Max Engman: Pitkät jäähyväiset [The long farewell]

18 March 2010 | Mini reviews, Reviews

Pitkät jäähyväiset. Suomi Ruotsin ja Venäjän välissä vuoden 1809 jälkeen
[The long farewell. Finland between Sweden and Russia after 1809]
Helsinki: WSOY, 2009. 239 p.
ISBN 978-951-0-34880-2
€ 36, hardback

In the aftermath of the Finnish War fought between Russia and Sweden in 1809, Finland was passed from Sweden to Russia. Finland’s political origins can be traced back to the autonomous status of a Grand Duchy in the Russian Empire, granted at that time. Historian Max Engman, a professor at Åbo Akademi, examines this process of separation. Along with the immediate consequences of the war and government reforms, he investigates Finland’s ideological distancing from Sweden and its period of ‘russification’. Engman provides a favourable view of the relations between the Russian Empire and Finland in the 19th century: the Russians were quite surprised by the Finns’ organisational skills as their autonomy increased. Finns’ remarkable loyalty towards their new motherland is explained as both a genuine feeling and a matter of political expediency. Finland quickly began to drift away from Sweden, and Finland’s previous mother country began to seem provincial when compared to St Petersburg. Max Engman has published several studies on the breakup of empires and on Finnish identity, particularly in relation to Russia.

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