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East Karelia (Russia), 1918-1930

Last modified: 2002-12-20 by antonio martins
Keywords: karelia | aunus | olonets |
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Situating East Karelia

Karelia is the area between Finland and Russia. When speaking about East Karelia, we are dealing with the Russian areas. However, autonomous East Karelia [both current and soviet] is just a small part of Russian Karelia, known as White Sea Karelia, or in other words, the area between the White Sea and the Finnish border. The area to the south of White Sea Karelia, between lakes Onega and Lagoda, is known as Aunus Karelia, named after the town with the Finnish name Aunus (in Russian: Olonets). Far into Russia itself, there is also and area inhabited by Karelians. This is Tver Karelia , named after the Russian city of Tver. When speaking about East Karelia in the following, it is mostly White Sea Karelia I am speaking about.
Jan Oskar Engene, 23 May 1997

Aunus (Olonets) Karelia

A short-lived government existed also for Aunus Karelia. The provisional government of Aunus was set up when Finnish volunteer forces advanced into the area in April 1919. An assembly was called and met in Rajakontu 5-6 June 1919. However, the Russian Bolsheviks quickly struck back and by 10 June the provisional government and the Finnish forces were back in Finland. That was the end of the Aunus government.

I have no information about the symbols, if any, of the Aunus government. In an account of the Finnish volunteer expedition into the Aunus area, written by one of the expedition's leaders Major von Herzen, we find only two instances when flags are mentioned. The first mention is a description of how the advancing Finns were met by enthusiastic locals that had hoisted white flags over their houses. The significance of the white flags is not explained. The second mention is a reference to regimental colours. von Herzen describes how the Finns captured a regimental colour from the reds. The colour is not described, but it is interesting to note that a colour was brought with the forces into battle. I suspect that at this point in time, 1919, there were no official colours in the Bolshevik army. However, this is speculation on my part.

Jan Oskar Engene, 23 May 1997


  • [pas94] Aleksandr Paskov: Karjalan vaakunat ja liput. Petroskoi/Petrosavozk, 1994
    (the book is in Finnish and Russian, but has a summary and a list of illustration captions in English)
  • East Carelia: A survey of the country and its population and a review of the Carelian question. Academic Carelia-League: Helsinki, 1934
  • Mauno Jääskeläinen: Die ostkarelische Frage. Helsinki, 1965
  • Gunnar von Herzen: Den karelska expeditionen. Helsinki, 1920
  • [zwe63] W. Zweguintzow: Drapeaux et étendards de l'armée russe. Paris, 1963. (Plates 27, 49)