Tom of Finlandization

An anonymous reader’s comment in the September 24, 2014, edition of the Finnish daily newspaper Etelä-Saimaa:

Valtavat Tom of Finland-taulut pitkin itärajaa tyrehdyttävät Venäjän erikoisjoukkojen hyökkäyksen Suomeen.

(“Huge Tom of Finland signs along the eastern border will suppress an invasion of Finland by Russian special forces.”)

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Stamps designed as a tribute to homoerotic artist and gay icon Touko Laaksonen—also known as Tom of Finland—went on sale Monday [September 8, 2014]. According to the postal service company Posti, the risqué stamps are [Finland’s] biggest seller ever, with pre-orders made in 178 different countries. The stamps, which hold pride of place in the newly-opened postal museum in Tampere, attracted a long queue of individuals eagerly anticipating the first day issues.

Tom+of+Finland+postimerkki+postipaketti

From a September 12, 2014, article published on the Russian-language news site of Yle (“Yleisradio”), the Finnish public broadcaster:

In Russia, there is a law prohibiting the promotion of homosexuality. Journalists from the regional branch of Yleisradio in Tampere decided to test how Russian postal workers would react to parcels and letters adorned with ambiguous stamps featuring Laaksonen’s work. On Tuesday, two parcels and two letters pasted with the homoerotic stamps were sent to Russia.

According to Finnish postal workers, on average letters take six to nine days to get to Russia, while parcels take a little longer, fourteen to thirty days. The parcels were delivered to the international postal terminal in Vantaa on Wednesday and from there sent to Russia. 

The journalists from Tampere are tracking the movement of the parcels in real time. Readers can find about the further adventures of the “double agents” on Twitter by using the hashtag #TomofRussia.

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