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Juho Kusti Paasikivi

Paasikivi, Juho Kusti (yŏˈhō kŏsˈtē päˈsĭkĭvˌē) [key], 1870–1956, president of Finland (1946–56). He entered the Finnish parliament in 1907 and was minister of finance in 1908–9. After Finland proclaimed full independence from the Soviet Union, Paasikivi was briefly premier (1918), and in 1920 he negotiated the peace treaty with the USSR at Dorpat. In subsequent years he devoted himself mainly to his banking firm. He took part in the unsuccessful negotiations that preceded the Finnish-Russian War of 1939–40 and headed the Finnish peace delegation to the USSR in 1940. He apparently won favor with the Soviet government and with Stalin, and he opposed the Finnish declaration of war on the Soviet Union in 1941. Paasikivi headed the Finnish delegation at the armistice negotiations in 1944. In 1945 he was elected president of Finland after Mannerheim's resignation and took office in 1946. In foreign policy he avoided friction with the USSR. Reelected in 1950 by an anti-Communist coalition, he resigned in 1956 because of poor health and was succeeded as president by Urho Kekkonen.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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