Thursday, July 11, 2019

A New Aspirant to Be the Fourth Baltic Republic – Ingria

Paul Goble

            Staunton, July 10 – For many years after 1991, people in Europe and even in Russia talked about the possibility that Kaliningrad (Koenigsberg) would become the fourth Baltic republic. Now, there is a new contender for that honor, Ingria or Ingermanland, whose residents first proclaimed their state independence a century ago this week.

            On July 9, 1919, Ingrian activists proclaimed the formation of the Republic of North Ingria and elected a provisional government with pretensions to much of the region between Estonia and Finland that is now in the Russian Federation around St. Petersburg. (For background, see

            To mark this anniversary, Paul Ingrian, who has been forced by Moscow to emigrate, issued an appeal calling for the Ingrians to become “the Fourth Baltic Republic,” reviving all the attributes of independent statehood that they had elaborated in 1919 on the basis of historical traditions (

“The Republic North Ingria,” he continues, “was located on the Karelian isthmus, on portions of the present-day Priozersk and Vyborg districts of Leningrad Oblast” and had a total area of only about 30 square kilometers. The provisional capital of the Ingrian state was the “now already non-existent settlement of Kiryaskalo

Its head and military commander in chief, Georg Elfvengren had a remarkable career: A tsarist colonel from Finland, he later served as a diplomat in Helsinki for the Belarusian Democratic Republic before being shot by the Soviets in 1927. He attacked St. Petersburg several times without success, although his moves led Lenin to move the capital to Moscow.

Finnish leader Karl Gustaf Mannerheim asked Admiral Kolchak to provide support to the Ingria forces but the White Russian leader refused to do so. He wasn’t even willing to recognize the independence of Finland or Estonia and “never recognized Ingria.” Nonetheless, Ingria held out for two years.

Its forces in the field were never defeated but the state ceased to exist as a result of the Tartu Peace Treaty between Soviet Russia and Estonia which defined Ingria as being part of the former. The original Ingrian flag has been carefully preserved in Helsinki’s Military Museum, from which supporters of Ingria hope to retrieve it and erect it over their own country.

Last year, Ingrian says, “Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania marked the centenary of their independence. The fourth independent Baltic Republic must become Ingria. And the flames of freedom which were ignited there 100 years ago burn in Ingria to this day.”

For many, this may seem some kind of fantasy.  But Moscow is taking it completely seriously and in recent months has attacked Ingrian activists, blocked an Ingrian website, and denounced all efforts to discuss the events of 1919-1920 in an honest manner. (See,, and   

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