Karelia

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Coordinates: 63°N32°E / 63°N 32°E / 63; 32

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Flag of Karel.svg
Flag of Karelia.svg
The two flags of Karelia, the nationalist flag (left, with cross) and the official flag of the Russian Republic of Karelia (right, with bars)
Karjalan historiallisen maakunnan vaakuna.svg
Coat of Arms of Republic of Karelia.svg
The two coats of arms of Karelia, the Finnish one (left, with crown) and the Russian one (right, with bear)

Karelia (Karelian, Estonian, Finnish : Karjala, Finnish pronunciation:  [ˈkɑrjɑlɑ] ; Russian :Каре́лия, tr. Karélija,IPA:  [kɐˈrʲelʲɪjə] , historically КорелаKorjela; Swedish : Karelen), the land of the Karelian people, is an area in Northern Europe of historical significance for Russia, the USSR, Finland and Sweden. It is currently divided among the northwestern Russian Federation (the federal subjects of the Republic of Karelia and Leningrad Oblast) and Finland (the regions of South Karelia, North Karelia, and the eastern portion of modern-day Kymenlaakso).

Use of name

Parts of Karelia, as they are divided today Many Karelias.png
Parts of Karelia, as they are divided today
Kizhi Pogost, one of many fine examples of wooden architecture surviving on Kizhi island Kizhi church 1.jpg
Kizhi Pogost, one of many fine examples of wooden architecture surviving on Kizhi island

Various subdivisions may be called Karelia. Finnish Karelia was a historical province of Finland, and is now divided between Finland and Russia, often called just Karjala in Finnish. The eastern part of this chiefly Lutheran area was ceded to Russia after the Winter War of 1939–40.

The Republic of Karelia is a Russian federal subject, including East Karelia with a chiefly Russian Orthodox population.

Within present-day Finland, Karjala refers to the regions of South and North Karelia, although parts of historical Karelia also lie within the region of Kymenlaakso (east of the River Kymi), Northern Savonia (Kaavi, Rautavaara and Säyneinen) and Southern Savonia (Mäntyharju).

Geography

Karelia stretches from the White Sea coast to the Gulf of Finland. It contains the two largest lakes in Europe, Lake Ladoga and Lake Onega. The Karelian Isthmus is located between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga.

The border between Karelia and Ingria, the land of the closely related Ingrian people, had originally been the Neva River itself but later on it was moved northward into Karelian isthmus to follow the Sestra River (Russian : Сестра), today in the Saint Petersburg metropolitan area, but in 1812–1940 the Russo-Finnish border.

On the other side of Lake Ladoga, the River Svir is usually thought of as the traditional southern border of Karelian territory while Lake Onega and the White Sea mark the Eastern border. The River Kymi marks the historic western border of Karelian territory as it served as the boundary between the Häme Finns and the Karelians during the Middle Ages. [1] The River Kymi is also said to have formed a boundary between the eastern and western cultural spheres by the beginning of the Bronze Age at the latest. [2] In the North lived the nomadic Samis, but there were no natural border except for large wooded areas (taiga) and the tundra.

In historical texts Karelia is sometimes divided into East Karelia and West Karelia, which are also called Russian Karelia and Finnish Karelia respectively. The area to the north of Lake Ladoga which belonged to Finland before World War II is called Ladoga Karelia, and the parishes on the old pre-war border are sometimes called Border Karelia. White Sea Karelia (sometimes the Finnish or Karelian term "Viena Karelia", or in some English-language sources, "White Karelia", is used) is the northern part of East Karelia and Olonets Karelia is the southern part.

Tver Karelia denotes the villages in the Tver Oblast that are inhabited by Tver Karelians.

View of the old town of Kem. Photo by S.M.Prokudin-Gorsky, 1916 Kem prokudin.jpg
View of the old town of Kem. Photo by S.M.Prokudin-Gorsky, 1916
Viipuri Castle on the Gulf of Finland in the city of Vyborg. Viipuri was called the capital of Karelia when it was a part of Finland. Bashnia Vyborgskoi kreposti 06.jpg
Viipuri Castle on the Gulf of Finland in the city of Vyborg. Viipuri was called the capital of Karelia when it was a part of Finland.

Inhabited localities

History

Karelia was bitterly fought over by Sweden and the Novgorod Republic for a period starting in the 13th-century Swedish-Novgorodian Wars. The Treaty of Nöteborg (Finnish: Pähkinäsaaren rauha) in 1323 divided Karelia between the two. Viborg (Finnish: Viipuri) became the capital of the new Swedish province. In the Treaty of Stolbovo in 1617 large parts of Russian Karelia were ceded to Sweden. Conflicts between the new Swedish rulers and the indigenous population of these areas led to an exodus: thousands of Karelians, including the ancestors of the Tver Karelians, emigrated to Russia.

Pioneers in Karelia, 1900. By Pekka Halonen Pekka Halonen - Tienraivaajia Karjalassa.jpg
Pioneers in Karelia, 1900. By Pekka Halonen

The Treaty of Nystad (Finnish: Uudenkaupungin rauha) in 1721 between Imperial Russia and Sweden ceded most of Karelia to Russia. The Treaty of Åbo in 1743 between Sweden and Russia then ceded South Karelia to Russia. After Finland had been occupied by Russia in the Finnish War, parts of the ceded provinces (Old Finland) were incorporated into the Grand Duchy of Finland. In 1917, Finland became independent and the border was confirmed by the Treaty of Tartu in 1920.

Finnish partisans were involved in attempts to overthrow the Bolshevists in Russian Karelia (East Karelia) in 1918–20, such as in the failed Aunus expedition. They also wanted to incorporate the rest of Karelia into Finland and cooperated with the short-lived Republic of Uhtua. These mainly private expeditions ended after the peace treaty of Tartu. After the end of the Russian Civil War and the establishment of the Soviet Union in 1922, the Russian part of Karelia became the Karelian Autonomous republic of the Soviet Union (ASSR) in 1923.

In the beginning of the Second World War in 1939, the Soviet Union attacked Finland, thus starting the Winter War. The Moscow Peace Treaty of 1940 handed most of the Finnish Karelia to the Soviet Union. Over 400,000 people, virtually the whole population, had to be relocated within Finland. During the Continuation War between 1941–1944, the Finns invaded and occupied Karelia for three years. After the war, the Soviet expansion caused considerable bitterness in Finland, which lost its fourth biggest city, Viipuri, its industrial heartland along the river Vuoksi, the Saimaa canal that connected central Finland to the Gulf of Finland, access to the fishing waters of Lake Ladoga (Finnish: Laatokka), and made an eighth of her citizens refugees with no chance of return. From the areas ceded to the Soviet Union, the whole population was evacuated and resettled in other parts of Finland. The present inhabitants of the former Finnish Karelian parts of Russia such as the city of Vyborg/Viipuri and the Karelian Isthmus and their descendants are post-war immigrants.

Map showing the Republic of Karelia and the Finnish regions Karelia today.png
Map showing the Republic of Karelia and the Finnish regions

As a consequence of the peace treaty, the Karelian ASSR was incorporated with the Karelo-Finnish SSR 1941–1956, after which it became an ASSR again. Karelia was the only Soviet republic that was "demoted" from an SSR to an ASSR within the Russian SFSR. Unlike administrative republics, Soviet republics (in theory) had the constitutional right to secede. The possible fear of secession, as well as the Russian ethnic minority in Karelia, may have resulted in its "demotion." In 1991 the Republic of Karelia was created out of the ASSR.[ citation needed ]

The collapse of the Soviet Union brought an economic collapse. Since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the area has experienced massive urban decay. The hastily and poorly constructed buildings from the Soviet era, as well as older houses remaining from the Finnish era, are being abandoned. [3]

Politics

Seat of the Legislative Assembly of Karelia Petrozavodsk 06-2017 img71 Karelian Parliament building.jpg
Seat of the Legislative Assembly of Karelia

Karelia is politically divided between Finland and Russia. The Republic of Karelia is a federal subject of Russia, which was formed in 1991 from the Karelian ASSR. The Karelian Isthmus belongs to the Leningrad Oblast. The Finnish side consists of parts of the regions (maakunta) of South Karelia, North Karelia and Kymenlaakso.

There are some small but enthusiastic groups of Finns campaigning for closer ties between Finland and Karelia. The political expression of these irredentist hopes is called the Karelian question and is about Finland's re-acquisition of the ceded Finnish Karelia. These hopes live on, for instance, in the Karjalan Liitto and ProKarelia. However, ambitions for closer ties with East Karelia do not include territorial demands.

Demographics

The Russian side is mostly Russian-speaking. However, there are minorities speaking Finnish or Karelian language especially in the Republic of Karelia and in the Karelian villages of the Tver Region of Northwest Russia. The more distantly related Veps language is spoken on both sides of the River Svir. Finnish and Karelian have had varying recognitions in Russian Karelia throughout history. On the Finnish side, the area is Finnish-speaking. The Karelian dialects of Finnish language are spoken mainly in Finnish South Karelia and form the southeastern dialect group of Finnish. The dialects in Finnish North Karelia belong to the large group of Savonian dialects in Eastern and Central Finland. [4]

Ingrian Finnish dialects are spoken in Ingria, which is an area around St. Petersburg, between the Estonian border and Lake Ladoga. Ingrian Finns settled in the region in the 17th century after the Swedish conquest of the area. The settlers spoke Karelian and Savonian dialects of Finnish. The older inhabitants of the Ingria, the Ingrians, have their own language which is related to the Karelian language and the south-eastern dialects of Finnish. [5]

Karelians who evacuated from Finnish Karelia resettled all over Finland and today approximately one million people in Finland can trace their roots in the area ceded to the Soviet Union after World War II. In Finland, about 5,000 people speak Karelian.

Culture

Tourism

Karelia is a regular destination among Finnish and Russian territories in international tourism for its unique architectural, cultural and historical sites such as Kizhi and Valaam. [6]

The region is visited by tourists in both summer and winter when possible activities include riding in a sled behind a dog team and running from the banya to an ice hole and back. Summer hikers can visit the Kivach waterfall or the Demon's Chair plateau. [7]

See also

Related Research Articles

Karelian Isthmus Isthmus in North-Western Russia

The Karelian Isthmus is the approximately 45–110 km(30–70 mi) wide stretch of land, situated between the Gulf of Finland and Lake Ladoga in northwestern Russia, to the north of the River Neva. Its northwestern boundary is a line from the Bay of Vyborg to the westernmost point of Lake Ladoga, Pekonlahti. If the Karelian Isthmus is defined as the entire territory of present-day Saint Petersburg and Leningrad Oblast to the north of the Neva and also a tiny part of the Republic of Karelia, the isthmus' area covers about 15,000 km2(6,000 sq mi).

Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic

The Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic, also called Soviet Karelia or simply known as Karelia, was a republic of the Soviet Union. It existed from 1940 until it was made part of the Russian SFSR in 1956 as the Karelian Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic. The latter became the Republic of Karelia, a federal subject of Russia, on 13 November 1991.

Ingria

Historical Ingria is the geographical area located along the southern shore of the Gulf of Finland, bordered by Lake Ladoga on the Karelian Isthmus in the north and by the River Narva on the border with Estonia in the west.

Karelian language

Karelian is a Finnic language spoken mainly in the Russian Republic of Karelia. Linguistically, Karelian is closely related to the Finnish dialects spoken in eastern Finland, and some Finnish linguists have even classified Karelian as a dialect of Finnish though in the modern day it is widely considered a separate language. Karelian is not to be confused with the Southeastern dialects of Finnish, sometimes referred to as karjalaismurteet in Finland.

Moscow Peace Treaty Peace treaty signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940

The Moscow Peace Treaty was signed by Finland and the Soviet Union on 12 March 1940, and the ratifications were exchanged on 21 March. It marked the end of the 105-day Winter War, upon which Finland ceded border areas to the Soviet Union. The treaty was signed by Vyacheslav Molotov, Andrey Zhdanov and Aleksandr Vasilevsky for the Soviet Union, and Risto Ryti, Juho Kusti Paasikivi, Rudolf Walden and Väinö Voionmaa for Finland. The terms of the treaty were not reversed after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and the Karelian question remains disputed.

Karelians

Karelians are a Baltic Finnic ethnic group who are indigenous to the Northern European historical region of Karelia, which is today split between Finland and Russia. Karelians living in Russian Karelia are considered a distinct ethnic group closely related to Finnish Karelians, who are considered a subset of Finns. This distinction historically arose from Karelia having been fought over and eventually split between Sweden and Novgorod, resulting in Karelians being under different cultural spheres.

Karelia (historical province of Finland) Historical province of Finland

Karelia was a historical province of Finland which Finland partly ceded to the Soviet Union after the Winter War of 1939–40. The Finnish Karelians include the present-day inhabitants of North and South Karelia and the still-surviving evacuees from the ceded territories. Present-day Finnish Karelia has 315,000 inhabitants. The more than 400,000 evacuees from the ceded territories re-settled in various parts of Finland.

Sortavala Town in Republic of Karelia, Russia

Sortavala ; till 1918 Serdobol is a town in the Republic of Karelia, Russia, located at the northern tip of Lake Ladoga near the Finnish border, 246 kilometres (153 mi) west of Petrozavodsk, the capital city of the Republic of Karelia. Population: 19,235 (2010 Census); 21,131 (2002 Census); 22,579 (1989 Census).

Swedish Ingria

Swedish Ingria was a dominion of the Swedish Empire from 1583 to 1595 and then again from 1617 to 1721, when it was ceded to the Russian Empire in the Treaty of Nystad.

Karelian question Dispute in Finnish politics

The Karelian question or Karelian issue is a dispute in Finnish politics over whether to try to regain control over eastern Finnish Karelia and other territories ceded to the Soviet Union in the Winter War and the Continuation War. Despite the name "Karelian question", the term may refer also to the return of Petsamo, ceded parts of Salla and Kuusamo, and four islands in the Gulf of Finland. Sometimes the phrase "debate on the return of the ceded territories" is used. The Karelian question remains a matter of public debate rather than a political issue.

Greater Finland

Greater Finland is an irredentist and nationalist idea that emphasized territorial expansion of Finland. The most common concept of Greater Finland was defined by natural borders encompassing the territories inhabited by Finns and Karelians, ranging from the White Sea to Lake Onega and along the Svir River and Neva River—or, more modestly, the Sestra River—to the Gulf of Finland. Some proponents also included the Kola Peninsula, Finnmark, Torne Valley, Ingria, and Estonia.

History of Karelia history of the European region

The History of Karelia is about the cultural and geopolitical region of Karelia, in present-day eastern Finland and northwestern Russia in northern Europe. The Karelian people's presence can be dated back to the 7th millennium BC—6th millennium BC.

Vyborgsky District, Leningrad Oblast District in Leningrad Oblast, Russia

Vyborgsky District is an administrative and municipal district (raion), one of the seventeen in Leningrad Oblast, Russia. It is located in the northwest of the oblast on the Karelian Isthmus and borders with Priozersky District in the northeast, Vsevolozhsky District in the east, Kurortny District of the federal city of St. Petersburg in the south, Kymenlaakso and South Karelia regions of Finland in the northwest, and Lakhdenpokhsky District of the Republic of Karelia in the north. From the southwest, the district is limited by the Gulf of Finland. The area of the district is 7,475.472 square kilometers (2,886.296 sq mi). Its administrative center is the town of Vyborg. Population : 120,446 (2010 Census); 113,748 ; 108,571 (1989 Census).

Vyborg–Joensuu railroad

The old Karelian railroad between Viipuri (Viborg) and Joensuu is a 1,524 mm broad gauge line that used to link Joensuu, Sortavala, Hiitola, Antrea, and Viipuri (Vyborg). Originally built in 1892-1894 by Finnish State Railways in the Grand Duchy of Finland, in the 1940s most of the railway up to Niirala was ceded by Finland to the Soviet Union in the Moscow Peace Treaty, Moscow Armistice and Paris Peace Treaty as a result of the Winter War and Continuation War. Now the track is located in Leningrad Oblast, Republic of Karelia and North Karelia. The Sortavala–Joensuu link across the border was abolished after the Continuation War, but was since restored and is currently in use for cargo traffic.

Finnish invasion of the Karelian Isthmus

The Finnish invasion of the Karelian Isthmus refers to a military campaign carried out by Finland in 1941. It was part of what is commonly referred to as the Continuation War. Early in the war Finnish forces liberated the Karelian Isthmus. It had been ceded to the Soviet Union on 13 March 1940, in the Moscow Peace Treaty, which marked the end of the Winter War. Later, in the summer of 1944, the Soviet Union reconquered the southern part of the isthmus in the Vyborg–Petrozavodsk Offensive.

Viipuri Province

The Viipuri Province was a historical province of Finland from 1812 to 1945.

The Kymi Province was a province of Finland from 1945 to 1997.

The timeline of the Winter War is a chronology of events leading up to, culminating in, and resulting from the Winter War. The war began when the Soviet Union attacked Finland on 30 November 1939 and it ended 13 March 1940.

Finnish military administration in Eastern Karelia

The Finnish military administration in Eastern Karelia was an interim administrative system established in those areas of the Karelo-Finnish Soviet Socialist Republic (KFSSR) of the Soviet Union which were occupied by the Finnish army during the Continuation War. The military administration was set up on July 15, 1941 and it ended during the summer of 1944. The goal of the administration was to prepare the region for eventual annexation by Finland.

Tver Karelians are a people who inhabit regions of Tver, Saint Petersburg, and Moscow. Their dialect is remarkable in that it does not borrow from other Baltic-Finnish languages due to centuries of geographical isolation. Although the number of Tver Karelian people is about 14,633, very few name the dialect as their primary language.

References

  1. Uino, Pirjo (1997). Ancient Karelia. Helsinki: Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakausikirja 104. p. 118.
  2. Uino, Pirjo (1997). Ancient Karelia. Helsinki: Suomen muinaismuistoyhdistyksen aikakausikirja 104. p. 16.
  3. (in Finnish) ROMAHTANUT YHTEISKUNTA ("Collapsed Society") Archived 2007-10-15 at the Wayback Machine on Free Karelia website
  4. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 1999-10-04. Retrieved 2016-03-16.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. "Karelia Tourism Information". Karelia Tourism Portal.
  6. VSEVOLOD, PULYA. "Karelia will return in your dreams". Russia Beyond the Headlines.

Sources