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  HIDDEN HISTORY
 
Finland & Lithuania
 

 
From the journal of Ragnar öller,
Consul General of Lithuania in Finland between WWI & WWII

   
  In the 16th to 18th centuries, Finns and Lithuanians
usually met at war, either as friends or enemies. In the 1930s co-operation between Finland and Lithuania reached its apogee. However, this all came to an abrupt end with the Soviet occupation of Lithuania and the fall of the Iron Curtain.
   
  The Lithuanian Standard-bearer in Finland is not your regular read. It is based on the journal of Ragnar Öller, the Consul General of Lithuania in Finland, and is a collection of reflections on common trends in Lithuanian-Finnish history with detailed notes of bilateral events taking place in the 1930s and 1940s. What makes the book special is its tone that offers the reader a glimpse of the atmosphere of the interim period, with its undertones of Romantic nationalism and pride for recently acquired statehood. Here, we offer you the gist of the book.
The Finnish-Lithuanian connection dates back to the early and middle ages.
According to Öller, this is evident from various common words, which indicate cultural contact between the two peoples. Since the two languages have different phonetic systems, many such words have been transformed from kaklas to kaula, pirtis to pirtti, and turgus to Turku, to mention but a few.
The first contact in the Middle Ages came in the form of wars in Karelia over the Käkisalmi Castle, which eventually came under Swedish and Finnish influence. From the 16th century onwards, both Finns and Lithuanians lived in the shadow of their bigger neighbours. In 1569 Lithuania signed the Lublin Treaty with Poland, while Finland was already a part of the Kingdom of Sweden. So, in the 16th to 18th centuries, Finns and Lithuanians usually met at war, either as friends or enemies.
Ironically, a period of common Finnish-Lithuanian history starts with the annexation of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania by Russia, which then also received Finland from Sweden after the 1809 War. Quite notably, the Finns obtained many privileges from the Czar. They were introduced to the ?family of nations? and granted wide autonomy. They were also pardoned from service in the Russian army. Instead, three Finnish volunteer divisions were formed, so naturally in the beginning the Finns viewed Russia favourably and were loyal to the Czar.
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