Medievalism in Finland and Russia: Twentieth- and Twenty-First Century Aspects, ed. Reima Välimäki

An edited volume on the uses of the Middle Ages in Finland and Russia. The all-too-topical volume has been published online at Bloomsbury Collections, with print publication on 1 December 2022. The book can be ordered at the Bloomsbury website.

You can freely read my preface to the volume: Medievalism in Finland and Russia and why it matters

We really have a wonderful collection of chapters written by an excellent team of scholars:

Preface: Medievalism in Finland and Russia and Why It Matters Reima Välimäki (University of Turku, Finland)
1. Introduction: Historical Authority in Political Medievalism Andrew B. R Elliott (University of Lincoln, UK)
2. Middle Ages on the Map of the Memory of Russian Society Evgenii Rostovtsev (Saint Petersburg State University, Russia)
3. References to Medieval History in the Speeches and Addresses of the President of Russia, 2000-2019 Kati Parppei (University of Eastern Finland, Finland)
4. Circulation of Pseudo-Information: Medievalist Internet Discussions in Contemporary Russia Mila Oiva (University of Turku, Finland)
5. Pseudo-Medievalist Histories and Contemporary Russian Identity Construction Evan Wallace (University of Central Florida, USA)
6. Memorials dedicated to the Middle Ages in Finland Sirpa Aalto & Timo Ylimaunu (University of Oulu, Finland)
7. The Missing Finnish Runestones Kendra Wilson (University of Turku, Finland)
8. Icelandic Sagas and the Viking Age in Finnish Pseudohistory Harri Hihnala (University of Turku, Finland)
9. Masculine Online Medievalism in 21st-century Finland Heta Aali (University of Turku, Finland)
10. Particularizing the Universal: Medievalist Constructions of Cultural and Religious Difference in the Crusader Kings II Jere Kyyrö (University of Turku, Finland)

Description of the volume

Since the end of the Cold War, the Middle Ages has returned to debates about history, culture, and politics in Northern and Eastern Europe. This volume explores political medievalism in two language areas that are crucial to understanding global medievalism but are, due to language barriers, often inaccessible to the majority of Western scholars and students.

The importance of Russian medievalism has been acknowledged, but little analysed until now. Medievalism in Finland and Russia offers a selection of chapters by Russian, Finnish and American scholars covering historiography, presidential speeches, participatory online discussions and the neo-pagan revival in Russia. Finland is currently even more poorly understood than Russia in the discussions about global medievalism. It is usually mentioned only as of the birthplace of the Soldiers of Odin. The street patrol is, however, a marginal phenomenon in Finnish medievalism as this volume demonstrates. Instead of merely adopting the medievalist interpretation of the international alt-right, even the right-wing populists in Finland refer more to the nationalistic medievalist tradition, where crusades do not mark a Western Christian victory over the Muslim East, but a Swedish occupation of Finnish lands. In addition to presenting particular cases of medievalism, the chapters here on Finland challenge and diversify today’s prevailing interpretation of shared online medievalism of European and American right-wing populists.

This book reveals that while medievalisms in Finland and Russia share many features with the contemporary Anglo-American medievalist imaginations, they also display many original characteristics due to particular political situations and indigenous medievalist traditions. They have their own meta-medievalisms, cumulative core ideas and interpretations about the medieval past that are thoroughly examined here in English for the very first time.

The book is a result of my research project on medievalist pseudohistories on the Finnish and Russian internet.
The editing of the book was made possible by Turku Institute for Advanced Studies (TIAS)