Lasse Jari Mäkelä
Member of Uralican Tribal Council
| Assumed office|
18 March 2008
Treasurer of the Uralicist Movement
| In office|
18 March 2007 – 1 October 2007
|Succeeded by||Matti Koppinen|
Chair, Department of Finnish Language and Literature, Uralikan Yliopisto
| Assumed office|
1 April 2008
|Born|| 25 March 1965|
|Children||Toni, Jaakko, and Maikki Mäkelä|
|Alma mater||University of Helsinki|
|Religion||Uralican Evangelical Baptist Christian|
Dr. Lasse Jari Mäkelä (born 25 March 1965, Tornio, Finland) is a Uralican professor, author, politician, and linguist, and was one of the four founding members of the Uralicist Movement. He is also among twenty Uralican Tribal Council members that have never failed to be elected.
Lasse Mäkelä was born to Petri and Riita Mäkelä in the large town of Tornio in northern Finland in 1965, and grew up on his family's farm just outside the city. His days in school were little out of the ordinary for any Finnish boy - he did fairly well in school, especially where his writing skill was concerned, he enjoyed playing ice hockey, and in his late teens, he developed an interest in car racing, even participating in a small rally race in 1984, which he crashed out of.
It was his writing that caught the attention of one of Europe's most prestigious universities, that is, the University of Helsinki. When he started university in the fall of 1983, his intent was to do a major in Finnish Language, which included literature. By the time he finished in the spring of 1989, he had completed a double-major in Finnish and English languages, done a semester of exchange in Canada at Dalhousie University in Halifax, then Nova Scotia, and competed in varsity ice hockey while maintaining a high GPA. He had met Riita Rantanen in his English classes. She was a sweet but shy young lady from Pori, who had a knack for poetic language in her own writings. They began dating in 1985.
He took time off of school in the latter half of 1989 to spend time with his girlfriend, to whom he proposed the day after his graduation. They were married in the spring of 1990, just as Lasse was gearing up to go back to school, this time in the United States. He had received a massive scholarship to the University of Michigan, where he would study for a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing. Although his schoolwork was submitted in English, he translated everything he felt he did well on into Finnish and sent it to U of H to be proofread and submitted to a publisher.
But at home, the family was falling on hard times because of the plummeting economy, so Lasse brought his family over after he had completed his first year of studies. They did not return to Finland until 1994, and their first child, son Toni Mäkelä, was born in Ann Arbor in 1992, making him an American citizen until the Cataclysm forced the dissolution of the United States.
Having received his MFA, Lasse began taking an interest in the way languages work because of comments made to him by a linguist during his time at the University of Michigan. Just to get a brief taste of linguistics, he enrolled in a summer program at Moody Bible College. Then a practicing Lutheran, Mäkelä found the subject matter to be incredibly fascinating, as it shed new light on his own language, on English, and on many of the languages he had been exposed to as a child, such as Swedish, Russian, and the Saami languages.
Upon returning to Finland that fall, he applied to do a second undergraduate degree, this time in linguistics, and he fast-tracked himself at U of H, completing the degree in 1998. Riita, in the meantime, began being published herself, and the two made a fair bit of money from their writings, making whatever else they needed by teaching Finnish composition in a high school in nearby Vantaa.
Their second son, Jaakko, was born in 1997, and their daughter Maikki was born in 1999, just as Lasse began studying for his PhD in Finnish at U of H. Upon completion of his degree in 2002, he was hired by the institute and taught there until the events leading up to the Cataclysm made him turn in his resignation and take his family from Helsinki to his hometown of Tornio. This proved to be a good move, as Helsinki was devastated by the Cataclysm events.
The coming of the Robertian era proved something of a challenge for Mäkelä, as a return of Communism to the east and the dissolution of the United States in the west meant he would have to keep his beliefs at least partially hidden. But after the foundation of the CCC, he went back to the since-rebuilt Helsinki, which is where he found out about persecution of ethnic Uralics in Old Russia. He and a few fellow academics staged a protest there, but were arrested on trumped-up charges, only to have their charges completely picked apart by Robertian legal experts. They were released with a warning after about a week, but Lasse was still discontented with the situation.
He was given his old job back, but only lasted one and a half semesters before he abruptly quit upon hearing of the death of a Karelian shopkeeper in Käkisalmi at the hands of a mob of extremists. He had heard about a movement in the academic community to try and stamp out the persecution, however it was relatively disorganised. He had received an invitation in the mail from a man named Vaido Kuik who had heard about his time in jail and had been in contact with him by e-mail from the University of Tartu, and hired a private airplane to take him and his family to Syktyvkar.
It was there that, on 18 March 2007, he would meet Kuik and two other accomplices of his - Dr. Yevgeny Kolpakov, a Russo-Mari from Yoshkar-Ola who lost his tenure because of his Uralic heritage, and Meri Vanhanen, a Karelian counsellor who was actually involved in the case where Lasse was jailed. Together, they made official the founding of the Uralicist Movement, just as Great War III was emerging.
What they would see in the next three months would horrify them, as the Uralic Purges went into full swing, causing nearly ten million people to be forced from their homes, and just over a hundred thousand deaths.
At first, the movement was small, with only fifty members or so after the first month, all in either Syktyvkar (where most of them were) or Ukhta (a small cell led by Nikolay Shevchuk had started there). He would become the Movement's first treasurer due to the fact that he'd had more experience with money than anyone else in the group. Russo-Udmurt Jew Ovdey Shlomov joined up in April and quickly earned Lasse's trust.
Lasse returned the favour by contacting some of his academic friends back home in Finland, which started a chain reaction of phone calls and e-mails that ended with the FCO completely backing the Movement. This happened in mid-April. The movement slowly grew, and eventually even Lasse's oldest son, 15-year-old Toni, began getting involved.
Although the Purges were brought to a halt by June due to outside pressures from the Christian churches, CCC, FCO, and NpO, persecution continued, although not on as great a scale. But on 1 July 2007, the entire movement came out of hiding after the Kosov Address on worldwide Russian-language television. Lasse and his family were invited to live with a well-to-do Komi family in the small town of Adzherom, where he remained until Uralica's foundation.
He met Jarkko Salomäki for the first time in mid-August. The two became fast friends with their mutual love of the Finnish language, although at times Lasse found Jarkko's speech hard to understand when he spoke Sointula Finnish.
Still, the two became close friends, and eventually, Lasse nominated Jarkko for the post of President, which was seconded by Kuik, the original President, and passed with a large majority.
Mäkelä was uninvolved in the Syktyvkar Riots, but did partake in the Three-Day Revolution. When Uralica was founded, he was the second person to sign the constitution, which was something of a symbolic gesture suggested by Salomäki since Lasse was also the second person to sign the Uralicist Movement's charter.
After Uralica's foundation, Mäkelä had all his funds from Finland wire-transferred to the local bank (which would later become an Ykköspankki branch) and had his older brother sell his Helsinki home on his behalf. Using the funds from the sale, he bought a home in the Ezhva district of Syktyvkar, and he and his family live there to this day.
When Uralikan Yliopisto was founded in April 2008, Lasse jumped at the opportunity to teach there, and was made the first chair of the Department of Finnish Language and Literature, a department he still chairs. He and Riita both still write, and they were baptised by immersion not long after Uralica was founded, after which they became voting members of their local UEB church. His eldest son, Toni, recently began attending UY's Main Campus, where he is currently figuring his major out.
- Besides himself and his wife, his favourite non-Biblical author is J.R.R. Tolkien.
- He prefers classic rock to post-grunge and heavy metal, but has no qualms about listening to "metalised" classical music, and is a regular patron of the Uralican Symphony Orchestra.
- His favourite professional sports team is Syktyvkarsky RMS (handball), because his second-oldest, Jaakko, plays for their U-15 squad. He is also a casual fan of FK Syktyvkar.
- His favourite movie is The Fear Factory: The Untold Story.
- His wife is a massive ice-hockey fan, supporting Ässät Pori and HK Syktyvkar.
- Like Jarkko Salomäki, his property borders on Huuhkaja National Park.