Article

December 8, 2021

Mauno Henrik Koivisto (November 25, 1923 in Turku - May 12, 2017 in Helsinki) was a Finnish Social Democratic politician, bank manager and sociologist, and the ninth President of the Republic of Finland. Koivisto served as president for two consecutive terms from 1982 to 1994, before which he served as president at the end of 1981, when Urho Kekkonen was incapacitated due to his illness. Koivisto wanted to limit the powers of the president and strengthen the power of the prime minister. He described himself as a Bernstein socialist. In 1968–1970 and 1979–1982, Koivisto served as prime minister for a total of 1,761 days. As Prime Minister, he is the fifth longest in Finland. Koivisto was the Governor of the Bank of Finland from 1968 to 1982. However, he was never an MP. Koivisto was the oldest president of Finland at the age of 93. Mauno Koivisto has been married to Tellervo Koivisto since 1952. Koivisto has one child, daughter Assi Koivisto-Allonen.

Early stages

Mauno Koivisto's father Juho Koivisto was a carpenter and his mother Hymni Koivisto (o.s. Eskola) a seamstress. The family also included the firstborn Joel and the pit Miriam. The mother anthem died when Mauno was ten years old. During the Winter War, Koivisto was 16 years old and volunteered in the fire department on the home front. In the Continuation War, he first served as a volunteer in a fire-fighting unit in East Karelia, from where he left to serve in Hyrylä in February 1942. The training lasted six months, after which he moved to Karhumäki and in September to JR 35 in Poventsa. In February 1944, Koivisto began working for a glacier company led by Lauri Törn. Koivisto was a lieutenant in military rank. Koivisto has said of his war experiences: “After being involved in a game where one's own life is at stake, all other games are small after that experience.” Koivisto joined the Social Democratic Party in 1947. He took part in a fierce organizational war in the ports of Turku and Hanko. Koivisto was active against the Communists, among other things, as the manager of the Turku port office appointed by the trade union in 1948, when the Communist supremacy broke down in the Port of Turku. He has said that at a young age he was also influenced by anarchism and anarcho-syndicalism. In the late 1940s and 1950s, he wrote pagans for the Socialist magazine and its successor, Turku Päivälehti, under the pseudonym “Puumies”.

Doctor, Bank Manager, Politician

After the war, Koivisto studied at an evening school and became a student in 1949. He continued his studies at the University of Turku, graduating with a bachelor's degree in philosophy in 1953 and a doctorate in sociology in 1956 under Professor Esko Aaltonen. In addition to his studies, he worked as a stevedore in the Port of Turku and received the topic of his dissertation Social Relations in the Port of Turku (1956). The thesis represented the first wave of research in working life in Finland. During his studies, Koivisto also worked as a primary school teacher in Eurajoki and Vahto in 1951–1953. From 1954 to 1957, he worked as a career guidance counselor for the City of Turku. In 1957, Koivisto moved from academic research to Helsinki to become the second director of the Helsinki Workers' Savings Bank. He became the bank's managing director in 1959 and served until 1968. In Helsinki, he also joined the O Group of young economists. As an expert in the national economy, Koivisto made a significant contribution to the industrialization of housing construction in the early 1960s and to the emergence of the financing procedures required for regional construction, especially the housing savings system. He joined the majority of the party, the widows. Koivisto opposed the Honka Alliance and pushed for relations with President Kekkonen, Soviet Union

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