Ryti, Risto (rēˈstō rüˈtē) [key], 1889–1956, Finnish political leader. In 1919 he was elected to the Finnish diet. He later served as minister of finance (1921–24) and as governor of the Bank of Finland (1923–44), winning admiration for improving the country's international credit despite its war debt and the effects of the depression. Prime minister during the Russo-Finnish War of 1939 and 1940, he became president of Finland in late 1940. Ryti's alliance with Germany against the Soviet Union in World War II resulted in his resignation in 1944 after Finland's defeat; Marshal Mannerheim succeeded him as president. The following year, in a Soviet-sponsored trial, he was convicted as a war criminal. In 1949, Ryti's 10-year sentence was commuted because of his deteriorating health.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
See more Encyclopedia articles on: Scandinavian History: Biographies