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Memorial to the Battle of Ruskeala

Memorial to the Battle of Ruskeala

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The Battle of Ruskeala is one of the main events of the Swedish-Russian War of 1788-1790. It was the only significant clash between the Swedish-Finnish and Russian troops in Karelia.

Ruskeala was an important military base on the Russian side of the border and was fortified by the construction of the fortress wall along the perimeter, on which the artillery was placed.

The Swedish forces in the area were commanded by Major Hans Henrik Gripenberg. In mid-May 1789, he received information that the Russians had concentrated in Ruskeala more than a thousand men with the intention of attacking from there the Swedish side. Gripenberg decided to preempt the Russians, by surprising the Russians in their own positions. For the attack, he had at his disposal 200 Tavastian and 100 Karelian Jägers under his own command, as well as 50 Tavastian and 150 Karelian Jägers, 20 Savonian Rangers and 20 Savonian Jägers under the command of Captain Otto Fredrik Wetterhoff.

On May 17, 1789 Major Gripenberg's forces attacked the enemy and began a battle, forced the Russians to first retreat from their positions to the their fortification, and when it turned to fire from the artillery bombardment, to flee to the nearby forest. But at this moment, Gripenberg himself had been wounded, is artillery ammunition was running out and the Swedish-Finnish forces retreated to their side of the border. So the battle did not change the positions of the opposing troops in any way.

Memorial to the Battle of Ruskeala was unveiled on May 18, 1939 in front of a Lutheran Church.

The monument, designed by sculptor Oiva Helenius, appeared a marble fortress wall about 5 meters high, with a 2-meter-high relief on the front. Relief depicted a Finnish peasant warrior defending his native land. Below placed a text plate with the words:

”At this place Finnish warriors fought for their freedom in 1789. Monument was erected by grateful descendants in 1939.”

In March 1940, relief was evacuated across the new border line to Kitee.

On June 19, 1942, a new unveiling ceremony of restored memorial to the Battle of Ruskeala took place.

The fate of monument is unknown since the end of the Continuation War.

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