история

Our two cities are similar in several ways. Both got the city rights in the Middle Ages as the centres of international trade. The most monumental building in both cities is connected with the St. Olaf Haraldsson of Norway: in Tallinn it is the St. Olaf’s Church, in Vyborg it is the Tower of Olaf. We have both once enjoyed the great autonomy and prosperity but have had some hard times during wars and we had to obey the rules of foreign landlords. We have both been trade towns on the Great Eastern Trade Route, mediating values between the imaginary line of Bergen, London and Lisbon and Novgorod and Pskov of Medieval Russia without forgetting to supply the boyars of Moscow.

Which were the Finnish goods that were shipped to Tallinn in those times? The old port customs books list tens of different articles, such as oxen, cows, calves, horses, sheep and goats, pigs and piglets, lard, cow and sheepskins or seal fat, salted or smoked salmon, Baltic herring, bream, etc. — those raw materials were certainly used to prepare delicious dishes for noblemen.

The best times in trade lasted up to the Livonian War, when the Grand Prince of Moscow, Ivan the Terrible tried to plunder and conquer our lands and towns but was eventually defeated and had to retreat from the areas around the Gulf of Finland, leaving Sweden to rule these lands. Nevertheless, trade did not regain its prosperity. After the Great Northern War, step by step the Gulf of Finland was turned into a Russian gulf, colonising the Votian, Izhorian and Karelian areas. The beginning of the power of the Tsar Russia was more beneficial for Finland due to their autonomy of the Grand Duchy than it was for Estonia. We lost our town Narva which was considered to be a part of Russia and at the end of the Tsarist area, Russification was promoted all around the Gulf of Finland.

Short period of national states between the two world wars brought prosperity for both Tallinn and Vyborg. Unfortunately, World War II destroyed the majority of its results. Alone with the bomb attack of the 9 March 1944, almost 5,000 houses ware destroyed in Tallinn and after the «liberation» the country by the Red Army, so many Russians were inhabited here that by the end of the rouble time, Estonians were the ethnic minority in their own capital. The faith of Vyborg can rather be compared with our Narva, which was bombarded even worse than Tallinn and was completely inhabited by colonialists sent from Russia. Russia took Pechory and Ivangorod from Estonia and Vyborg and Petsamo from Finland. We have things to remember.