Researcher of the Month: Mila Oiva

Mila Oiva
Photo: Mila Oiva


Kielipankki – The Language Bank of Finland is a service for researchers using language resources. Mila Oiva tells us about her research in Cultural History, including the making of the Yves Montand in the USSR interviews.

Who are you?

My name is Mila Oiva. I’m a Cultural Historian and I work as a Senior Researcher at CUDAN Open Lab in Tallinn University. CUDAN is an Horizon2020 funded cultural data analytics initiative that studies cultural phenomena by integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches from humanities, social sciences, network science, complexity science and beyond.

What is your research topic?

I study how knowledge and assumptions circulate and how the used communication tools affect how knowledge moves and formulates. For example, I have studied circulation of news globally in the 19th century newspapers ( and circulation of popular interpretations of history in the Russian language web discussions in the 2010s ( In addition, I have explored the construction and reception of a tour of French-Italian singer-actor Yves Montand to the Soviet Union in 1956-57 in the context of the Cold War. All these studies that I have done in collaboration with my colleagues demonstrate in an interesting way how our assumptions are built simultaneously as global phenomena and local interpretations of them.

How is your research related to Kielipankki?

I am about to publish the collection of oral history interviews that we made for our book Yves Montand in the USSR. Cultural Diplomacy and Mixed Messages (Palgrave Macmillan 2021) at the Language Bank of Finland for research and teaching purposes. It is still relatively seldom that historians share their data, but I think that the dataset can be useful also for other scholars and students interested in the memories of Soviet popular culture. Furthermore this year it is Montand’s 100th anniversary and publishing memories concerning his Soviet tour is a good way to celebrate it!

Publications related to Kielipankki

Oiva, Mila, Hannu Salmi, and Bruce Johnson. Yves Montand in the USSR: Cultural Diplomacy and Mixed Messages. Palgrave Macmillan, 2021.

Fridlund, Mats, Mila Oiva, and Petri Paju, eds. Digital Readings of History. History Research in the Digital Era. Helsinki: Helsinki University Press, 2020.

Oiva, Mila, Asko Nivala, Hannu Salmi, Otto Latva, Marja Jalava, Jana Keck, Laura Martínez Domínguez, and James Parker. “Spreading News in 1904. The Media Coverage of Nikolay Bobrikov’s Shooting.” Media History 25, no. 3 (August 11, 2019): 1–17.




The FIN-CLARIN consortium consists of a group of Finnish universities along with CSC – IT Center for Science and the Institute for the Languages of Finland (Kotus). FIN-CLARIN helps the researchers in Finland to use, to refine, to preserve and to share their language resources. The Language Bank of Finland is the collection of services that provides the language materials and tools for the research community.

All previously published Language Bank researcher interviews are stored in the Researcher of the Month archive. This article is also published on the website of the Faculty of Humanities of the University of Helsinki.