The story of how the administration of the Russian empire became acquainted with Scandinavianism is usually told from a Nordic perspective. This angle tends to simplify the nature of its Eastern neighbour and replicate its image produced in the contemporary public sphere in the attempts of analytical reading. Instead, I propose to examine internal imperial negotiations on Scandinavianism that were launched in different administrative institutions and restricted public spheres in the 1840s−60s. My question is how the empire perceived this idea, what were its reference points and what mechanisms were designed to outbalance the vision of the united Scandinavia, given Finland featured in the imaginaries of politically consolidated North. The story of Scandinavianism told from its own frontier sheds light on the unpredictable ways of how another political and cultural space made sense of it. I engage with archival materials stored in Russia and Finland to reveal sophisticated dynamics of imperial rule that implicated its variegated reactions towards the pan-Scandinavian movement.