Karelia

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Karelia is an area in eastern Fennoscandia. It is to the east from where Finnish people live. There are many opinions about what places exactly belong to Karelia.

Most of Karelia belongs to Russia today. Small parts of Karelia belong to Finland. On the Russian side of Karelia is the Republic of Karelia. On the Finnish side are the provinces of North Karelia and South Karelia.

The original people of Karelia are Karelians. Karelian people speak Karelian, a Finnic language very close to Finnish. Karelians knew many old poems. Many poems of the Finnish book Kalevala are from the Karelians. Today in the Republic of Karelia, Karelians are a minority and Russians are a majority. Some people fear Karelian culture and language will die out.

Most of Karelia was part of Finland until World War II. East Karelia was not. While making peace, Finland had to give most of Karelia to the Soviet Union. After peace, many people from the Soviet Union went to live in Karelia.