Societal activity

The wellbeing of Viena Karelia and its people, his own people, were of great importance for Ortjo Stepanov since early adulthood. As a young man, he had to go to war and he served as a head of an intelligence troop. His group consisted of other boys from his home village. Two of them fell during the first scout trip - for their land. When later working in social assignments in the Kalevala district, he saw what kind of sacrifices his landsmen made for the common good of the Soviet Union and how the woods of Karelia were exploited, but his homeland was left only on the level of primary production and as a storage of raw material. So he began his fight for the rights of Viena Karelian people.
When trying to find out the truth about the destiny of one of his schoolmates, who had been executed as a traitor, Ortjo got himself expelled from his position. He did not comply, and even acquired rehabilitation to his landsman. By these difficulties with the officials started his self sacrificing work for his homeland. Always when he met a greater defect, he took the case to the highest official level – and carried the wrath of lower officials.
When the schools teaching in vernacular were closed in the end of 1959s, Ortjo Stepanov wrote a protest to the highest chairman of the Soviet Union at the time, Kliment Voroshylov. As a consequence, the officials in Karelia accused him for nationalism and interrogations by the security service followed.
The officials could not quiet Ortjo. During the years he demanded attention to the defects of which the Karelians were suffering in numerous letters addressed among others to Nikita Chruchev, Leonid Brezhnev, Yuri Andropov, Mikhail Gorbachev and Boris Yeltsin. In 1943 Ortjo Stepanov had joined the Communist Party of the Soviet Union. When in august 1991 Mikhail Gorbachev was replaced from the lead and the faction led by Gennadi Yanayev took over, Ortjo Stepanov wrote his resignation from the Party. In the letter he states e.g. following: "Therefore I ask to be resigned from the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (membership number 13924280). I consider it impossible to remain with the Party. It seems that the officials of the Party and State are by the support of the central committee executing a coup d'état in Pinochet style, and are declaring a state of emergency in a peaceful country. [...] I have, during all my life, struggled for righteous stand for people and individuals. After being a member of the Party for almost 50 years, I have not received support from it for my efforts."
The writer of Ortjo Stepanov's biography, researcher Yuri Dyuzev writes following about his societal activity: "In the 1990s Ortjo Stepanov showed in his outspoken newspaper writings an example of how it is possible to write about fresh events and things in a sharp, vivid and interesting way. His writings dealt with formerly forbidden topics of the history of our society and contemporary life. By his speeches and writings he had a considerable impact on the resurgence of the historical memory of the Karelians."