Imagining a Baltic-Nordic World: A Biography of Aleksander Kesküla

May 12, 2015

Kuldkepp-2015-web2Mart Kuldkepp, Tartu University, is the 2015 recipient of the AABS Emerging Scholar Award. His project is a biography of the Estonian politician Aleksander Kesküla. In Estonia, Kesküla is notorious as one of the most radical leaders of the 1905 revolution, but internationally he is primarily known for being the first to bring Lenin to the attention of the German General Staff in 1914 and for mediating as a German agent between the Germans and the Bolsheviks in their joint attempt at “revolutionizing” Russia. At the same time, Kesküla was also trying to fulfill his own Baltic-Nordic political aims which included drawing Sweden into the First World War on the German side and having it liberate Finland and Estonia from Russia. He imagined that, after the war, Sweden and the other Scandinavian states, Finland and Estonia, would establish a Nordic Union with King of Sweden as its head.

Mart explains how the Emerging Scholar award will support this project:

As documents concerning Kesküla’s activities during World War I are scattered between archival institutions in different countries, it has been a long and arduous task trying to find and collate them. Thanks to various kinds of funding, I have previously been able to conduct archival research in Estonia, Sweden, Finland, USA and Germany. The Emerging Scholar Grant from AABS will allow me to spend more time in Berlin, where most likely the largest number of sources is to be found, and to take time to systematize the information I have already come across. With the help of AABS, I expect to be able to finalize my research in Germany, meaning that a major step towards the biography would be completed.

I am very thankful to AABS for sharing my enthusiasm for this project and contributing towards its realization.