The export of construction to Russia is a topic that evokes various images and questions. How did Finnish companies fare in competition and collaboration with Russians? What challenges and opportunities did construction projects offer? How did construction engineers adapt to different cultures and conditions? And what did construction export mean for their personal lives?
This book answers these questions and many more by telling the life story of construction engineer Ensio Koliseva. He was one of the Finns involved in building in Russia and Croatia between the 1970s and 2000s, when these countries were undergoing significant changes and development. He was tasked with constructing an entire military city on the "crazy man's field" in Alakurtti, near the Finnish border. It was the pinnacle of his career but also his greatest challenge.
The book is based on Ensio Koliseva's own notes, interviews, and photographs collected over the years. They paint a picture of a man passionate about construction, unafraid of challenges, and eager to face them with enthusiasm and creativity. The book is filled with captivating and touching stories that encompass the full spectrum of construction export: successes and failures, joy and sorrow, friendship and hostility.
The book is not only a history of construction export but also a personal history. It tells how Ensio Koliseva grew from a citizen of Hämeenlinna's Ojoiset to a global citizen familiar with multiple cultures and practices, even though he did not speak many languages. It also describes how he and his family adapted to different countries and lifestyles and how he eventually returned to retirement in Hämeenlinna, writing his memoirs. It reveals how he learned to appreciate his homeland and its democracy while finding friends and beauty in other countries, especially Croatia.
In many ways, the book is a unique and intriguing work that sheds light on construction export to Russia and Croatia, as well as the life of a construction engineer from a new and personal perspective. It is both informative and entertaining, educational and experiential. It is a book worth reading for a better understanding of the history of the Finnish construction industry, the societal development of Russia and Croatia, or simply to enjoy a good story. Central to the book is determined determination and stubbornness, traits of Ensio Koliseva that helped him overcome difficulties related to construction export, such as different bureaucracies, bribery, and various standard regulations. However, difficulties were made to be overcome with Finnish stubbornness."