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The first sites of primitive people on the territory of the Kalevala region date from the period of late mesolite (VII-V millennium B.C.) According to archeological data there are hundreds of sites of this kind on the ancient land of Kalevala. At that time pagan tribes who were mainly engaged into fishing and hunting inhabited this territory. They were deerstalkers and led a nomad’s life. Gradually they left clusters of long-term sites. Archeological finds of that time include not only objects of everyday needs (arrow-heads, axes, fragments of the ancient ceramics) but also mysterious sacred stones and cairns. Researchers still cannot clear up the purpose of these monuments. One of the sacred stones is situated in immediate proximity to the regional center. The first record of local settlements is an extract from the Solovets monastery Chronicles dated from 1552-1553. According to this record local villages were inhabited by Laplanders (Lapps) at that period of time. The settlement situated on the shore of the lake Kuytto was known not only in Russia. It was marked as “Kuitka” on the Swedish map of Abraham Ortelius of 1570. The map was hand-written. That is why it cannot give the precise information. More regular records of the settlements of the Kalevala area are dated from the 16th century. Land records of 1587-1588 and patrol records of local administrative units dated from 1597 contain very important information about the economic level of the region. According to these records local settlements counted about forty peasant homesteads and fifty-two people living in them (they recorded only males). The records mention that the local population was mainly engaged into farming and haying (they sowed rye and mowed grass) and fishing (a white-fish, a pike, a perch and a roach). Nationality of local people was mentioned only once. It was said in the records that they were Lapps and Karelians who inhabited the land. So, these data give some idea of the settlements situated in the Kalevala area in the end of the 16th century, their population and national origin. There were essential distinctions between the way of life of the indigenous population (the Lapps) and people who inhabited these lands later. The Lapps led a nomadic way of life. They changed their places of residence for several times a year. The settlements of the Lapps were called “pogosts”; they were usually situated along the lakesides and banks. There were both the winter and the summer types of settlements. Winter settlements consisted of warm cabins made of logs with flat roofs covered with ground. The front door led both to the living quarters and the farm-yard situated under the same roof. Summer habitations consisted of wickiups made of branches with the round or hexagonal basis. The fireplace was situated right in the center with the smoke outlet above. The Swedish oppression caused a mass migration of the Karelian population. It started in the 17th century. The last groups of Karelian people came to the territory of the present Kalevala region in the beginning of the 18th century. One hundred years ago the population of Kalevala remembered about their migration and could point the travel paths. The migration of the Karelians to the territory of the contemporary Kalevala region caused dramatic changes in the ethnic affiliation and the social and economic structure of the population. The aboriginal Lappish inhabitants started to migrate to the north. They led a nomad’s life, tended herds of reindeers, hunted fur-bearing animals and fished. The Karelians brought high farming to these lands and the Lapps had to go further to the north in search of natural lands where reindeers could be found. It was not a forcible entry. The history makes no mention of armed conflicts between the Karelians and the Lapps. More than that, a part of the Lappish population did not go and was assimilated by the Karelians. It is a well-known fact that a special furs tax was imposed upon nomadic tribes of the Lapps. And many of them started to build log cabins along the lakesides and banks in order to rank among the settled population. Some of them grew accustomed to farming. So, in the second half of the 17th century a great change of settling systems took place on the territory of the Kalevala region. Nomadic settlements of the Lapps with hand-held huts were replaced by all-the-year-round inhabited villages of the Karelians with loghouses and ploughed fields. According to the piece treaty with Sweden of 1617 the frontier between Russia and Sweden ran in immediate proximity to the lake Kuytto and the village of Uhta turned into a border settlement. The advantage of this event lay in the position of the village, which became the center of trade between Russia, Sweden and Finland. At the same time, the fatal consequences of the proximity to the frontier lay in constant armed incursions from enemy countries. So, in the 17th century the frontier post was built in the village of Panozero. It collected customs duties that went to the national treasury. Local merchants carried on traffic with Sweden. Some of them were engaged into barter trade. They exported salt, fish and cloths and imported copperware and furs. Some transactions were conducted in the village of Uhta. It made for the success and development of the settlement as a very important trade center in the northern part of Karelia. In the 18th century the Northern War broke out and the further economic advancement of the region was terminated. Elias Lönnrot visited this part of Karelia in 1834. He kept travel notes where he described the consequences of the war. According to the records the big and prosperous settlement of Uhta “was burned to the ground”. It was a predatory war. Both local people and people from enemy countries crossed the frontier and made plundering raids on neighboring lands. Local territories were devastated. There were just a few farmsteads left. Many villages were either destroyed or desolate. The first inhabitants appeared in this area several decades later. They came partly from Finland partly from surrounding settlements. Russia won a victory over Sweden and there came a time of political and economical stability in the region. The number of settlements in the northern part of Karelia started to rise, that increased the strength of the economy of the region. Local culture bloomed up with original traditions of the northern Karelians and their folk poetry. That was realized in the poetic epos “Kalevala”. Karelian epic songs attracted Finnish scientists (ethnographers and specialists in folklore) who started to visit settlements of the Northern Karelia to meet local epic tellers. In the 19th century the Finnish scientist Sakary Topelius came to this land to hear such epic tellers as Timonen, Jukka Kettunen and Olli Mäkeläinen. The runes that he had then written down were published in 1822-1831. Hawkers who went to Finland every autumn to sell Russian goods there played a great role in promotion of Karelian epic poetry to the general public of the Finnish society. The number of hawkers ran up to one thousand every year. They came from the villages of Voknavolok, Uhta, Jushkozero, Panozero, Reboly and Kimasozero. Topelius spoke highly of northern Karelian villages. He considered they were the only place where the old traditions had been cherished and maintained and the ancient folk culture had been preserved in the original form. “One can still hear the voices of epic heroes and enjoy the sounds of a kantele there”, he wrote. Perhaps, it was a powerful incentive to Finnish scientists to go on a “mass pilgrimage” to the northern part of Karelia. The world-famed linguists, social anthropologists and members of the Academy (A.Shegren, I.Fellman, M.Kastren) visited the village of Uhta in the 19th century. Elias Lönnrot made eleven scientific expeditions to Karelian villages. He played a crucial role in the local folk-lore study and popularization of the Karelian epic poetry. The first edition of the epos “Kalevala” was published in 1835. In 1840 the number of runes and incantations counted more than twenty thousand lines. The second additional edition of “Kalevala” was published in 1849. The textual descriptions of the village Uhta made by E.Lönnrot told that it was the most prosperous village in the area. It had 80 solid houses. The village was so big that it was divided into four parts. Two of them belonged to one administrative district, the other two belonged to another one. The border between the districts ran along the river Uhut. The name of the village originated from the river’s name. Swift increase in the number of farmsteads in the village of Uhta generated a need to organize a self-dependent parish. The Uhta parish was formed in 1846. It united several villages of the neighboring parishes (the Voknavolok parish and the Panozero parish). At first services were held in a local chapel. They laid the foundation of the first temple in the village on the 31st of March of 1856 according to the decree of the Synod. The construction was completed in 1858 but the temple was burnt down by a lightning on the 2nd of August of 1858. They even did not have time to consecrate it. A new church was built in 1861 instead of the burnt one. It was built without any measuring drawings and architectural design. That is why very soon it faced the danger of collapse. In 1886 they decided to reconstruct it. A new temple was consecrated on the 25th of March of 1889. It was named after the Saint Peter and Paul apostles. It was a one-domed temple built in the form of a cross. It was painted in white, the roof was red and the dome and crosses were blue. The iconostasis was granted by local inhabitant George Andropov. The bell-tower had five bells. The biggest one weighted about 200 pounds. The first senior priest was named Stefan Shmakov. Nicolas Petuhov was the last senior priest of the temple. He held services from 1914 till 1920. According to the data of 1908 the northern part of Karelia consisted of 13 administrative districts. The number of inhabitants was 25084. The largest Karelian settlements which had more than 100 farmsteads were the village of Uhta (it was the administrative center of the Uhta district that had 207 farmsteads and 1260 people living in them), the village of Voknavolok (it was the administrative center of the Voknavolok district with 149 farmsteads and 845 people living in them), the settlement of Jushkozero (it was the administrative center of the Jushkozero district with 112 farmsteads and 657 people) and the village of Poduzhemie (the administrative center of the Poduzhemie district with 110 farmsteads and 630 people). Local inhabitants were engaged into farming, cattle-breeding and fishing. There were 791 oxen, 161horses, 645 sheep and 30 deers in the Uhta administrative district. Fifty-seven people were engaged into fishing and one hundred and seven people were engaged into hunting. One hundred and twenty three people were occupied with felling and float. Eighteen people worked in timber mills. Some people made living by carrier’s trade and earning money away from home. There were seven schools in the district of Uhta. The village of Uhta was the central settlement of the district and the northern part of Karelia in whole. There were a post office, an aid post, a council and several shops in the village of Uhta. The road to Finland went through the village. After the first Russian revolution of 1905 the political activity of the local population rose sharply. In 1906 “The union of the northern Karelians” was founded in Finland. Before the revolution of 1917 “The Karelian educational community” was organized. In May of 1917 a delegation from the Karelian society appealed to the Temporary government. It made a demand to give autonomy to Karelia. On the 31st of December 1917 the Soviet government declared Finland to be independent. On the 21st of March 1918 armed units commanded by colonel Malmi entered the northern part of Karelia from the territory of Finland. Their mission was to occupy the Northern Karelia at the earliest possible date. In four days the village of Uhta was occupied. Security outposts were organized in the villages of Jushkozero, Kostomuksha and Voknavolok. But in August-September of 1918 the village of Uhta and other administrative districts were freed by a detachment made of 300 local inhabitants (it was named “The Karelian legion “ later) and partisans. “The Karelian legion” started to develop into a partisan troop, but on the 2nd of July 1918 Englishmen entered the northern part of Karelia and the staff of “the Karelian legion” was arrested. Then English people put it down for allowance, outfitted, armed and sent it to wage under the command of the natives of the Kalevala villages (Ricco Lessonnen and Jyvo Ahava). In February of 1919 the meeting of official representatives from eleven administrative units of the Notheren Karelia took place in the town of Kem. The assembly was summoned by Rikko Lessonnen and Juvo Ahava. They considered it necessary to declare Karelia as a self-dependent state community in the form of a democratic republic. They made a resolve to convoke a Constituent Assembly of the Karelian people. The national committee was elected. The chief task of the committee was to prepare the convocation of the Constituent Assembly on the basis of universal, direct and equal elections by secret ballot. On the 21st of July 1919 the delegates of the Karelian districts assembled in the village of Uhta. The Temporary Government of the Northern Karelia (Toimikunta) was organized. Antti Vierma had been appointed chairman. Six members and six candidates formed a part of the government. The Temporary Government set about preparation for the Uhta congress of representatives from all Karelian administrative units. For about one year the government had managed practically all fields of activity of the Northern Karelia. In November of 1919 it got a 2 million finnmarks loan from Finland. Two loans more were received in February and Mai of 1920 (10 million finnmarks and 8 million finnmarks). At the same time, the congress preparation was proceeding. Proclamations, appeals and propaganda leaflets were released. The Uhta congress started its work on the 21st of March 1920. Practically all administrative districts of the Northern Karelia were represented in the congress. The congress elected a new membership of the Uhta government that was headed by H. Tikhanov-Hilippala. The congress approved the coat of arms and the national flag of the Republic of Karelia. They elected the delegation to negotiate with the Soviet government. In April of 1920 the delegation left for the border station situated in the place called Rajaoki and served the congressional authorization to representatives of the Soviet government. But the Soviet government refused to recognize the Uhta government. More than that, the foundation of the “Uhta Republic “ raised a great hue and cry in many administrative units of the Olonets district. And the Uhta government turned out to be in a painful situation. On the 18th of May 1920 the village of Uhta was occupied by Finnish regiments of the Russian Army. And in August of 1920 the Uhta, Jushkozero, Voknavolok and Kondozero administrative districts became members of the Karelian Labour Commune. The Uhta government emigrated to Finland. On the 22nd of May 1920 the Revolutionary Committee under the chairmanship of J. Sonnikov was organized in the village of Uhta. The Soviet authority was established in the region. It started to appropriate executive measures on the restoration of the economy of the district. The executive committee of the Kem district Board made a decision to apportion some seed for spring sowing. But the Soviet government could not provide the northern Karelian villages with food. People were starving. The difficulties adversely affected the prestige of the Soviet government. In autumn of 1921 the local population supported the attack of skiers detachment from the territory of Finland. In December the Uhta, Jushkozero and other districts of the northern part of Karelia were governed by a new Finnish administration. Finns started to supply bread, cereals and other goods. They provided financial support. But at the same time, they executed (by shooting) many communists, militiamen, teachers, and members of local Boards and called to the colors. Troops of the Russian Army assumed the offensive in December of 1921. And in February of 1922 they won back all the territories. The operations of a group of cadets from an international military school under the command of Toivo Antikainen went down to history. These events turned out to be the most destructive for the local area. A lot of settlements and villages were either burned to the ground or deserted. There were only forty of three hundred houses left in the village of Uhta. The cattle was stolen out of stables. A lot of animals were killed. According to the documents of those days more than 570 horses, 1434 cows and 2311 sheep were butchered. The better part of the population left their homes. About 7428 people emigrated to Finland. The first Karelian regional Party conference examined the questions upon the relief action for the injured population. They decided to unite seven administrative units and form the Uhta region with 11000 residents. The Board of people’s commissars of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic apportioned 25% of export timber for local public needs. It also transferred the authority to purchase agricultural implements abroad paying off with the foreign currency received from timber sales. Several years later mutual aid funds provided almost all farms with ploughs, cultivators, harrows, winnowing machines, horse-drawn rakes, seeding-machines, separators and mowing machines. A lot of producers’ co-operatives were founded in local villages in the twenties. Bog reclamation associations were the most effective. They drained manually about 300 hectares of land before the collectivization. Canadian Finns, who came to the region to “build a new life”, organized an economic commune that was one of the most exemplary farms in Karelia. A Workers’ and Peasants’ school was opened on the 1st of October 1922 in the village of Uhta. The school had a live farming equipped with electric lighting, self-filling drinkers and bunker silos. The farm had 40 milch cows, 40-50 pigs, three horses and agricultural implements. It was not the first educational institution opened in the region. As early as 1863 a trade school was founded in the village. It existed up till 1896. In 1889 a female parish school was organized. In 1898 it was renamed into a mixed one. In 1906 a trade school was reopened in the village. On the 30th of April the All-Union Central Executive Committee passed a decree upon a general amnesty for the Karelians who defected to Finland. And to the end of 1925 the overwhelming majority of emigrants returned home. It was a powerful spur to the renascence of the land. In autumn of 1924 the first regional electric power station was turned on in the village of Uhta. It was assembled on the basis of a steam-boiler that was delivered by horses from the station “Polar Circle”. As early as 1927 the first regional water power station with an output of 90 kilowatts was built on the river of Uhta. It powered a mill, a saw-mill and machine shops. In 1929 the Uhta timber industry enterprise was founded. In 1932 the road Kem-Uhta was built. Local inhabitants performed the construction work and prisoners of Solovets strict-security camps made the digging. The road played an important role in the economic advancement of the region. At that time they constructed a shopping center building, a club-house, a hospital, an executive committee of the district council office block, a post office, a bakery, several schools, a forestry engineering school and dormitories. Two mechanized logging depots were founded in the region in 1930s. They worked twenty-four hours a day. Several sluices were built on local rivers. Brickworks functioned in the region. It gave 150000 bricks a year. They quarried natural stone that was used to produce bars and millstones. An industrial complex was built. It had a log frame and joiner’s shops. The region started to provide itself with carving wood, cabinet wood and furniture. Sash and door pulleys were exported outside the region by water and sleigh-roads. Thirty-two collective farms were organized in the region, about 1800 farmsteads entered into them. All fields were sown with grain-crops; fodder was stored up by local efforts. They imported just oats to feed working horses from outside the region. A machine and tractor station was built. It had 23 units. In 1934 the state sector laid in a stock about 30 tons of meat and about 60 tons of fish. Unfortunately, the collectivization was accompanied by dispossession of kulaks. About 53 people were ousted and exiled to Siberia, their property was sold out by auction. Red Finns, all to a man, were subjected to repression. There were participants of the Toivo Antikainen campaign amongst them. In 1935 the region of Uhta was renamed to the region of Kalevala on the grounds of 100-anniversary celebration of the first edition of the epos “Kalevala”. The peaceful respite was too brief. In 1939 the war between the USSR and Finland broke out. And the region of Kalevala became a beachhead for the deployment of two rifle divisions. Their mission was to occupy the place called Suomussalmi and to cut Finland in the bottle-neck from East to West. But as a result, the division units were blockaded by Finns, broken to separate pieces and annihilated. Twenty-five thousand Red Army men were killed, the others were taken prisoner. The defense technology was captured. Divisional commander Vinogradov was executed by shooting by the personal order of Stalin. The war finished on the 13th of March 1940 but on the 1st of July 1941 Finnish forces together with vermacht military units intruded upon the territory of Karelia. The first battle took place on the 4th of July. Under the pressure of superior enemy forces Soviet troops had to retreat to cut and dried positions in the region named “Kis-Kis” situated in 14 km from the Uhta village. The front line became stabilized here. The Soviet soldiery conducted trench battles, made sorties to the rear of the enemy and acts of sabotage. Finns could hardly control the occupied territories. A lot of subversive and partisan groups acted in rear. Local Karelian inhabitants formed the basis of partisan movement. The group named “Red partisan” was a special success. Operations went on up till the autumn of 1944. According to official data more than 3000 soviet soldiers and officers were killed in actions that took place in the Uhta sector. To the end of the war the region had been destroyed and mined. A lot of settlements were burnt to the ground. There were none of dwelling houses left in the village of Uhta. Twenty-seven collective farms and seven logging depots were completely ravaged. A great damage was done to the region. Little by little local villages were restored to life. Settlements were cleared of mines and people started to return home. They built earth-houses for the initial period. Collective farms and logging depots were reconstructed. Animal-drawn tree hauling was replaced by the machine one. Wood-cutters started to use band-saws. In January of 1960 eight collective farms and one ancillary farm of the Uhta timber industry enterprise were united into the Uhta state farm. It had supplied the whole region with milk, meat, eggs and potatoes for more than 30 years. It went bankrupt in 1990s. The village of Uhta was transformed to an urban-type community named Kalevala in 1963. In 1964 the West Karelian railway was put into service. At the same time they started to build the Jushkozero hydroelectric power station with an output of 18000 kilowatts. It was put into operation in 1980. But it did not go off swimmingly this time eather. In the end of 1950s they started to wind up “unpromising” villages. Several collective farms and more than ten villages where 315 people lived were liquidated. A major deposit of iron ore was found in the region of Kalevala at those times. The foundation laying of the future ore mining and processing enterprise took place on the 14th of September 1978. The land of Kalevala is considered the home of the epic poem “Kalevala”. A great part of epic songs were recorded in local villages. A pleiad of epic tellers made the land of Kalevala famous. They had made a great contribution to the Karelian and Russian culture. A lot of epic songs, runes and fairy tales were found out from them. “Lönnrot’s Pine” became the symbol of the epic land. It was not hurt during the war but the shore where it stood was eroded and the century-old trunk fell into the water. In 1970s the pine was restored by some specialists from Leningrad and now it is situated at a new spot. Many well-known writers were natives of the Kalevala villages. Their works were used to study the way of life of the northern part of Karelia inhabitants. The creative activity of world-famous composers Helmer Sinisalo and Karl Rautio began here. Several famous actors started their stage career in the Kalevala National Theatre. The preservation and reconstruction of the historical environment of the Northern Karelia took on special significance in the end of the 20th – beginning of the 21st centuries. This question is to be viewed on a world-wide scale. The matter concerns the preservation of the international cultural wealth under the aegis of UNESCO. It brings to working out of new and grave projects that include economic, ecological, cultural and many other fields of activity.


Дата создания: 26.03.2014 15:29
Дата последнего изменения: 07.08.2014 18:15

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