POLKVA22 Friend or Foe? An Image of a Neighbour in Russian Historiography - the Case of Finland 2 ECTS
Period I Period II Period II Period IV
Language of instruction
Type or level of studies
Intermediate studies
Course unit descriptions in the curriculum
Degree Programme in Politics
International Relations
Faculty of Management

General description

The series of lectures is dealing with the initial construction and further transformation of the image of Finland in the Russian professional history writing, as well as in social and political journalism, from the beginning of the 19th century up to the present.

The course addresses the role of history-based narratives and discourses in the ideology and political practices in Imperial Russia, looks at research schools and master narratives, identifies and discusses the use of history for political purposes. Finally, several “long lines” in the process of molding of the image of Finland will be recognized and discussed, applying the break and continuity paradigm to interpret the instrumental role and meanings of the Other in Russian scholarly texts and public mindset.

The covered topics are as follows:

  • Historiography on Finland up to 1917.
  • Historiography on Finland during the Soviet Period.
  • Winds of Changes: the years of Perestroika, Post-Perestroika and after.
  • Case I: The Winter War as a touchstone for the Russian historians.

Case II: Karelian History as a political argument: space for alarmism and the image of menace?

Enrolment for University Studies

Email registration to the teacher is essential by 14.02.2019.


Ilya Solomeshch, Petrozavodsk State University, Teacher


28-Feb-2019 – 1-Mar-2019
Lectures 5 hours
Thu 28-Feb-2019 at 12-14.30, Pinni A3111
Fri 1-Mar-2019 at 12-14.30, Pinni A3111


Numeric 1-5.

Evaluation criteria

Accomplishment: An essay (1200 – 1500 words in English or in Finnish).

Study materials

Reading (in English and/or in Finnish):

Korhonen, Keijo: Autonomous Finland in the political thought of nineteenth century Russia. Turku, 1967. 99 pp.

Iljuha, Olga; Aleksei Tsamutali and Timo Vihavainen (eds.). Monikasvoinen Suomi: Venäläisten mielikuvia Suomesta ja suomalaisista. Helsinki, 2008 [Articles by: Ilya Solomeshch (Gagarinin Suomesta Ordinin Suomeen : tie "Suomen kysymykseen" ) Marina Vituhnovsaya (Kapinoiva rajamaa vai malliyhteiskunta?: 1800-luvun loppupuoliskon ja 1900-luvun alun Suomi Venäjän konservatiivien ja liberaalien silmin)]

Dubrovskaja, Elena & Ilja Solomeshch: RUSSIA AND FINLAND DURING THE WORLD WAR I IN RUSSIAN HISTORIOGRAPHY. In: Norden och krigen i Finland och Baltikum åren 1918-19 / Statsrådets kanslis publikationsserie. Helsingfors, 2004, ss.185-193


Guzairov, Timur: “Finnish attitudes toward Russians”: national narrative, imperial politics and the mechanism of governance of the rebellious borderland (1907–1910). In: Acta Slavica Estonica VI. Studia Russica Helsingiensia et Tartuensia XIV. Russian National Myth in Transition. Tartu, 2014, pp. 94-106


Further information

Compulsory preceding studies: POLPOP01 Introduction to International Relations, or equivalent studies at sending institution (exchange students).

N.B. This course accounts for 2 ECTS for the study unit POLKVA22. The remaining 3 ECTS of the study unit POLKVA22 can be taken by means of enrolling for an electronic exam (and answering to the question on the book by Gegout or alternatively Whitman).