman's political views are his own and do not represent the University's.[26][34]

Nashi protests in Helsinki

Bäckman arranged the "Nashi-protest" on March 23, 2009. The handful of demonstrators were the focus of attention for about 40 representatives of the media.[35]

In March 2009 Bäckman as part of the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee arranged a series of protests in Helsinki attended by activists of Russian Nashi, Night Watch, against what they called the opening [of] a new anti-Russian front of information warfare on the territory of Finland by [the] Estonian embassy. Also Abdullah Tammi and his followers from the prospective Finnish Islamic Party participated. The protests were aimed against seminars, against a book about the Soviet occupation of Estonia, and against films presented by the Estonian embassy in Finland, especially the film Soviet Story by Edvins Snore.[35] In media commentaries for Swedish, Finnish and Russian press, television and radio, Bäckman claimed that the Soviet Union did not occupy Estonia, and belittled the significance of the Soviet deportations from Estonia.[35]

Estonian security police and Bäckman

The Estonian security police and counter-intelligence agency Kaitsepolitsei (KAPO) official Andres Kahar has claimed in the Estonian press that Bäckman is "a Russian propagandist" spreading disinformation similar to the claims Moscow makes.[36][37][38]

In March 2009, the newspaper Eesti Ekspress reported a link between Bäckman and the well-known Finnish neo-nazi Risto Teinonen, both of them being connected to the alleged former KGB agent Vladimir Ilyashevich residing in Estonia, and all of them are linked to the young Muscovite historian Alexander Dyukov. In the assessment by Kaitsepolitseiamet, Bäckman, Teinonen and Ilyashevich are working as a team with support from Moscow, attempting to undermine the names of many good people, the relations between Finland and Estonia, and the Republic of Estonia itself.[37]

Finnish counter-intelligence has not commented on Bäckman publicly. Regarding Nashi-demonstrations organised by Bäckman in Helsinki March 2009, the Finnish security police spokesman replied they heard "rumours" about the demonstrations but would not comment on issues regarding free democratic activism.[39]

Expulsion from Estonia

On 26 April 2009, Bäckman was detained after his disembarkation off a ferry in the Tallinn Passenger Port and expelled from the country under a brief entry prohibition. Among reasons for expulsion, the Estonian Minister of Internal Affairs lists first of all twelve statements by Bäckman in the Estonian press and in his blog, claiming Estonia is an "apartheid" regime that "falsifies" history. Helsingin Sanomat pointed out such prohibition against entry into Estonia by Finnish citizens is extremely rare. Previously such entry bans have been issued to some Finns suspected of connections with racist movements.[40] In December 2010 Tallinn regional court declared entry prohibitions against Bäckman illegal and ordered the Ministry of Internal Affairs compensate his legal fees in sum of 16 600 Estonian kroons.[41]

Bäckman and Finland

Bäckman has received widely media time in Russia, both in national tv channels, the press and Russian Internet news portals. Bäckman has been an active commentator of Finnish-Russian child custody and "grandmother cases". The Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle, quoting to famous opponent of Bäckman Timo Vihavainen, speculated that this has happened due to fact that Bäckman's opinions fit in interests of the Kremlin. Usually he was presented as the Chairman of the Finnish Anti-Fascist Committee, but also as independent human rights activists or defender and adjunct professor in sociology of law of Helsinki university.[7]

Bäckman has been an active commentator for Russian press during the Anton incident in 2009.[42][43] Later Bäckman apologized for his behaviour, and promised not to intervene the incident.[1][44] He was also an active commentator for Russian press during the Rantala incident in 2010.[45] Bäckman has also received media time with grandmother and similar child custody cases in 2010.[7]


Bäckman considers the Taistoists movement of the 1970s, the hardline pro-Soviet faction in the Communist Party of Finland, as "the best thing that happened in the history of Finland", "We can thank the Taistoists for high-quality science, art and culture we enjoy today" claims Bäckman.[46] Bäckman was an independent candidate for European Parliament election in 2009 on the Workers Party of Finland list. He got 554 votes and was not allocated a seat.[47]

In March 2011, Bäckman announced he is a candidate for the 2011 Finnish parliamentary election on the Workers Party of Finland list.[48][49] He got 36 votes and was not allocated a seat.[50]

Private life

Johan Bäckman is a son of Erkki Bäckman who was a Managing Director of Hartwall beverage company.[51] Johan Bäckman has courted against his Soviet-born ex-wife for years in which both parties have received sentences for libel.[8] Bäckman's current family consists of a girl and two boys. His wife is the Russian language and literature teacher.[52] According to Helsingin Sanomat, Bäckman had been treated with caution in the Finnish public media because he is sensitive to make libels against journalists. According to the newspaper he has won a court case two times, but equally self-convicted of libel in July 2009. [8] Bäckman wrote a letter to the editor saying he had won seven libel cases during past couple of years, not two, as the paper claimed. Bäckman wrote he won the cases against five persons, all of whom are female citizens of Finland. [53]


The Legislative Assembly of Saint Petersburg awarded Bäckman Marshal Govorov Literature Prize (2004) for publishing the book Finland and the Siege of Leningrad 1941-1944 by the Russian historian Nikolai Baryshnikov.


  • Bäckman, Johan (1996). Venäjän organisoitu rikollisuus. Helsinki: Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos. ISBN 951-704-191-8. 
  • Bäckman, Johan (1997). Liikkeenjohto Venäjän muutoksessa. Helsinki: WSOY. ISBN 951-0-21672-0. 
  • Bäckman, Johan (1998). The inflation of crime in Russia: The social danger of the emerging markets. Helsinki: National Research Institute of Legal Policy. ISBN 951-704-211-6. 
  • Bäckman, Johan (1999). ”Sudella on sata tietä...”: Pietarin organisoitu rikollisuus Venäjän rikosoikeuskulttuurin kehyksessä. Helsinki: Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos. ISBN 951-704-240-X. 
  • Bäckman, Johan (2001). Entäs kun tulee se yhdestoista? Suomettumisen uusi historia. Helsinki: WSOY. ISBN 951-0-25654-4. 
  • Bäckman, Johan (2006). Itämafia: Uhkakuvapolitiikka, rikosilmiöt ja kulttuuriset merkitykset. Espoo: Poliisiammattikorkeakoulu. ISBN 951-815-112. 
  • Bäckman, Johan (2007). Saatana saapuu Helsinkiin: Anna Politkovskajan murha ja Suomi. Helsinki: Russia Advisory Group. ISBN 978-952-99785-1-9. 



  1. 1.0 1.1 "Bäckman apologises to Paavo Salonen over comments on child custody affair". Helsingin Sanomat. Retrieved 2010-11-15. 
  2. "Oikeussosiologia 2008-2009" (in (Finnish)). University of Helsinki. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  3. "Dosentti Johan Bäckman, VTT" (in (Finnish)). University of Turku. Retrieved 2009-03-30. 
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 "Professori: Kohudosenttiin suhtauduttava vakavasti" (in (Finnish)). Yle. 2010-06-08. Retrieved 2010-06-08. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 Mäkinen, Esa (6 December 2010). "Johan on kumma!" (in (Finnish)). Helsingin Sanomat: C1. 
  9. 9.0 9.1
  10. Bäckman, J. "The Janša-Patria Case (or Chase): A Challenge for Mediacriminology"—Primer Janša-Patria (lov na čarovnice): izziv za kriminologijo medijev
  12. 12.0 12.1 Выродившаяся нация, у которой нет будущего at the Wayback Machine
  13. Publication index of Johan Beckman Institute
  16. [1]
  17. Поколение новое - предрассудки старые at the Wayback Machine
  18. Konttinen, Jussi (25 June 2010). "Maailman paras maa" (in Finnish). Helsingin Sanomat: pp. C4–C5. "only a part of the article is in the web." 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Helsingin Sanomat: Book accuses media and Green MP of inciting anti-Russian sentiment (2007-03-01)
  20. 20.0 20.1 20.2 20.3 Десять лет, которые потрясут Эстонию Den' za Dnyom (Russian)
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2
  23. Eesti Ekspress 23 February 2009 12:43: Räige Eesti-vastane kampaania käib kolmes riigis korraga, edited by Askur Alas
  24. 6 March 2009 13:02: "Эстония? Нет такого государства!", interview by Yelena Slyusareva
  25. "Bäckman: Soome ja Eesti – üks rahvas – üks riik!" (in Estonian). 29 Apr 2009. Retrieved April 30, 2009. 
  26. 26.0 26.1
  27. (German) "Estland in zehn Jahren Teil der Russischen Föderation". Der Standard. 2008-09-11. Retrieved 2008-09-13. 
  28. Bäckman: Eesti on teel otse põrgusse Eesti Päevaleht 11 August 2008 (Estonian)
  29. Finnish writer: Estonia to lose independence in 10 years Baltic Business News 11 August 2008
  30. Эстония прямиком движется в ад Molodezh Estonii 15 August 2008
  32. Poliisi tyrmäsi dosentin epäilyt
  33. Tuomioja, Erkki (October 2008). "Pitäisikö provosoitua?". Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  34. Helsingi ülikool distantseerus Bäckmani seisukohtadest Postimees 27 March 2008 (Estonian)
  35. 35.0 35.1 35.2 Helsingin Sanomat: Hundreds of listeners and a handful of protesters attend publication of book on Estonia (2007-03-24)
  36. Viivik, Allar (2008-03-23). "Kapo: milleks aidata Vene propagandamasinat?" (in (Estonian)). SL Õhtuleht. Retrieved 2008-09-26. 
  37. 37.0 37.1 Askur Alas (18 March 2009). "Üheskoos Eesti vastu: antifašist Bäckman ja natsimeelne Teinonen" (in (Estonian)). Eesti Ekspress. Retrieved 2009-03-31. 
  38. "Eurasian Secret Services Daily Review". Global Challenges Research. Retrieved 15 April 2010. 
  40. "Anti-Estonian Johan Bäckman refused entry at Port of Tallinn". Helsingin Sanomat. 27 April 2009. Retrieved 2009-04-28. 
  42. Iltasanomat: Antonin äiti: Tuomio on epäoikeudenmukainen - katso video (in Finnish)
  43. RIA Novosti: Russian woman convicted of kidnapping own son in Finland
  44. Johan Bäckman: Johan Bäckmanin julkinen anteeksipyyntö Paavo Saloselle (in Finnish)
  45. "Бронзовый мальчик" (in (Russian)). Kommersant. Retrieved 2010-03-27. 
  46. Bruun, Staffan (2009-03-22). "Han bjöd in 30 Putinunga" (in (Swedish)). Hufvudstadsbladet. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  47. "EUROPARLAMENTTIVAALIT 7.6.2009 - Tulos - Koko maa" (in (Finnish)). (the Official Results by the Ministry of Justice). Retrieved 2009-06-13. 
  48. Iltasanomat: Huoltajuuskiistasta tuttu Rimma Salonen pyrkii eduskuntaan
  49. Safka blogi: Jussi Parviainen, Johan Bäckman, Juha Molari, Rimma Salonen ovat SAFKAn eduskuntavaaliehdokkaat!
  50. Electoral district of Helsinki Official results of Finnish Justice Ministry
  51. "Johan Bäckmani isa teenis mullu 1,7 miljonit eurot" (in Estonian). Delfi. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 28 July 2010. 
  52. Грибанова, Татьяна (2010). "Йохан Бекман: Моё хобби - это Россия" (in (Russian)). Аиф Тамбов (32 (790)). Retrieved 6 December 2010. 
  53. Helsingin Sanomat 16.12.2010

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