22:41 GMT17 February 2020
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    Despite the fact that the late USSR was branded an 'Evil Empire' by US President Reagan and broke up shortly afterwards, Soviet-themed goods are still in vogue across the world. In Finland, a nostalgic series of firecrackers associated with the country's eastern neighbor hit the stores before the New Year.

    Even though former command economies throughout Europe have jettisoned emblems and logos featuring red stars and hammers and sickles since Perestroika and the 1980s, Soviet-themed merchandise continues to find willing consumers. In the week leading up to the New Year, Finnish buyers have stocked up on fireworks and rockets referencing the Soviet Union and Russia.

    In addition to its unusual font, which looks like garbled Cyrillic and may appear as Russian to the Finnish eye, the festive merchandise features provocative, tell-tale names like "KGB," "Mega Stalin" and "King Vladimir."

    Whereas some of the Russia-themed firecrackers' names are all in good fun (like "Leningrad Love," "Siberian Frost," "Grandmother Olga" and even the nonsensical "Glasnost Svetlana"), others are far more aggressive, such as the 36-charge firework entitled "Give Karelia Back, Now!" Some nationalistic Finns continue to resent Russia for territory lost during the short-lived Winter War of 1939-1940.

    All inclusive patakassi from Babuska
    © Photo : rakettikauppa.com
    All inclusive patakassi from Babuska

    One can only speculate that the reason for the popularity of the Soviet-themed pyrotechnics in Finland is the Molotov cocktail, a term coined by Finns during the Winter War for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons and named after the then-Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov.

    This year, the "favorite series" has been replenished with "Bad President," which, according to the marketing brochure, is "in vogue in the East and the West."

    All in all, fireworks with clear references to Russia and the Soviet Union have been sold in Finland for about a decade and are still in high demand.
    In Finland, fireworks and explosives are only allowed at certain times, namely from 6:00 PM on December 31 though 2:00 AM on January 1. Violators who use them outside these hours risk paying a penalty of €120. Importing firecrackers and other pyrotechnics to Finland is prohibited. Additionally, protective goggles must be worn when launching fireworks.


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    fireworks, KGB, Joseph Stalin, Russia, Soviet Union, Scandinavia, Finland
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