Jussi Konttinen (b. 1973) is a journalist with Helsingin Sanomat, a Finnish daily newspaper with the largest circulation in the Nordic countries. Konttinen has been working for the Sunday edition of the paper since 2008, writing long reads and feature stories.
He has deep experience in post-Soviet countries and speaks fluent Russian since, after graduating from a journalism faculty in Finland, he studied Russian in Odessa (Ukraine) and Irkutsk (Siberia). Subsequently, he worked as a journalist for Helsingin Sanomat stationed in St. Petersburg, Russia, for six years.
In 2016, he moved with his wife and three kids to the coldest inhabited region on earth, the Republic of Yakutia in East Siberia. For a year, they lived in a little village inhabited by indigenous Yakut people. After his family returned to Finland, Konttinen travelled extensively around Siberia, covering issues like walruses on the Bering strait, Amur tigers, Yakutian diamonds, Nenets reindeer herders living aside the largest gas fields in the world, climate change and the melting permafrost. He observed fraud in the Russian presidential elections, and met the “Siberian Jesus”, Vissarion.
The subjects Konttinen handles, aren’t so much about the high-level politics and Kremlin, but more about the changes in society, the way of life, culture, region, environment and economy. For Helsingin Sanomat, he’s written popular pieces about the Dacha lifestyle he and his family enjoy by Lake Ladoga, Russia, where they have a summer cottage.
Journalist Jussi Konttinen moved to Yakutia, the coldest region of Siberia, together with his wife and three children. During winter, the temperatures reached -50 degrees Celsius and the family had to melt drinking water from huge blocks of ice. The children attended the local village school and kindergarten, the latter specializing in teaching the national instrument, the Yakutian trump.
Siberia is full of wonders. During his time there, Konttinen saw the eruption of the highest volcano in Eurasia, encountered 70 000 walruses on a beach, searched for mammoth tusks buried in the permafrost, and played a frozen zombie in a Yakutian horror film.
Konttinen’s book paints a picture of life in the Yakut village of Tyokhtyur, but more than that, it also features topics like the Siberian economy, politics and culture, huge wilderness, enormous natural resources, vulnerable nature, and the undergoing climate change that is threatening everything.
This book is full of thrilling information and adventures. The chapters of the book wander around Siberia like a mammoth that has popped up from the past and into the present. [...] Konttinen’s book opens a colourful window to the east and makes the reader feel regret about the current climate of antagonism and isolationism in Russia. Siberia is incredibly engaging, and paints a picture of contemporary Russia as a whole.
Ville Ropponen, Helsingin Sanomat
The adventures of Jussi Konttinen in the pathless hinterlands of Siberia are a compelling read. I recommend Siberia as an armchair travel guide; a description of the culture in the land of natural wilderness and great resources.
Kaisa Vainio, Lapin Kansa
Siberia opens up my eyes - how little have I known.
Jorma Melleri, news manager for YLE, and married to MEP Anneli Jäätteenmäki
Konttinen's inexhaustible thirst to find out something new and his desire to look beneath the surface of this intriguing and multifaceted phenomena, paired with his ability to serve them up in a delicious manner for the readers makes this book a treat to read.
Professor Helena Ruotsala, Agricola online magazine
Konttinen’s book paints a picture of life in a Yakut village, but more than that, it features topics like the Siberian economy, politics, culture, huge wilderness, enormous natural resources, and the undergoing climate change that threatens everything.
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