Sunday, September 23, 2012

Jussi-Pekka Hakkarainen

Jussi-Pekka Hakkarainen, M.A.
I have graduated from the University of Turku (General History) and University of Helsinki (West and South Slavonic Languages and Cultures; Czech). Recently, I have been employed by the National Library of Finland, where my assignments were related to e-publishing, the Polonica collection and the international co-operation over the digitization projects. Currently, I am preparing my PhD thesis on the theme "Scientific and Political Networks of the Finnish Slavists in 1921-1925".

During the first years of the Bolshevik reign, the academic contacts with the Western colleagues were broken or were arranged in sporadic ways only. There were no permanent structures that could have supported the academic work under these new conditions. The re-establishment of these structures and scientific contacts between the Russian and Western scholars in the early 1920s were triggered by a series of events, where the Finnish Slavists were attached through their political and scientific networks, mainly through the activities of the Academic Relief Committee of Finland (Suomen Yliopistollinen Avustuskomitea, hereafter ARCF).

The key figures of ARCF were Andrey Viktorovitch Igelström (1860–1927), the head of the Russian Library at the University in Helsinki, ethnographer-slavist Viljo Johannes Mansikka (1886–1947) and professor of the Slavonic languages, Jooseppi Julius Mikkola (1866–1946). In my research, I will argue how these scholars were a part of abovementioned development between the years of 1921 and 1925. I have located three spheres of scientific and/or political operations, were the Finnish slavists are present and which do highlight the complexity of this unease period of academic co-operation.

V. J. Mansikka, Maxim Gorky and A. V. Igelström at the balcony of the House of the Learned in Petrograd in 1921.
Picture: Slavonic Library at the National Library of Finland.

Firstly, I will argue that the scientific relationships of Russian scholars with the academic societies in Western started to rebirth in the course of the international food relief programme, which was organized by the ARCF as of spring 1921 onwards. In May 1921, Igelström and Mansikka travelled to Petrograd in order to deliver the collected donations and commodities for the Russian scholars, who had plead the food aid from the Finnish public in March 1921. Mansikka and Igelstöm went into negotiations with Commission for Improving the Living Conditions of Scientists in Petrograd (Петроградская Комиссия по улучшению быта ученых, hereafter PetroKUBU) over the relief for the Russians scholars in future too. The outcome of negotiations was a plan for the international aid for the Russian scientists. The major aims of this agenda were twofold: 1) the arranging the relief (food, clothes etc.) and 2) the exchange of Russian scientific publications that could connect Russian scholars to the debate with the foreign colleagues again.

Secondly, I will argue that also the international book exchange of Russian scientific publications was made possible in the course of food relief programme. In the 1920s, the first actions towards the exchange of Russian scientific literature were made by the joint initiative of Foreign Literature Committee (Комитет иностранной литературы, Kominolit) and Bureau of Science and Technology (Бюро иностранной науки и техники, BINT), but the results were not able to cover the all needs of Russian scholars. In the course of the relief programme, the key figure of PetroKUBU and the Academy of Sciences, Sergey Oldenburg (1863-1934), leaned on Igelström instead of Kominolit and BINT and agreed with him on the exchange of Russian scientific publications with the Western ones, making the Russian Library in Helsinki as an unofficial Bureau des échanges for the Russian Academy of Sciences in Petrograd from 1921 to 1923 and thus linked the Russian scientists to the international academic debate again.

And thirdly, I will discuss in my dissertation how the émigré policy of Czechoslovak government, known as Action Russe (Ruská pomocná akce), was present in the relief programme and how this policy was linked to the networks of the Finnish Slavists through rising scientific interests towards the Slavonic studies in Prague in early 1920s and how this policy was linked to the book exchange of Russian Scientific publications arranged by the Russian Library in Helsinki.

Further reading on this topic:

Hakkarainen, Jussi-Pekka: "Books for the Precious Brains. Re-establishing the International Scientific Relationships with Russian Scholars through the Relief Programme of Academic Relief Committee of Finland in 1921–1925." Sociology of Science and Technology, Vol. 3, Number 1, 2012, pp. 24-44:

Hakkarainen, Jussi-Pekka: Oppineiden talossa. Helsingin yliopiston slavistien kansainväliset verkostot Suomen Yliopistollisen Avustuskomitean toiminnan yhteydessä vuosina 1921-1925. (Master's Thesis in Finnish with a Czech Summary):

Portrait of Jussi-Pekka Hakkarainen by Jukka Pennanen

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