The aim of the study is to map the development of the Finnish he perception of the Russians and the Russian Empire during the Russian rule of the Grand Duchy of Finland between 1809 and 1917. In the course of the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, the territory of today’s Finland became a component of the Western civilization circle and its eastern borders became the utmost boundary, beyond which according to Finns there was only barbarism and chaos. The Finnish perception of themselves as a part of the civilized West was then to a significant degree built precisely on the contrast to the barbaric East, but this concept had to be re-evaluated after 1809 when the Grand Duchy of Finland became a component of the Russian Empire. Just changing the perception of the age-old enemy and orientation to the new capital city of Saint Petersburg can be an interesting example of adaptation to the newly emerging conditions and acclimatisation to the current political reality. However, the relationship with the Czarist empire was another change at the turn of the 20th century, this time for the worse. At this point, however, the Finns were a self-confident and fully developed nation that refused to accept the limitations of autonomy and russification of their country. There followed almost two decades of passive resistance and political struggle against the Russian government, which only ended with the revolution in 1917.