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Ambiguous loyalty to the Russian Tsar : the universities of Dorpat and Helsinki as nation building institutions

Ambivalente Loyalität gegenüber dem Russischen Zar : die Universitäten von Dorpat und Helsinki als Institutionen des Nation Building
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Dhondt, Pieter

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Abstract 'Despite several attempts in the eighteenth century to re-establish the University of Dorpat, the Baltic Germans succeeded only in 1802 in re-founding this precious institution meant for the education of the local German-speaking elite. The Baltic German nobility had power over the whole area, ruling it in political, religious, economic and cultural respect. In return for their numerous privileges, they demonstrated an almost proverbial loyalty to the Russian tsar. Until the middle of the nineteenth century, several high posts in the Russian government and in the Russian army were taken by members of the Baltic German nobility. A similar ambiguity characterized the attitude of the Finnish elite. On the one hand, the exceptionally privileged position of the Grand Duchy of Finland within the Russian empire forced them to act loyally towards their occupier. On the other hand, Finnish national awareness increased from the 1820's, a development towards which the university contributed to a large extent. As the Baltic German elite was educated at the University of Dorpat, the Finnish elite had its own university, first in Turku/ Abo and, from 1827, in Helsinki. Certainly when the university moved to the new capital, it was given explicit instructions to 'build the nation'. Also the location of the new imperial university was significant in this respect: on the Senate's square with at the opposite side of the square the government and next to it the imposing cathedral.' (author's abstract)|
Keywords aristocracy; reform; university; post-socialist country; education; historical analysis; Baltic States; USSR successor state; elite; German language; German; political elite; elite formation; Fin; Finland; loyalty; state formation; subject of study; eighteenth century
Classification Social History, Historical Social Research
Method historical
Document language English
Publication Year 2008
Page/Pages p. 99-126
Journal Historical Social Research, 33 (2008) 2
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works