Photo: Salla Merikukka

STORY OF YURI

ROOTS IN HELSINKI AND ST. PETERSBURG

I have lived my whole life, with a few short exceptions, in Helsinki. My family moved from St. Petersburg to Finland in the 1990s, before I was born. Since childhood, I’ve mostly lived in Western districts of Helsinki, particularly Pitäjänmäki and Taka-Töölö, where I also went to school.

When I was a child, my life at home was Russian-speaking: my parents read Russian fairy tales to me, we ate blini and kasha, and travelled to St. Petersburg once in a while to visit my grandma and the museums of the Russian cultural capital. The world outside my home, on the other hand, was Finnish-speaking: there, I went to school and hobbies, learned Finnish pop songs on the scouts’ campfires and spent summers at my friends’ cabins and cottages.

My experiences as a second-generation immigrant encouraged me to take part in public life. As I have been raised in two cultures in a multicultural Helsinki, I have always wanted to build bridges between cultures and speak up for the rights of minorities. Even though Helsinki is more diverse and international as ever before, too many still face discrimination based on  ethnicity, race or background. This needs to change.

FROM A SCOUT TO A UN YOUTH DELEGATE

The scouts, where I have been active from the local to the international level, have had an important impact on my values, and the way I see the world. As a teenager, I spent many weekends in Nuuksio National Park and the cabin of our scouts group in Veikkola. These were the first times I realised how important it is to protect the nature and the environment. In the scouts, we take the initiative and learn by doing – during my years as a scout, I learned to be a group and a camp leader, professional communications and marketing skills, and how to lead large projects. In the municipal elections, I also represent the Finnish Scouts programme.

After high school, I started my studies of World Politics at the University of Helsinki. My main interest are the courses of Peace and Conflict Studies, as they deal with the most difficult and severe challenges of humankind – wars and violence. Also, I have studied Development Studies and Russian Studies. On my Erasmus exchange in Strasbourg, France, I completed a Certificate of European Studies programme.

Parallel to my studies, I have worked as a fundraiser for UNICEF, as a deck hand on ferries in the Helsinki archipelago, as a Junior Consultant in a think tank, in a development cooperation project in Kenya, in the Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, South Africa, and lastly, as journalist and a TV news presenter of the Russian-language Yle news in Finland. Currently I represent the young people of Finland as the UN Youth Delegate – in this role, I’ve had the opportunity to speak about youth social marginalization at the UN General Assembly.

Photo: Jarna Pahlberg

SPEAKING FOR EQUALITY AND YOUTH

I chose the Greens as my political party, because like many other young people, I want to our planet to stay livable for the next generations. I want to speak up for Human Rights, equality, feminism and antiracism. In my opinion, it is important to protect minorities in politics, and I want Finland to develop its welfare state. Social marginalization and the wellbeing of youth has to be a higher priority for Helsinki – not a single young person should be left behind.

CV

WORK EXPERIENCE

  • Research and Development Intern, Crisis Management Centre Finland 2/2021-
  • Journalist, TV News Presenter, Yle Novosti 5-12/2020
  • Intern, Embassy of Finland in Pretoria, South Africa 9-12/2019
  • Junior Consultant, Demos Helsinki 5-9/2019
  • Deck Hand, JT-Line Oy 5-9/2017, 5-9/2018
  • Fundraiser, UNICEF Finland 2/2015-2/2017
  • Camp leader, Helsinki District Scouts 6-7/2014
EDUCATION
  • Bachelor of Social Science in Political Science, specialisation in World Politics. University of Helsinki 2015-
  • Certificate of European Studies, Sciences Po Strasbourg, France 2017
  • Helsingin normaalilyseo, high school graduate 2012-2015

OTHER

  • UN Youth Delegate of Finland 2020-2021
  • Editor-in-Chief, Policy-lehti 2018
  • Communications and Marketing Coordinator, Hiipivä Haamu 2018
  • Host, Roihu 2016
 

PUBLICATIONS

Yle 6.2.2021: “Vankilassa Navalnyista voi tulla Venäjän Mandela” – Suomen nuoret venäjänkieliset kyllästyivät Putinin komentoon

Helsingin Sanomat 14.11.2020: Nuoret hakevat jengeistä tukea ja arvostusta

Yle 6.11.2020: Nuoret pitävät EU:sta, mutta eivät koe voivansa vaikuttaa siihen – nuorisojärjestöt esittelivät eurooppaministerille neljä tapaa korjata tilanne

Allianssi 21.9.2020: Suomessa on rauha vasta sitten kun rasismi, seksismi, nationalismi ja syrjintä ovat poissa

Yle 13.8.2020: Valkovenäläiset protestoivat myös Suomessa – Helsingin ovensuukyselyn tulokset eroavat Valko-Venäjän virallisista luvuista

Yle Novosti 6.7.2020: Служу своей стране – русскоязычные солдаты рассказали о самых лучших и о самых тяжелых моментах в финской армии

Yle Novosti 1.7.2020: “Русские не стесняются смеяться над кем угодно” – трое финских студентов раскрывают свои впечатления о жизни в России

Allianssi 12.6.2020: Nuoret, jotka muuttavat maailmaa: Yuri Birjulin

Tutkain 22.5.2020: Entä jos suhtautuisimme maailman muihinkin hätätiloihin koronaviruksen tavoin? 

Partio-lehti 22.5.2020: Partio herätti halun pelastaa maailman

Policy 12.12.2019: Maailma pienoiskoossa: Miten maailman epätasa-arvoisin maa epäonnistui kääntämään suuntaansa

Pääkaupunkiseudun partiolaiset 12/2018: Juonipaljastuksia ja hirviöitä – Hiipivä Haamu kokosi ennätysmäärän osallistujia

Policy 30.3.2018: Venäjän ainoa poliitikko