Neo-fascist Kiuas publishing kicked out of the Helsinki Book Fair

“UPDATE: A spokesperson for the bookfair called and told us that Kiuas publishings’ participation in the book fair has to be cancelled due us being “against the values of the book fair””.

Kiuas publishing house run by the neo-fascist internet magazine Sarastus and organization Suomen Sisu is not allowed to participate in the Helsinki Book Fair.

The yearly Helsinki Book Fair will be held again this year on 25th – 28th of October at Messukeskus. This year a publishing company run by the neo-fascist Sarastus online magazine and Suomen Sisu, a neo-fascist organization, was inadvertently allowed to have their stand at the book fair. However, on tuesday 16th of October 2018 the Helsinki Book Fair announced that Kiuas publishing will be denied accession to the book fair. Blogger and journalist Suvi Auvinen posted a blogpost about the matter:

Kiuas is a publishing company of a well known far right activist and writer Timo Hännikäinen, who is known for his harrassment of women, his far right views and for his speeches at nazi demonstrations.

The person in charge of the program at the Helsinki book fair, Ronja Salmi, states the following:

“The participation of Kiuas publishing at the Helsinki Book Fair has been cancelled.  Kiuas had signed up for the Helsinki Book Fair to put up their stand. In the end there are always hundreds of publishers willing and signing up to put up their stand at the Helsinki Book Fair, and a mistake has been made here on part of the Book Fair in regards to allowing a publishing company that does not share our values to pass our screening. Yesterday we received information about what kind of actor is in question here and since then the matter has been discussed within the Book Fair organization. The reasons behind the cancelling are those of values: the activities of the publishing company in question do not equal those of the Helsinki Book Fair, which include all human rights. Especially in the Sarastus magazine, of which Kiuas partakes in editing and publishing, includes content that cannot be acceped from the point of view of the Book Fairs’ values. The content there includes racist view points, which are presented as facts. The Helsinki Book Fair on its’ part does not want to play a part in supporting that kind of activity.”

The publishing company, who published their first book in 2015, was founded precisely to publish material from Sarastus magazine and to act as a front to a online magazine seeking to popularize fascist propaganda, whose central actors are active in different far right groups and movements. In addition, the publishing company seconds as a spare outlet for its’ publishing editor Timo Hännikäinen, after his previous publisher Savukeidas announced that they have decided not to publish his work in the future, a decision that was made after Hännikäinen had written rape threats to the Facebook page of an organization campaigning against violence towards women called Naisten Linja in 2015. This was also not the only occasion, for Hännikäinens’ night time activities have included harrassing politically active women with similar junk mail. Even though Hännikäinens’ activities can be regarded as drunken stupidity, they are tied to his political stance which he exhibits in his books as well as on the Sarastus web page. Hännikäinen exhibits the political background of the vulgar misogyny in his books Kunnia (Honour, 2015) and Ilman (Without, 2009), in which he cries about bringing back dying and old-fashioned masculinity.

In addition to Hännikäinens’ own work, Kiuas publishing has published thematically a very miscellaneous collection of books. In 2017 the company published the work of the infamous MP of True Finns party Olli Immonen, Kansallinen kipinä (National Spark), in which he discusses his views on immigration for approximately 200 pages. Immonen has become known for his controversial declarations of war, which led to a anti-racist demonstration called Meillä on unelma (We Have A Dream), that gathered some 15 000 people to the streets. The close relationship between Immonen, Hännikäinen and Teemu Lahtinen who run Kiuas publishing and the Nordic Resistance Movement – a neo-nazi organization recently abolished by a ruling the Turku Appeal Court – was documented in 2015 when they posed for a photograph with members of NRM at the grave of Eugen Schauman. Schauman was a nationalist actvist who assassinated the governor-general of Finland Nikolai Bobrikov in 1904. In addition to Immonens’ and Hännikäinens’ work the publishing company publishes translations and fictional books. Its’ first publishing was nevertheless indeed a collection of propaganda texts by Sarastus magazine from its’ first three years.

The founders of Kiuas publishing, Timo Hännikäinen, Teemu Lahtinen and Olli Immonen, posed with neo-nazis of the Nordic Resistance Movement at the grave of Eugen Schauman in 2015 at Porvoo. Circled are: Lahtinen in the backrow on the right, in front are Immonen on the left and Hännikäinen on the right. In the backrow on the right is the killer of Jimi Karttunen, Jesse Torniainen, who is currently serving time in prison. This photograph that Immonen published in social media drew national media attention.

With the role of the online magazine Sarastus being obvious, the reason for maintaining the publishing company is not likely to be just the love for culture. In the six years that it has existed Sarastus has published everything from fascist thinkers opinion pieces and mens’ rights activists’ lamentations to as far as antisemitic theories. The publishing editor of Kiuas Timo Hännikäinen has appeared in media frequently, for example after he implied mass murdering migrants in 2016. The idea of Kiuas publishing is only to act as a material wing for a collective of far right theorizers who produce its’ propaganda material and offer some kind of official status in public discussion for the people running the  company. In the last four years Sarastus has also been a part of organizing the 612-demonstration on the Finnish independence day, a demonstration which organizers consist of a long list on different actors and that also indicates that Hännikäinen or the other people working for Sarastus magazine have no problem with working together with violent neo-nazi organizations such as the Nordic Resistance Movement.

A screenshot from the Sarastus web page. Sarastus and Kiuas publishing are again organizing a far right concert for the upcoming independence day, where nazi bands Vapaudenristi and Pagan Skull are going to perform. The latter is a band of a notable activist of the Nordic Resistance Movement Paavo Laitinen. Laitinen took part in the Jyväskylä library stabbing, after which he was also convicted for maintaining an illegal register of people.

This year the actors at Sarastus also took part in organizing Awakening conference, that gathered several white supremacy theorists from the United States as well as far right Youtubers from Europe. Thus, it is very clear that every Euro given to Kiuas publishing goes directly to organizing different kinds of far right activity and distribution of their propaganda.

The decision to cancel the participation of Kiuas publishing shows that the Helsinki Book Fair has the backbone to place themselves against organizations working in collaboration with neo-nazi organizations.