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The meeting of Tilsit Napoleon met with Alexander I in the small town of Tilsit, near present-day Kaliningrad They signed a peace treaty on 7 July, 1807.

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Presentation on theme: "The meeting of Tilsit Napoleon met with Alexander I in the small town of Tilsit, near present-day Kaliningrad They signed a peace treaty on 7 July, 1807."— Presentation transcript:

1 The meeting of Tilsit Napoleon met with Alexander I in the small town of Tilsit, near present-day Kaliningrad They signed a peace treaty on 7 July, 1807 Amongst other things, the treaty obliged the Czar to try and persuade the Swedish king to join the blockade The Swedish king refused, and at the end of 1807, Alexander I reluctantly decided upon a military operation to resolve matters The operation would obviously take place in Finland The Czar did not have the intention to occupy or take Finland

2 pvm Rapid military conquest, The Czar turned to Sprengporten for military council and planning of the campaign February 1808: the Russians attacked along the coast and towards Turku The battle of Oravais/Oravainen, September 1808 Turku fell as early as March saw confrontations on the western coast and in the archipelago as the Swedish forces retreated In 1809, however, the remnants of the Swedish army withdrew to Sweden. They left the entire southern Finland occupied by Russian troops The shock of defeat precipitated a military revolt that led to the abdication of the king

3 pvm LAITOS/YKSIKKÖ HALUTESSA Divided reactions in Finland Divisions between the Turku elite, the nobility, the population Some of the nobility remained faithful to Sweden, especially amongst soldiers The peasantry, especially in regions like Ostrobothnia or Savo fiercely resisted the Russian troops Memories of previous occupations: resistance to the Russian troops was especially ferocious in Ostrobothnia, where these memories were especially painful Distrust of a town or country gentry accused of corruption and of selling out to the Russians for the satisfaction of petty interests Hedgehog reaction against external threats

4 pvm Amongst the local elite, compliance and pessimism Doomsday pessimism in Finland Tensions had remained high after the fiasco. The local nobility, intellectual circles, clergy were divided upon what to do in front of the Russian occupation The nobility and the clergy, however, mostly chose to comply with the Russians Possibility for a region they felt had been abandoned by Stockholm Determination to seize the opportunity offered by Alexander I Emphasis of a local, distinct identity above a general, Swedish identity Jakob Tengström, bishop of the see of Turku Compliance with the Russian authorities The question of a Swedish elite and its loyalty Estate loyalty beyond national or ethnic loyalties Loyalty switch from the King to a seemingly benevolent emperor

5 pvm LAITOS/YKSIKKÖ HALUTESSA A deputation to the czar Alexander I of Russia Strategic interests and the defence of Saint- Petersburg, biding time with Napoleon Liberal-minded, willing to conciliate strategic interests with a dose of experimentation Desire to calm down the situation in Finland for a smooth transition The Russian commander was ordered to organize the election of a deputation to the Czar: an unexpected move, that the Finnish elite accepted Headed by Carl Erik Mannerheim, this deputation met with Alexander in the end of 1808 The future of Finland inside the Russian empire was still unknown, but the Czar announced his intention to call the Estates The Estates represented the various orders of the local society: nobility, clergymen, peasantry, burgers… Alexander showed his acceptance of the rules and regulations inherited from the Swedish time: system of the estates, consultation of said estates, religious liberties, etc…

6 pvm LAITOS/YKSIKKÖ HALUTESSA Porvoo, March 1809 Alexander confirmed the rules, laws, and religious liberties of the Swedish time In a declaration, he modelled the borders of a Grand-Duchy of Finland, that he elevated to the rank of nations What did the say? Why did he do that? – Securing the Finns loyalty, cutting the links with Sweden: a declaration much in line with others made to other conquered parts of the empire – Along with his advisor Speransky, a desire to experiment with new ways of organizing the relations between centre and periphery, ruler and subject: Finland a timely exemplar – The Estates could help Alexander to manage Finland on the cheap, without having to commit troops to this sideshow of the European theatre 1810: My intention has been to give the people of that country a political existence, so that they could not consider themselves conquered by Russia, but joined to it by their own self-evident interests

7 pvm LAITOS/YKSIKKÖ HALUTESSA Debates over Porvoo The interpretations of Alexanders intentions in Porvoo Questions: what did Alexander mean? Was it a treaty, thus creating a political Finland entitled to conclude treaties and gifted with rights and privileges binding for Russia? Was it a simple administrative act organizing temporarily a land conquered by force and integrated into an empire? The first would have bound Alexander; the second could be reversed on a whim The debate resurfaced at the end of the 19th century, when it was important to affirm both the existence of a nation and its autonomous status inside the Russian empire The Finnish constitutionalists claimed that Alexander had confirmed a Finnish distinct constitution, creating a constitutional monarchy with the Czar at its head, a distinct state that then was placed in a real union with Russia. The underlying notion was that Finland had specific rights. A central building-block of Finnish collective national identity: the belief that Finland was a constitutional state united to an empire by virtue of a solemn oath binding both the empire and the conquered The Russian version is that Finland is the conquered part of an empire, granted certain conditional rights but subject to the will of its sovereign

8 pvm LAITOS/YKSIKKÖ HALUTESSA Important consequences of The emergence of an administrative and legal entity, inside borders assembling east and west, Old Finland, Swedish Finland, Lapland, eastern Finland From a backward province to the buffer zone of the capital of one of Europes great powers… In economic, political, cultural terms, this is significant… The strengthening of the specific, symbolic identity of the Finns, and its transformation into a national identity The nation as a phenomenon characteristic of 19 th century Europe: insistance on national identity, construction of national myths, etc. The nation as the imagined community (Benedict Andersson) Nationalism as a liberating, revolutionary ideology:emancipatory nationalism, the idea of a life-cycle of human communities, from unorganized tribes to nation-states…

9 Extremely significant: the uniting of Old and New Finland The division of Pähkinäsaari and of Old and Swedish Finland was abolished by the Czar, who linked eastern, northern and western Finland in one entity for the first time: Geographically, administratively, the birth of modern 'Finland'

10 The capital of Finland moved from Turku to Helsinki in 1810 After the city of Turku was all but destroyed by fire in 1827, the university was transferred to Helsinki Helsinki was rebuilt as a symbol of imperial rule in Finland The Senate square Promoting the Finnish language against Swedish 1872: Kuopios lyceum, where the 11-years old Juhani Aho enlisted, had for the first year the right to teach in Finnish Breaking the link with Stockholm

11 Creating an administrative entity In parallel to Porvoo, the czar created an administrative structure for Finland The Porvoo declaration as a short-term event, the emergence of a distinct culture and an administrative organization as the two long-term developments In the first years, the Finns secured the management of Finnish Affairs directly with the czar Loyalty and lobbying An administrative structure was put together between 1809 and the 1840s The General-governor as a representative of the czar in Helsinki The committee for Finnish Affairs and the state-secretary for Finnish Affairs in Saint- Petersburg: regular and direct access to the ruler. The state-secretary first a Russian, then a Finn. A governing Council (that became the Senate in 1816) to administrate the mundane: law, economy, etc in Helsinki In 1826, the Committee for Finnish Affairs was abolished, and the Senates responsibilities grew A first generation of conservative administrators emerged, loyal, specialized in the management of this Finland-Russia system. The powers of the Senate extended with time to new domains of competence: taxes, tolls, a local currency (the Finnish Mark) managed by a Bank of Finland…

12 CREATING A NATION Miroslav Hroch, three stages Individual enlighteners and philanthropists for whom the study of local languages and cultures is based on charity or scholarly interest, or is a pastime. Elites, often foreign- speaking, who may also consider the local folks as en route towards assimilation, and their customs and languages as in need to be preserved for memory The emergence of dedicated activists who embrace and enthusiastically propagate the idea of the existence of a common nation. Those can be elite members or local folks. The spreading of this towards the masses, and the spawning of a genuine national movement amongst the population at large. A change from estate solidarity to national, ethnic, linguistic, cultural solidarities. In this change, the first generation of enlighteners can find itself at odds with the new movement they contributed to create (Swedish-speakers, liberals in Finland)

13 The idea of a nation 18th century patriotism: awareness and love of ones own region inside the Swedish ensemble, will to improve local living conditions. Part ethnology, part education, part social work… From that, one passed in the intellectual discussions of 19 th century Finland to the construction of a national identity, linked to the idea of a Finnish nation distinct both from Sweden and from Russia, with a distinct language and cultural heritage Culturally: continuing the discovery of the culture (Rescuing, refurbishing, and, in some instances, inventing the past, Eric Hobsbawm) Politically: applying to Finland the Hegelian theories on the state and its evolutions: Israel Hwasser, Adolf Ivar Arwidsson, Johan Wilhelm Snellman and the theory of the state The role of historians (Arwidsson), administrators, thinkers (Snellman)… The question of language: one nation, one language?

14 Runeberg, Lönnrot, and the Kalevala The invention of tradition: a rediscovered, and if need be invented culture as a binding factor of a national community Common stories, common myths, a common history, common references… Johan Ludvig Runeberg, Zakary Topelius: the creation of a national body of literature and tales Elias Lönnrot: ethnological research, modelling traditional tales into a national epos, the Kalevala Collecting the tales in the s A national epos The Society for Finnish Literature A Swedish-speaking elite built the Finnish national epos The ambiguity of language and national politics. Examples: J V Snellman, Juhani Aho… An elite that gazed to the West, a population rather indifferent

15 National cultural icons, : The Attack, Edvard Istos painting represents the Finnish maiden defending the laws of Finland from the Russian eagle The creation of a Finnish narrative: culture, place, nature, politics, society, language… This cultural narrative used also to underline a political grievance Karelia as a contested land, as the cradle of the Finnish culture… Landscapes, psychological traits, symbols… The question of the language

16 Finland as a part of Russia Changes at the head of the country: Alexander I ( ), Nicholas II ( ), Alexander II ( ), Alexander III ( ), Nicholas II ( ) Finland affected by that because Finnish affairs are managed directly with the czar Finland lives along the tempo of these changes: different personalities, the importance of advisors, lobbying… Importance of loyalty as a mindset for most Finnish administrators Russian markets for a developing industrial base: Mostly paper, wood goes west Russia as a cultural, human, political reality Migrants to Russia A rich group of in-betweeners who lived between Saint-Petersburg, Helsinki, Stockholm… Yet most elite turn to the west for cultural, political inspiration. Russia a reality, Russia an other

17 Russian weakness: the Crimean war, The Crimean war ( ) 1853: war between Turkey and Russia degenerated into war between a French-British led coalition and Russia The war was fought mainly on the Crimean peninsula Russia is defeated in Heavy casualties, and the war reveals the bad preparation of the Russian army: more than deaths for the Russian army, lack of basic sanitary preparation, etc…

18 The Crimean war in Finland Militarily A French-British expeditionary fleet in the Baltic at the end of the war In the Ålands: Oolannin sota and the battle of Bomarsund 1854: Destructions on Finlands western coast and erratic landings only serve to rise the populations anger In Kokkola, the Halkokari scrap and the repelling of a British landing party by the population Politically and economically The war as the first test of Finnish loyalties: landings, disruption in naval trade, etc… The importance of sea trade for Finland: an example: the Kustavi sea farers and shipbuilders: the Kilpi familys Weljekset Volter Kilpis Alastalon salissa

19 A test of Finnish loyalties The war is the first test of Finnish loyalties to Russia The growing idea of a distinct cultural entity The specific interests of this entity: trade with Britain and the west… Finnish neutrality? The Finnish liberal press brings up the matter in 1863 (with the Polish uprising), then in 1885 (prospect of war between Russia and Britain): the fear of being once again dragged into a great powers conflict In the 1860s arrived also a new generation of administrators and politicians, distinct from the Porvoo generation, more liberal, more attached to what they see as the letter of the autonomy status, and with fennoman ideas The oath of Porvoo taken as face-value, as a convention binding the Czar. The importance of law in Finnish nationalism. From administering the land in the emperor's name to giving a more concrete meaning to the promise of Porvoo After 1855, the Finnish political spectrum organized around the question of relations with Russia and the cultural, national awakening. A strong loyal tinge remained Russian defiance, however, rose in front of certain ideas expressed in Finland and the perceived passivity of the Finnish elite in support to Russia in the war.


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