[Leningrad]: Kirja, . 119 pp. 21.13x14.4 cm. In original publisher’s wrappers. Tears of the spine, pencil markings on the title-page. Otherwise in a very good condition.
First edition. Scarce. One of 4,000 copies.
The first textbooks of the Finnish language in Russia emerged in the second half of the 19th century, shortly after Finland was annexed by Tsar Alexander I in 1809. Although by 1897 the Finns constituted a significant part of the minorities in the Russian Empire (mostly Leningrad, Karelia, and Siberia where the Finns emigrated), the dissemination of Finnish was mostly backed by the Lutheran church and often contradicted Imperial policy of nationalization. The situation changed drastically in the early-1920s when the newly-established Soviet state adopted the strategy of indigenization at the XII Congress of the RCP in 1923. The policy, which envisaged overcoming global inequality, resulted in ‘Finnish boom’: over 60 Finnish village councils and 286 primary and 14 secondary Finnish schools were active in Petrograd oblast alone in the 1920s. In 1923, in order to popularize political, educational, scientific, and fictional literature Finnish political emigrants founded the publishing house Kirja in Petrograd.
The Textbook of the Finnish Language for Russians was issued by the fourth biggest national printing house in the Soviet Union, Kirja, in 1929. Written by H. Riihonen, the edition consists of three sections, Grammar. Reading Material, Vocabulary, and includes multiple exercises. The book is particularly important considering that it turned out to be one of the last Finnish manuals until the 1980s. From the early 1930s, the Soviet regime tightened its policy towards minorities, with the large population of the Finns being deported and the Finnish language being banned under the claims of «bourgeois» and «fascist».
Overall, an extremely rare survival of the time.
No copies found in Worldcat.