Toni Jalonen, the second vice-president of young Finns, tells STT not to give up her statement on fascism.
In his speech yesterday in Estonia, Jalonen said he was a fascist. He also said he was an ethnonationalist and a traditionalist.
Jalonen confirms this to STT and says he has used "strong rhetoric". He says he will not back down from his statement.
Does this mean that you are identified as a fascist?
- In the sense that I feel it, yes.
So what does fascism mean to you?
- I think of fascism before World War I, an Italian-type strong national identity, that the people work together for their own good. I think it is a very good ideology, although it has negative meanings attached to it.
Fascism is historically linked to the Italian dictator Benito Mussolin and his reign. Mussolini, for example, ended democracy. It is estimated that at least one million people died as a result of his dictatorship. Among the dead were both citizens of Italian-occupied countries and Italian Jews.
So do you consider the Mussolini terror regime in Italy exemplary?
- Not in all respects, but there came economic growth and such. I did not particularly like Mussolini.
So what did you admire about fascism?
- I like community spirit, a strong sense of nationality and strong leadership. As long as the leader enjoys the confidence of the people, I feel that he is effective compared to governments that vary.
According to Jalonen, however, he does not want fascism as a form of government in Finland and, in his own words, respects democracy.
Halla-aho wants an explanation
According to Jalonen, the statement only represents him, not the young Finns.
Jalonen made his statement at the Etnofutur IV conference, described on the event's Facebook page as "a gathering of European nationalists planning an ethnic future". On the event's Facebook page, Jalonen is listed as a participant as a representative of the Finns and Sisu Finland.
Earlier Finns' chairman, Jussi Halla-aho, told STT that a request for clarification would be sent to Jalosen about his fascist speeches.
- We do the process in accordance with the rules and the law in such a way that if a person is suspected of violating a party's rules, a request for clarification is sent to him and he has the opportunity to respond. Based on this report, the party's government is working on the issue, Halla-aho says.
Simo Grönroos, the secretary of the Basic Finns Party, previously told New Finland that Jalonen was being sacked from the Basic Finns because of his fascist speech.
Halla-aho does not want to comment further on Jalonen's statement.
"I've never seen a little clip, so I can't say in what context this goes, but a representative of the youth organization promised to look through the clip and make a note, and then I can comment," says Halla-aho.
According to Halla-aho, basic Finns do not tolerate Nazism or Fascism.
On the BTI's question of whether Halla-aho condemns Jalonen's statement, Halla-aho says the differences of opinion are clear.
- It is said that based on previous statements it is clear where the differences of opinion between Jalonen and the party go. I do not think it is necessary to have any further discussion.
- As I just explained, a request for clarification will be sent to him, after which the party government will make a decision based on the inquiry, he adds.
Jalonen says he has read in the magazine about his possible dismissal.
- I understand if a party dismisses, but I do not necessarily see it as fair if one looks at what other outputs have come from within the party, Jalonen says, referring, for example, to guest speaker speeches by MP Juha Mäenpää.
The president of the youth organization does not condemn the statement, Jalonen does not consider himself particularly radical within the organization
Asseri Kinnunen, the chairman of the Young Finns, tells STT that Jalonen's speech in Estonia does not represent the values of a youth organization. According to him, the statement is careless and silly.
In a video shared on social media, Jalonen says he is "ethnonationalist, traditionalist and fascist". The video is reportedly filmed at the Etnofutur IV conference in Estonia, which is described on the Facebook page of the event as "a gathering of European nationalists planning an ethnic future". On the event's Facebook page, Jalonen is listed as a participant as a representative of the Finns and Sisu Finland.
Kinnunen says she plans to discuss the matter with Jalonen.
Was it just a careless and stupid statement or will there be any consequences?
- I will discuss this with him and see what action we take. I cannot yet assess the consequences.
Nor did Kinnunen want to comment on whether Jalonen could be dismissed.
Do you condemn this statement?
- I will not condemn, but I do not think it is reasonable to make this statement.
Kinnunen says he has also discussed the issue with the parent Finns, but does not elaborate on the content of the discussions.
For example, the Suomen Kuvalehti has reported on internal disputes among young Finns, where a group calling themselves ethnonationalists has caused friction within the group.
Asked about the organization's internal disputes, Kinnunen replied that the organization holds many different ideas.
Jalonen does not know how much support his line enjoys in the youth organization, but says that his election as vice-chairman is some kind of indicator.
"I don't see myself being particularly radical within a youth organization," says Jalonen.
Jalonen previously shared a tweet that led to the loss of state aid
In the past, Jalonen has shrunk by sharing a tweet that was interpreted as an invitation to vote for Finns in the European elections so that there would be no people of a different color from the main population in Finland.
The tweet was posted on Ps-Youth's Twitter account.
In a post, Ps-Young published a screenshot of a Euro election ad depicting a dark-skinned family calling for a decision on the future of Europe. The Ps-Youth account published an image with a cover text urging the Finns to vote, "so that the future of Finland does not look like this".
Jalonen regretted his message at the time, but the tweet led to the Ministry of Education and Culture stopping paying Ps-Youth Grant last year and reclaiming the portion previously paid. This year, the organization has received € 91,000.
When asked by the STT whether Jalonen still has the confidence of the youth organization's leadership despite his earlier Twitter feud and statement of fascism, Kinnunen said he did not like to be good.
- Yes, we have got along and he has been voted on, but I do not think it is good that such a stupid statement was made.
The Ministry of Education and Culture told STT that it was investigating whether Jalonen's declaration of fascism would lead to further measures.
"The ministry is considering what measures this might entail," says Advisory Officer Emma Taipale, in charge of youth work and policy, to the BTI.
According to Taipale, it is exceptional for organizations to lose the support they have already given because of the violation of the objectives mentioned in section 2 of the Youth Act.
"There have been economic recoveries of grants, but based on the goals and value base of the Youth Act, it's not very common," says Taipale.
According to Jalonen, considering this is "unreasonable".
- During tweet, he understood it, but the organization has nothing to do with this statement. The policy of the organization has not changed.
Finns call on youth organization to change its rules - if it fails, co-operation will be considered
The Finno-Ugric government has previously made a request to the Finno-Ugric Youth Association that membership of a youth organization would require membership in the party.
Currently, voting rights for Ps-Young can be reached at the age of 15, and its rules do not require membership of the Basic Finns.
Earlier this year, Finn News said that if the rule change does not go through a meeting of the youth organization, the party will consider ending cooperation with the youth organization. The youth organization receives, among other things, financial support from the party.
- Yes, this has been announced, Halla-aho confirms.
Halla-aho has previously pointed out in an interview with Ilta-Sanomat, for example, that the "flush" of a certain group in a youth organization has gone too far. Is the purpose of the rule change to eradicate ethnonationalist thinking about the party?
- I have made it clear on several occasions that Nazism and fascism are not tolerated in the ideas of this party, Halla-aho says.
The article was corrected at 2:58 pm, by Juha Mäenpää, MP from Finland, not by Ano Turtiainen.