No. There was no Finnish language in adminstration, public institutions, education and cultural life before arrival of Russians. Finnish was language of peasantry. Overwhelming majority of Finns (peasants and lowe clergy some 80% of society) spoke only Finnish, but  newspapers, belles-lettres and political leaflets was almost exclusively in Swedish – when not in French.

The emergence of Finnish to predominance resulted from a 19th-century surge of Finnish nationalism, aided by Russian bureaucrats attempting to separate Finns from Sweden and to ensure the Finns’ loyalty.

In 1892 Finnish finally became an equal official language and gained a status comparable to that of Swedish. Nevertheless, the Swedish language continued to be the language of culture, arts and business all the way to 1920s.


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