Inkerin kulttuuriseura ry
Historia ja kulttuuri
Luettelo Inkeri-aiheisesta kirjallisuudesta
Laskuri on lisätty sivuille 1.8.2006
Who are Ingrians and where is Ingria?
More information of Ingria. Click
The map of historical Ingria
Historical Ingria or Ingermanland lies along the southern shore of the gulf of Finland and both banks of the river Neva. In the west it borders Estonia. In 1710 Ingria was designated as the Province of St. Petersburg and in 1927 as Leningrad Province. Today's Ingrians are descendants of Finns who moved to Ingria in the seventeenth century. Before that, the province of Ingria was inhabited by people who spoke a Finno-Ugric language and had an orthodox belief: orthodox Votes and Izhories and some Russians. With the peace treaty of Stolbova in 1617, Ingria was attached to the Swedish kingdom. Due to the new political situation a large part of the original inhabitants moved or were moved during the next decades and new people arrived into the area from Finland The Swedes tried to convert the orthodox people into Lutherans, but instead provoked an exodus to neighbouring regions. To compensate the loss of inhabitants, the Swedes convinced Finnish Lutheran farmers to move to the area. The Finns were offered tax support. Within a short space of time a strong Lutheran population had settled in Ingria, consisting of many different tribes. These Finns are the ancestors of today's Ingrians. At the end of the century, 75 percent of the inhabitants in Ingria were Lutherans. The name Ingria is of Scandinavian origin (Finnish Inkeriamaa - the land of Princess Ingrid. Ingrians call themselves Inkeriläinen or Inkerinsuomalainen.
The national flag of Ingria
During the early eighteenth century, Russia re-conquered Ingria, and the new capital St. Petersburg was constructed in the region. Russians started to immigrate to the region. However, the Ingrians preserved their language and culture and the Finnish speaking people remained an important minority in the province. Before the Russian revolution, between 100,000 and 200,000 of them lived in Ingria. After the revolution, most of Ingria came under Soviet rule except for one part in the west which was incorporated with Estonia. As late as the 1890s some 90% of the rural population of St. Petersburg government [meaning "province"] was Finnish-speaking, as was some 10% of the city's population.
The arms of Ingria
Viola tricolor. The national flower of Ingria.
The first Lutheran congregation was founded in Ingria in the late 16th century. At the time when the Lutheran faith established its roots in Scandinavia and Finland, it became a major religion south and east of the Gulf of Finland. As early as 1655, there were 58 parishes, 36 churches and 42 pastors. Before the Russian revolution of 1917, there were 32 Ingrian parishes in St. Petersburg and the surrounding area from the Estonian border to the Finnish one. During the Soviet regime, the churches were destroyed or closed.
The Ingrian national dress
Due to Lutheranism the Ingrians' education has been good. Tests in reading skills and Sunday schools for children already existed during the Swedish period and continued later throughout the Russian dominion. In 1785 the first primary school was opened in the village of Kolppana but cultural life only gained momentum in the 19th century. The Russian annexation of Finland (1809) and abolition of serfdom (1861) were of special importance for Ingermanland as the liberation of peasants brought with it radical changes. Choirs and societies were founded. To improve the educational standards a theological seminary was opened in Kolppana in 1863 where parish clerks and schoolmasters were trained. A newspaper Pietarin Sanomat (short-lived, as were the several following) was begun in 1870, and calendar Pietarin suomalainen kalenteri was published in 1871. But, as elsewhere, the last decades of the century were also a period of russification in Ingermanland. Regardless, the first Ingrian singing festival took place in Skuoritsa in 1899 and by 1913 the sixth was occuring in Kolppana. In addition to Christian education the parsons were also able to support a spirit of national identity.
The Soviet period
In 1920 the Ingrians were promised more propitious conditions for promoting their national culture. Educational conditions improved, and Finnish became more widely used in cultural life; in 1928 the Kuivaisi (Toksova) national district was formed in the Northern Ingeria and the Leningrad region had 54 national village councils by the year 1936.
Vernacular education at schools continued (314 schools in 1918), and the Finnish language was used in offices, radio programmes and elsewhere. Two daily and eight other newspapers appeared. The publishing house Kirja managed to publish 768 books -- textbooks, disctionaries, fiction -- in Leningrad and in Petroskoi during the period 1927--37. These activities were kept strictly separate, however, from Finland and even aimed to counterpoise. In 1937, just preceding the total dispersion of the Ingrians, all Finnish schools were russified, most of the intellectuals killed and the Ingrian cultural life completely extinguished. During the 1930s, the Ingrians suffered from Stalin's regime. A majority of the farmers were deported, the use of the Finnish language was prohibited and the Finnish speaking intelligentsia was annihilated. Ingrians were shipped off to prison camps or deported to Siberia and to central Russia. Very few remain, outnumbered by Russian population.
b The violence began in 1928 with compulsory collectivization. Around 18,000 people were deported from Northern Ingria to East Karelia, Central Asia and elsewhere in order to frighten others into accepting collective farms. A further 7,000 were deported to the Urals and to the coast of the Caspian Sea in 1935, and 20,000 to Siberia and Central Asia in 1936. Four parishes of Northern Ingria were totally emptied of Finns, which was a probable factor in the tension that led to the Finnish-Russian war. All churches and religious societies were closed by 1932 and all Ingrian cultural and social activities were brought to a halt by 1937. The national district of Kuivaisi (Toksova) was liquidated in 1939. By 1929, at least 13,000 Finns had been killed and 37,000 were suffering in Russia.
The World War II
Ingermanland also suffered during World War II. In 1942, during the blockade of Leningrad, 25,000--30,000 Finns were deported to Siberia. When the Germans occupied the the southern and western parts of Ingria during World War II, most of the remaining Finnish speaking people were evacuated to Finland. Their resettlement to Finland was allowed by German authorities to the basis of applications. 63,227 Ingrian refugees, including the Votes and the Izhorians, had left for Finland by October 31, 1944. Many of them settled in Finnish families, helping them by working on farms. After the war, the Soviets demanded these people back and Finland had to return them to the Soviet Union after the armistice. The Ingrians were promised by Soviet auhtorities that they could return to their own region, but instead were deported to different parts of the Soviet Union. 55,773 Ingrians arrived and were scattered to the regions of Novgorod, Kalinin, Vologda, Sverdlovsk, etc. Some years after the war even those children of Ingrian descent that had been adopted by Finnish families were reclaimed by the Soviet Union. Later some Ingrians moved back to Ingria. Others moved to Estonia, partly because the Estonian language is close to Finnish.
Todays IngriansBy the year 1943, only 4,000 Finns remained in Ingermanland. All the others had either been resettled, deported, dispersed or had fled. Only in 1956 were the Ingrians finally allowed to return to their native country. The 1989 census showed that there were 67 359 Finns living in the Soviet Union, of whom 34.6 % spoke their native language. Approximately one quarter of them lived in Karelia, another quarter in Estonia, a third quarter in the Leningrad Province and the remainder somewhere else. The Ingrian Finns have not been separated from the rest of the Finns since the census of 1939. In 1989, approximately 1 % of the inhabitants of the Leningrad Province (excluding St. Petersburg) were Finns. The Ingrians are now living in different parts of the world, many in the western part of the former Soviet Union, i.e. Estonia, Carelia and Ingria.
The historical guilt the Finnish society feels for expelling these people to the Soviet Union may be one reason for the decision to accept the Ingrians as returnees in Finland. At a press briefing, he said that the Ingrian Finns living in the former Soviet Union could be regarded as Finnish returnees. The term returnee means that these people could move to Finland easily by showing that they had Finnish ancestors. The words of Koivisto had a huge impact on the Finns in ex-Soviet Union who started to move to Finland in great numbers. About 30,000 people have already moved to Finland thanks to Koivisto's statement, and another 20,000 are waiting in Russia and Estonia. Nobody knows for sure how many can come in the end.
Some came because they felt Finnish. Others just used the opportunity to move to the west. Within the big group of Ingrians in Finland are huge differences in motives for their move. The different reasons resulted in different indentity problems. It seems that almost every Ingrian Finn in Finland struggles with the question: Who am I?
b The ethnic dispersion of the Ingrian Finns makes their survival as an nation very dubious. The decrease in the numbers of people who still can speak their mother tongue demonstrates the difficulty of retaining the language in a foreign environment. Among the Ingrian Finns the language shift is already well under way.
Under these circumstances we should not so much investigate the dangers, but rather pose the question: Is there any hope left for the Ingrian Finns? Not everything is lost, however, because the Russian government has rehabilitated the Ingrian Finns as a nation (1993); since 1989, 15 church congregations have been restored (in 1918 there were approximately 100) and national cultural societies have been established in Finland, Leningrad Province, Karelia, Estonia, Sweden and elsewhere.
The destiny of the Ingrian Finns has been seriously affected by the location of the Russian-Swedish border on the Isthmus of Karelia after the Great Northern War, which separated them from the rest of the Finns. Yet 300 years of life and work passed before the Ingrian Finns were labelled strangers and their territory claimed as having been historically Russian. The Soviet regime started implementing resolute measures.
17th century Ingria came under Swedish rule. Immigration of Finnish peasants.
1702 Russian czar Peter the Great gained access to the Baltic Sea and a new capital St.Petersburg in Ingria.
1920 Ingria was recognised as a part of Soviet Russia by the Peace Treaty of Tartu.
1928 – collectivisation started, the first mass deportation.
1929-1936 The majority of the Ingrian Finnish were deported to Siberia, Central Asia and the Kola Peninsula. The territory was resettled by newcomers from Russia. 1932 – religious practices are forbidden.
1937 – cultural activities in Finnish are forbidden.
1939 – at least 13,000 Finns are murdered and another 37,000 are taken to concentration camps.
1942 – almost 30,000 people are deported to Siberia.
1943 The population in the part of Ingria occupied by Germans was evacuated to Finland.
1944/45 – 55,773 Finns who were evacuated and return home are dispersed in the provinces in Central Russia.
1988 An organisations of Ingrian Finns was created in Leningrad, Carelia and Estonia. 1990 The president of Finland "invited" Ingrias to Finland as remingrants and untill now about 30 000 people have moved to Finland.
1993 The Ingrians were rehabilitated by the Russian government but they still did not receive the right to return to their homelands.
1995 Three homes for the elderly were opened, built by Inkeri Liitto with the help from Finnish government and social organisations. The first Finnish school was opened in St. Petersburg.
2002 The governement of Finland plans to restrict the remigration of Ingrians and give a precedence to those, who can speak Finnish.