Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Predecessor State Of Modern Finland: Grand Duchy Of Finland

Grand Duchy of Finland existed between 1809 and 1917 as an autonomous part of the Russian Empire.

Since the thirteenth century, Finland had been under Swedish rule, administered by Swedish speaking nobles and bureaucrats. In the early 14th century Novgorod (Russia) and Sweden battled in Finland and consequently by 1323, western and southern parts of Finland were merged with Sweden and the eastern part of Finland, Karelia, became part of the Russo-Byzantine world.

Resulting from the successful military efforts of Alexander I of Russia (1777–1825) in 1809, Finland became a part of the Russian empire. As part of the Russian empire, Finns were promised autonomy under the Russian tsars and became Grand Duchy of Finland.

Emperor of Russia, Tsar Alexander I convinced of the strategic need to control Finland for the protection of his capital at St. Petersburg. He determined it was more expedient to woo his Finnish subjects to allegiance than to subjugate them by force. He granted it an autonomous status within the empire.

The Grand Duchy of Finland became part of Russia through personal union as an autonomous region of the Empire with its own government, parliament, currency and army.

The situation changed already during the rule of Alexander III. In 1890, Alexander III initiated a series of efforts aimed at bringing Finland under tighter Russian control. After Alexander’s death and the accession of Nicholas II (1868–1918) to the throne, period of Russification continued and expanded throughout the Russian empire including Finland. In 1899 when Finnish legislation came under the purview of the Russian government, it started the first “years of oppression”.

Finland take advantage of the October Revolution to break away from Russia and announced independence on 6 December 1917. These events were accompanied by a severe political crisis and on January 27/28, 1918, civil war finally erupted. The Red Guards took control capital of Finland, Helsinki and declared a revolutionary government, the People’s Commission (Kansanvaltuuskunta), headed by Kullervo Manner (1880–1939).
Predecessor State Of Modern Finland: Grand Duchy Of Finland

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