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Ugrofińskie pogranicza nordyckości

Łukasz Sommer

Fenno-Ugric Borderlands od the Nordic World

The notion of a close bond with the Nordic countries has played an important role in the Estonian national tradition, and several times it has affected Estonia’s foreign policies. Finland is an important element of this concept, being an eastern periphery of Norden and, at the same time, Estonia’s close neighbor and linguistic cousin. Shortly after 1991, the idea of Estonia as an essentially Nordic country which has only mistakenly been identified with Eastern Europe, was integrated into Estonia’s export image and actively propagated by some of its governments. My article is an attempt to analyze this phenomenon in the light of Estonia’s historical links with Finland and Scandinavia. My point of departure is the idea of “Yule-land” as an extended Norden that would include Estonia. As I try to demonstrate, this concept is a constructivist one and consciously ahistorical; although it is propped up by references to the region’s prehistory, they are secondary to the logic of the image campaign. Contemporary Estonian identity has been shaped predominantly by traditions and experiences of the early modern period, and the legacy of that time seems to bind Estonians with Central-Eastern Europe rather than with their Northern neighbors.