Fennis mira feritas, foeda paupertas. ("The Finns are incredibly savage and wretchedly poor.")— Tacitus
The authoritative words of the great Tacitus, the first person ever to bother to mention the Finnish people in textual form, ring as true today as they did nearly two millennia ago. Sure, poverty has evolved to take on different, more immaterial forms, and the wildness, savagery even, mentioned by the Roman historian has been curbed with authoritarian government – first by the Swedes, then by the Russians, and finally, spectacularly, by the Finns themselves. It has to be admitted that the Finns are an oppressive people – but unlike so many of their brothers and sisters among the dysfunctional lot that forms the international family, Finns prefer oppressing themselves to oppressing others.
At the dark heart of the Finnish experience lies unfathomable desolation reflected in the rigid yet monotonous poetry of the national epic Kalevala, in the mournfully introspective musical landscapes of Sibelius, and in the national suicide rate. This core of Finnishness is, thankfully, out of the reach of foreigners.
Finland is world-famous within her own borders for her vast number of lakes, her thick woods, her thick inhabitants, her noble, resolute determination not to give in to Soviet demands, her less resolute determination not to give in to Nazi demands, and for her degenerate half-breed of giftless architects and designers that has made modern, “urban” Finland the sterile hell-hole it is today.
Finland is, judging by the 20th century, one of Europe’s least conquerable nations. This may be due to the fact that all foreign interests in Finland are purely strategic and therefore strictly platonic. Not a single sane person has ever planned invading Finland for sentimental reasons. Finns in general do not reciprocate to romantic advances, or even to friendly ones. Or to any at all. But since everybody is clearly itching to learn about Finno-Hikipedian history in detail, let us continue.
In the good old days Finland was under the great Arctic glacier, rendering the country slightly less inhabitable than it is today. This would have been fine with everybody, but then global warming kicked in and melted the glacier, presenting Finland to the world for the first time. The reception was generally less than enthusiastic; crooked Stone Age real estate agents managed to rip off the Sámi by promising them ample backyard space. Soon afterwards, a primitive tribe of proto-Finns deprived of all sense of direction wandered to the area that was later to become Finland and, to general amusement, decided to settle there. Historians still debate just what they were thinking. “Probably nothing” has established itself as the most educated guess.
After settling down, both proto-Finns embarked upon a luxurious life of elk-chasing, mosquito-slapping, depression, bear-wrestling, lynx-boxing, acquiring frostbites, inventing insane grammatical cases, and sulking. While empires rose and collapsed in Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley, while the Hellenes invented Western civilization and lost their copyright to the Romans in a much-publicized trial, while Charlemagne assumed the crown of the Holy Roman Empire, the Finns (by this time some 150 in number) went on with their traditional lifestyle of misery tempered by occasional cases of frost-related gangrene. During the 11th and 12th centuries, the neighboring Swedes and Russians managed to convert all 700 Finns to their respective heresies of Christianity. Prior to this, the Finns had worshipped their own pantheon, nature spirits, and anything that gave them something to eat.
The main part of Finland was integrated into the Swedish realm, while Eastern parts of Karelia were controlled by Novgorod, Lithuania, and ferocious packs of wolves. Some fledgling towns and villages of Finland saw the construction of cathedrals and castles. They were mostly used by the Swedes punished by the King and sent to govern Finland. In the early 16th century, the pan-Nordic Kalmar Union disintegrated after a bitter strife concerning the Danish use of crab paste in smörgåsbord dishes, claimed to be excessive by the Swedes. The Swedes quit the union, grabbing Finland along while storming out. King Gustavus I of Sweden enforced the Protestant Reformation throughout his realm in order to get his greedy hands on all the shiny things stockpiled by the Roman church for centuries. This Insta-Reformation also affected Finland, leaving the Episcopal castle in Kuusisto demolished. Or then it collapsed by itself, being constructed exclusively of tree bark and dried moss. Whatever the case, the new Lutheran Archbishop Mikael Agricola set out on the foolhardy task of creating a written form of the Finnish language. His decision, based on ridiculous drunken boasting, was to carry momentous results, the pinnacle of them being Hikipedia. Agricola’s Heraclean efforts sparked by a fit of Dutch courage paid off in the form of unintelligible Finnish translations of the New Testament and assorted under-the-counter dirty books he had acquired while studying at Wittenberg University. The foundations for the Finnish-language Uncyclopedia were thus laid by this bumbling visionary of a clergyman.
With Sweden entering the Thirty Years’ War in the early 17th century – mostly to provide King Gustavus Adolphus, cursed by a short attention span, a welcome distraction from the chores involved in actually running a country – Finnish conscripts got a chance to see Central Europe and destroy it. Finns burned, raped and pillaged their way through Saxony and Bohemia, with Sweden getting the blame. After the King managed to kill himself in an inconsequential yet inspiring cavalry charge, there was no point in fighting on. All remaining 17 Finnish cavalrymen returned home. The brief and utterly ridiculous period during which Sweden was considered a great power saw the establishment of the first academies in Finland, providing a venue for higher education. The Faculty for the Art of Squirrel-Skinning was the first to provide complete academic courses in the vibrant metropolis of Turku (Åbo) in SW Finland, home to an impressive lot of 520 people.
In the early 18th century, the stupendously loopy King Charles XII, an early sufferer of the Napoleonic complex, set out to conquer Russia. This fateful decision made by the King after a jolly good game of contract bridge resulted in the withering away of the once-amusing Swedish Empire, with Finland run over by the Russians. After investigating their new conquest, the Russians decided they did not want Finland and forced a reluctant Sweden to take the area back in the peace negotiations. There was a feeble dramatic re-enactment of this episode some twenty years later. Known to historians as the “Lesser Wrath”, it is now deemed to be one the least interesting conflicts in the history of the universe.
Finland finally changed ownership during the Napoleonic Wars. In an attempt to force Sweden to join the continental blockade, Napoleon told his chum Alexander I of Russia to get tough with them. The French Emperor promised the Tsar that he could have Finland as compensation. Alexander, knowing full well that Finland wasn’t worth the effort, demanded more – wisely so. After securing an additional deal for two French pastries, six soufflés, and a barrel of Dijon mustard, he declared war on Sweden. The Russians quickly overpowered the puny regiments stationed in Finland, which, in a brilliant tactical maneuver, retreated until they reached the sea, at which point this embarrassing errand of a war was practically over. Later, the hapless bumblers masquerading as military troops on the Swedish/Finnish side of the poorly planned conflict were taken up by deranged poets who claimed they had actually been the greatest heroes the world had ever seen. The blatant lie inherent in these claims fuelled much of Finnish nationalism in the second half of the 19th century. Finland was made an autonomous Grand Duchy within the Russian Empire, leaving Sweden to cohabitate with Norway.
The late 19th century saw the second greatest flowering of Finnish culture in history, eclipsed only by the founding of Hikipedia in the first decade of the 21st. Suddenly, brilliant musicians, painters and thinkers, as well as a distinguished line of exceptionally boring writers, flooded the unprepared and underfunded cultural scene of the country. Not knowing quite what to do, the Finns decided to blame everything on the Russians, who had grown to be more oppressive of late. The ambitious Russification program, driven by Russian pan-Slavists was brought to a halt in Finland in 1904, when Eugen Schauman, a lovesick junior bureaucrat, driven by a curiously homoerotic jealousy towards the Russian Governor-General in Finland, shot this representative of the Tsar. The murderer, setting an example to future Finnish school shootings, killed himself and was instantly deified by the Finns, known for their less-than-stellar command of ethics.
In the wake of the Russian Revolution, the Finnish Senate filed a moderately-worded application for full independence in December 1917. There was much rejoicing as Finns began to celebrate their newly won freedom by organizing a civil war. After the war had been fought, some Finns thought it would be really cool to have a king of their own. After sending an invitation to a suitable German aristocrat, they had second thoughts and called the whole thing off, much to the relief of the aristocrat. The country was organized as a quasi-monarchy in the guise of a republic. The authoritarian spirit pervading Finnish governance was tempered by extremely bitter partisan bickering.
The country gained a soothing aura of apathetic unity as the Soviet Union began an invasion in November 1939. The ensuing Winter War, eventually lost, has provided Finns with a suitably simplistic raison d’être up to this day. It is a sad reflection on Finland that her single most inspiring experience to date is losing 26 000 soldiers and 10 per cent of her land area to communists. The Finns got a second chance in less than a year’s time: in 1941, Germany commenced its attack on the Soviet Union, inviting Finns to join in. After seeing how well it had paid off to resist Stalin, the Finns decided to try a different strategy with this new dictator with a smaller moustache. To this day, there persists a theory in Finland that the country was not an ally of Hitler’s in the Continuation War of 1941—44. This theory is so advanced that it is virtually unheard of outside Finland. It is generally considered to represent the “my country, right or wrong” school of historical scholarship. Brilliant strategists, the Finns ended up battling both the Soviets and the Germans in the course of the Second World War. The country managed to retain its independence, being of absolutely no interest to anybody in the end.
In the post-war era, Finland was ruled by the self-appointed Emperor Urho Kaleva Kekkonen, who ruthlessly crushed all opposition and drank Soviet premiers under the table. His death in 1986 left the country in mourning, with even more people committing suicide than would normally be the case. There persists a religious cult in the agrarian parts of country that Kekkonen, actually a part of the Holy Trinity, is merely asleep and will return at his nation’s hour of need. Today, however, Finland is a fully westernized parliamentary democracy. Honestly, it is.
In the second half of the 20th century, Finland has experienced a rapid transformation from a desperately and depressingly underdeveloped, agrarian hell-hole into a desperately and depressingly overdeveloped technology-welfare inferno. A glimmer of hope lit the stage for a renaissance in 2005 with the founding of Hikipedia, the Finnish-language Uncyclopedia. This momentous occasion will be commemorated with an enormous commemorative plaque featuring Hikipedia’s revered middle-finger emblem - to be observed from space. The plaque will consume most of Finland’s land area. Therefore, all visitors to this embassy are kindly requested to adopt a Finn as a humanitarian gesture.
Phew. That’s it. What, are you still here? Well, we do have some statistics. That ought to scare you off:
Comparison: Finland vs. Hikipedia
|Location||NE Europe||Some Canadian server|
|No. of registered users||ca. 5,200,000||ca. 9,000|
|of which trolls (Nordic twilight creatures)||ca. 250,000||ca. 8,600|
|No. of admins||200 + President of the Republic||17|
|Times viewed||5||ca. 24,500,000|
|No. of articles||n/a||ca. 5700|
- The figures are so depressing I just want to kill myself.
- Surely an oxymoron if there ever was one
- known in some parts of the Empire as en-slaveists
- ”On second thought, let’s not have a monarchy. It’s a silly arrangement.”