The Karelians (also Karels, Russian Karelians and East Karelians) are a Baltic-Finnic ethnic group living mostly in the Republic of Karelia and in other north-western parts of the Russian Federation. The historic homeland of Karelians includes also parts of present-day Eastern Finland (North Karelia) and the formerly Finnish territory of Ladoga Karelia. In a process starting during the 17th century and culminating after the Second World War, the ethnic Karelians in Finland have been linguistically and ethnically assimilated with the closely related Finnish people and are included in the wider group of Finnish Karelians, who are considered to form a sub-group of the ethnic Finns. The separation between the Finnish Karelians and the Russian or East Karelians has been created and maintained by different religions, dialects and historical experiences.
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