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Finland (Finnish: Suomi [ˈsuo̯mi] (About this soundlisten); Swedish: Finland [ˈfɪ̌nland] (About this soundlisten), Finland Swedish: [ˈfinlɑnd]), officially the Republic of Finland (Finnish: Suomen tasavalta, Swedish: Republiken Finland (listen to all)), is a Nordic country located in Northern Europe. Finland shares land borders with Sweden to the west, Russia to the east, and Norway to the north and is defined by the Gulf of Bothnia to the west and the Gulf of Finland to the south that are part of the Baltic Sea. Finland has a population of approximately 5.5 million, making it the 25th-most populous country in Europe. With an area of 338,455 square kilometres (130,678 sq mi), Finland is the eighth-largest country in Europe, and the most sparsely populated country in the European Union. Helsinki, the capital of Finland, is the largest city in the country.

Finland is a parliamentary republic consisting of 19 regions and 310 municipalities. The archipelago of the Åland Islands located southwest of the mainland is the only autonomous region of Finland. The climate in Finland varies due to the country's relatively vast latitudinal differences; southern Finland is classified as having a humid continental climate with the rest of the country being characterised by a boreal climate. Finland can be considered to have a mainly boreal forest biome. More than 180,000 Finnish lakes have been recorded, which is why Finland is internationally called "the land of a thousand lakes".

Finland is a top performer in numerous metrics of national performance, including education, economic competitiveness, civil liberties, quality of life, and human development. In 2015, Finland was ranked first in the World Human Capital and the Press Freedom Index and as the most stable country in the world during 2011–2016 in the Fragile States Index, and second in the Global Gender Gap Report. It also ranked first on the World Happiness Report report for 2018, 2019 and 2020.

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Finnish Guards' Rifle Battalion (Finnish: Henkikaartin 3. Suomen Tarkk’ampujapataljoona, Swedish: Livgardets 3:e finska skarpskyttebataljon, Russian: Лейб-гвардии 3-й стрелковый Финский батальон, romanizedLeib-gvardii 3-j strelkovyi Finski bataljon), colloquially known as Guard of Finland (Finnish: Suomen kaarti, Swedish: Finska gardet) was a Finnish military unit during 1829–1905 based in Helsinki. Continuing the legacy of Finnish Training Battalion (1817), it was part of the Imperial Russian Army and the only Finnish unit of the Russian Imperial Guard. Furthermore, for large parts of its history, the battalion was the only operational Finnish military unit. Because of its status as both a national showpiece and as a part of the Imperial Guard, it had a visible role in Finland.

The Finnish Guards' Battalion participated in four campaigns outside Finland. Two of these included actual combat: first in 1831 during the Polish November Uprising and for the second time, in the Balkans front of the Russo-Turkish War. The most famous of the battles it participated in was the battle of Gorni Dubnik in 1877. The unit was also deployed in 1849 to assist in quelling of the Hungarian Uprising and later during the Crimean War to guard the western border of Russia. However, it did not engage in action during these deployments. At the times of peace, the battalion was responsible for guard duty in Helsinki and participated annually in the Russian military exercises in Krasnoye Selo. Read more...
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Prime Minister of Finland Matti Vanhanen

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Paavo Johannes Nurmi (Finnish pronunciation: [ˈpɑːʋo ˈnurmi] (About this soundlisten); 13 June 1897 – 2 October 1973) was a Finnish middle-distance and long-distance runner. He was called the "Flying Finn" or the "Phantom Finn", as he dominated distance running in the early 20th century. Nurmi set 22 official world records at distances between 1500 metres and 20 kilometres, and won nine gold and three silver medals in his twelve events in the Olympic Games. At his peak, Nurmi was undefeated for 121 races at distances from 800 m upwards. Throughout his 14-year career, he remained unbeaten in cross country events and the 10,000 m.

Born into a working-class family, Nurmi left school at the age of twelve to provide for his family. In 1912, he was inspired by the Olympic feats of Hannes Kolehmainen and began developing a strict training program. Nurmi started to flourish during his military service, setting national records en route to his international debut at the 1920 Summer Olympics. After winning a silver medal in the 5000 m, he took gold in the 10,000 m and the cross country events. In 1923, Nurmi became the first runner to hold simultaneous world records in the mile, the 5000 m and the 10,000 m races, a feat which has never since been repeated. He set new world records for the 1500 m and the 5000 m with just an hour between the races, and took gold medals in both distances in less than two hours at the 1924 Olympics. Seemingly unaffected by the Paris heat wave, Nurmi won all his races and returned home with five gold medals, although he was frustrated that Finnish officials had refused to enter him for the 10,000 m. Read more...

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