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Esa Sundbäck 4.4.2014
Basic information
• population 5.2 million
• the third least densely populated
country in Europe (after Iceland and
• territory: the fifth biggest country in
Europe (after Germany, France, Spain
and Sweden)
• bilingual country: Finnish 93%,
Swedish 6%
What are the Finns in mental
1) Nation of silence -" if there is
nothing important to be said, be quit" consequently, the Finns are NOT
talkative (don’t blame yourself!)
2) Finns are restricted - not easy
(and fast) to became a deep friend;
but if it happens, the Finn is a really
faithful and loyal friend let say
throughout the life (?)
3) Finns are obedient to rules and laws
– for the Finns things are either black
or white, but not grey
Origin of the Finns
• in the prehistory, population from
different directions,
then mixtured:
origin partly from the east (FinnoUgric people), partly from Western
• language from the east = Finnish
language belongs to the Finno-Ugric
languages (together with Estonian,
Hungarian in Europe - Mari, Udmurt
and Komi in Russia
Periods of Finnish History
• 1) Finland under Swedish reign 1155-
• 2) Finland under Russian reign 1809-
• 3) Independency 1917-
Finland under Swedish reign 11551809
• 10th-12th centuries - Finland a
battlefield between Sweden (catholic
church) and Novgorod (forthcoming
Russia; orthodox church) в–є Swedish
influences to the western part,
Russian influences to the eastern
part of the country (diversity)
Diversity of the Finnish Culture
• Swedish dominance ► Catholic
religion = Western Finland as a part
of medieval Europe – in a cultural
sense, Finland became a part of
Europe (not Russia)
• Reformation in a Lutheran form to
Sweden в–є consequently,
contemporary Finn's respect of law,
rules and the obedience of the state
• consequence of Swedish rule over
Finland =
Swedish became the language of the
ruling upper class - Finnish that of
ordinary people
Finland under Russian reign 18091917: a Grand Duchy of Finland
• separate entity as a part of Imperial
Russia =
1) autonomious administration
2) Swedish law as contrary to
Russian law in Russia
3) Lutheran religion as contrary to
Orthodox religion in Russia
• awakening of Finnish nationalism in
the 19th century = improvement of
the Finnish language's position in
terms of Swedish language idea of
Finnish culture and selfconsciousness characterizing Finnish
speaking population
• Finnish nationalism was not
addressed against Russia but
the ruling Swedish-speaking
elite in Finland (exception in
European scale: the Finns did
not rebel against Russia) =
• National Myth = Kalevala (Harry
National composer = Jean
Independent Finland 1917-
• February and October Revolutions in
Russia 1917 в–є detachment out of
Russia as an independent country in
the end of 1917
• Civil War in the Spring 1918:
as a background, social and political
unequality between the wealthy
minority and the poor majority
• 1920s and 1930s:
idea of a bilingual country as equal
rights for both Finnish and Swedish
throughout the country (not based on
territorial distinction between
Swedish or Finnish-speaking areas)
why? - Finland aimed at cooperation
with Sweden against the threat of
Communist Soviet Union
• Second World War:
Winter War 1939-1940: Soviet
invasion on Finland
"Continuation War" (Finnish concept)
against Soviet Union 1941-1944 as
ally of Nazi Germany
Finland at the time of the Cold War
1945-1991: “Finlandization” and
Kekkonen as President
• Finland was under Soviet pressure
and political influence:
"Finlandisierung" or “Finlandization”
(= a small country under the great
power's influence, not really
• in spite of Soviet dominance, Finland
managed to stay as western
democracy and avoided to be
transformed to a Communist country
as contrary to other Eastern
European countries
Kekkonen as President 1956-1981
(you read correctly, 25 years!)
• concentration of power to his hands however, not illegal because Finnish
Constitution gave lot of power to the
• used his personal connections to
Soviet leaders as a weapon against
domestic political opponents in
• censorship in Finland: did not allow
to publish negative information on
Soviet Union
• after Kekkonen's era, the power of
Finnish President was diminished
• for further information:
Jason Lavery: The History of Finland
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