Between Sweden & Russia

Nov 20, 2017

Swedes we are not, Russians we will not become, so let us be Finns

(Al Radisson, 1820)

For over 600 years, Finland was part of Sweden, and Turku was the capital city. During this time, Finland was an area of political fight between its neighbors, Sweden and Russia. In 1809, Russia won the war against Sweden and Finland was under Russian rule.


Swedish is the second official language in Finland. Swedish speakers have lived in Finland for over 800 years. Under Swedish rule, Finland was only groups of provinces but the Swedes contributed by building castles, to protect from Russian attacks. Also, social institutions were established as schools and churches, where the Swedish language was the official language. No wonder Finnish people nowadays, have mixed feelings about their long time ex-rulers, some of them consider Swedes as ignorant and other admire them. Maybe those feelings come also from the fact that Swedish people in Finland are rich.


      One of Helsinki symbols, Helsingin Tuomiokirkko, Helsinki Cathedral, was originally built from 1830-1852 as a tribute to the Grand Duke of Finland, Tsar Nicholas I of Russia


Under the Russian rule, the Russian Emperor, Alexander I, gave Finland extensive autonomy that created the Finnish state. Finland had their own Senate; whose members were Finns. In 1812, Helsinki became the capital city. The Russians changed the capital city because they thought Turku is too close to Sweden. In 1860 the Finnish currency, markka, was issued. In 1863, the Finnish language became the official administrative language and not Swedish.



Uspenski Orthodox Cathedral, was completed in 1868. It’s the largest orthodox church in Western Europe and it’s one of the symbols of the Russian impact on Finnish history



The Communist Revolution in Russia of October 1917 enabled the Finnish Senate to declare independence on 6th of December 1917.  


While Finland didn’t fight the Russian to get their independence, they had to fight them to maintain it. 


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Written by: Dana

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