PETSAMO/PECHENGA. The Russian-Swiss writer Robert Crottet (1908-1987), whose family had escaped the Bolshevik revolution, got a vision in Switzerland in 1938: He must go to Lapland and meet Sami people there. So he did, and in Suonikylä, Petsamo, he met an excellent storyteller, Kaisa Gauriloff (1884-1980). She spoke good Russian after learning it in the Petsamo monastery. Crottet made a collection of Gauriloff´s short stories. The book Kuun metsä (The Forest of the Moon) had good reviews and Gauriloff was compared with famous writers like the Grimm brothers and H. C. Andersen.
Gauriloff´s great granddaughter Katja Gauriloff (born 1972) from Rovaniemi, has now made an interesting documentary about the friendship between these two artists. The film is titled Kuun metsän Kaisa (The Forest of the Moon´s Kaisa) (2016). The world premiere was held at Toronto Hot Docs festival this summer, and it has also been screened at the Sodankylä film festival. From 28.10. 2016, the documentary can be seen in cinemas around Finland.
After WWII, Finland lost the Petsamo area to the Soviet Union. The inhabitants, including the Skolt Sami, had to leave. Today, there are about 200-300 Skolt Sami who still speak their language in Finland, about 20-30 in Russia and not a single one in Norway.