The work for cherishing the memory of fallen Finnish soldiers, left outside the borders of Finland, was started in 1990.
To take better care of the cherishing work, the veteran organizations and some other organizations close to them founded the Association for Cherishing the Memory of War Dead (Sotavainajien muiston vaalimisyhdistys) on January 8, 1998. The society operates within the field of administration of the Ministry of Defence.
During the visit of Russia’s President Boris Yeltsin to Finland, a state treaty on cherishing the memory of war dead between Finland and Russia was signed in Helsinki on July 17, 1992. The treaty enables the cherishing work within the Russian territory.
Search for Soldiers Left in the Field
The searches were started in autumn 1992. About 250 volunteers have participated in the work so far. By the end of 2021 about 1 500 remains of Finnish soldiers have been found. More than 400 of them have been identified.
The state treaty enabled the search and restoration of field cemeteries founded during the Continuation War. Most of those buried in them were unidentified Finnish soldiers of the Winter War, found in the field. Field cemeteries are in Säkkijärvi, Viborg, Summa, Äyräpää, Taipaleenjoki, Kollaa and Tuulos. The association looks after these cemeteries.
Memorials of War Prisoners
The Finns have erected memorials for Finnish prisoners of war perished during the captivity. The memorials are in Cherepovets, Borovitsh, Gatsina, Karaganda (Kazakhstan), Oranki and Asbest. The association looks after these memorials.
For identified fallen Finnish soldiers military funerals have been arranged in their home parishes. National military funerals for unidentified Finnish soldiers have been arranged in Joensuu, Helsinki and Kajaani, so far 16 times. The association has the main responsibility for organizing national funerals in cooperation with the Defence Forces.