The prehistory of this tragedy is as follows: in 1809, Finland, which was previously a Swedish province, became part of the Russian Empire (based on union and with the status of the Grand Duchy of Finland, ICF). The principality gained wide internal and external autonomy. Finland had its own parliament - the Finnish Diet. This legislative assembly included heads of noble and knightly families, Lutheran bishops and presbyters, representatives of cities and peasants. His competence included legislation in the field of internal affairs. Without the consent of the Seimas, the emperor could not introduce or abolish laws and taxes.
The Finns were also exempted from compulsory military service. Under Swedish rule, the status of the Finns was low. The absolute majority of them are peasants and fishermen, residents of farms. An educated class, merchants, city dwellers, nobles were represented by Swedes and Germans. Under the rule of the Russian Empire, the situation began to change. And by the middle of the nineteenth century in some cities of the principality Finnish residents accounted for more than half of the population.
As a gesture of goodwill, Emperor Alexander I singled out the territory of Vyborg and the surrounding lands from the Russian Empire proper and annexed them to the Grand Duchy of Finland.
The development of Finnish identity and national culture began in the 20s. Not without the participation of the Swedish layer, dreaming of revanchism. Nationalist and separatist sentiments began to form.
Their apogee was the participation of Finnish volunteers in the hostilities of the First World War on the side of Kaiser Germany against Russia. In the future, these volunteers, nicknamed "Finnish Jaegers", played a particularly dark role in the ethnic cleansing that swept the territory of the former principality.
After the February revolution of 1917, when the disbanded police ceased to maintain order, spontaneously self-defense detachments began to appear almost throughout Finland, as “white” - bourgeois-nationalist, called “Finnish Security Corps” (Šutskor), and “Red” - detachments Finnish Red Guard, international in both ideology and composition. Although by virtue of the mononationality of the country in these formations, most were also Finnish.
The Russian population of Finland, which is rather small and located in large cities, was split. Moreover, the majority of the Russian-speaking residents of the principality belonged to wealthy and educated estates and, because of this, at first sympathized with the “white”, that is, Schützkor. The military units of the Russian Imperial Army, which were stationed a lot on the territory of the All-Union Communist Party, were disintegrated and demoralized by that time, and if the soldiers were sympathetic with red under the influence of Bolshevik propaganda, then a significant part of the officers, guided by the “class approach”, sympathized with the Schützkor, believing that and really "white", the same as the Russian counter-revolutionaries.
Based on this, they helped the Finnish Guard Corps to disarm parts of the Russian army and capture weapons arsenals.
However, schutzkorovtsy were guided not only and not so much by the class, as by frankly nationalistic, chauvinistic approach. They proclaimed the construction of not only independent, but also “ethnically pure” Finland, the borders of which should be moved apart to the Urals.
Back in April 1918, the Finnish Senate decided to expel all Russian subjects from the country, and during the spring-summer around 20 000 Russians and Russian-speaking (that is, almost all) were turned out.
At this time, in the Finnish media it was possible to read such appeals: “If we love our country, we need to learn to hate its enemies ... Therefore, in the name of our honor and freedom, let our motto sound:“ Hate and love! The death of “Ryuss” [the Finnish contempt for Russians], even if they are red, even white! ”Or:“ Russia has always been and will forever remain the enemy of humanity and humane development. Was there ever a benefit from the existence of the Russian people for humanity? Not!"
The Finnish historian Karemaa argues that this was due to the need of the new authorities of the former principality in the “external enemy”: “During the Finnish Civil War, white fossil rumophobia seemed to be a desire for whites to become Russian scapegoats for all cruelty and thereby justify their own the ideas ... The cruel truth about the fratricidal war was attempted to disguise the alleged ideological struggle in defense of Western culture from the Russians, who were declared to be sworn enemies ... ”
Like it or not, in Finland ethnic cleansing began, which were the most ferocious in the places of compact residence of the Slavic population. Perhaps, having destroyed it, the nationalists hoped to consolidate their “rights” to the disputed territories.
Russians were killed regardless of their political sympathies and class affiliation. Thus, in Tampere, captured by Xuczor people 6 on April 1918, about 200 Russian civilians were killed.
But the most terrible tragedy occurred in Vyborg, in the most “Russian” city of the All-Union Video Festival, which was occupied by the militants of the Security Corps and the huntsmen of 29 on April 1918 of the year.
The massacre of its inhabitants, as well as of the captured Red Guards began immediately.
Many Russian residents came out to meet, as they believed, their liberators from the Reds. But they came from the fire, but into the fire.
Entering Vyborg, the members of the “Security Corps” and the huntsman seized all the Russians that they found on the streets: officers, officials, gymnasium students ... They were led to the Friedricham gate, behind which those who were seized were waiting for death.
According to information provided by the former caretaker of the church, Yuho Kochetov, a Russian officer who lived in Vyborg on the day of the capture of the city "with a bouquet in his hands and in uniform went to greet the White Guards, but was shot instead."
Another eyewitness described what was happening in Vyborg: “... near the house of the Pimenovs, two realists were killed, who ran out in uniform to greet the“ whites ”; 3 cadet killed in the city; the red "white" surrendered in captivity were cordoned off and driven into the moat; at the same time, part of the crowd that used to be on the streets was finished in the moat and in other places without any discussion or talk. ... Before being shot, people broke the clock, rings, took wallets, pulled off boots, clothes, etc. ... Russian officers ... relatives then looked for them in piles of bodies in the moat: they even turned off their clothes. ”
A Catonian witness to the tragedy told the following: “... the“ whites ”rushed into the city with shouts of“ shoot the Russians ”. They broke into apartments, grabbed and killed, took the people to the ramparts and shot ... They dealt mainly with men, but there were also children. ”
Father Mikhail Uspensky, the archpriest of the Vyborg Cathedral, testified: “Along with many hundreds of Russian families in the city of Vyborg and my family suffered a terrible misfortune. Three of my nephews, whom I raised as my children (they were orphans): Grigory Alexandrovich Mikhailov 23 years, Andrei Aleksandrovich Mikhailov 20 years and Peter Aleksandrovich Mikhailov 18 years, died in vain and innocent victims by the White Guards. On the first day of the White Guard’s entry into Vyborg, they took their documents and went to register with the White Guard bosses. Without knowing any guilt behind them, they boldly and trustfully walked, confident of the nobility and regularities of the actions of the White Guard. And they paid dearly for their trust. Without any guilt, they were shot by the White Guards. My wife found them then behind the Friedrichs Gate in the common pile of Russian martyrs. ”
Modern researcher, Swede Lars Westerlund released a book-study on this tragedy. It is called “We were waiting for you as liberators, and you brought death to us ...” In this work, he collected many testimonies and memories of witnesses and participants in the tragedy.
“The youngest of those killed were 12-year-old Sergey Bogdanov and 13-year-old Alexander Chubikov, who were shot between the ramparts. 14-year-old son of a worker Nikolai Gavrilov disappeared. Perhaps this was the very boy Impi Lempinen spoke of: “I again fell into the group where they spoke Russian in a whisper, there were many Russians. There was also my friend 14-year-old boy who spoke Russian, who was born in Vyborg. One monster rushed to the group with a branch of lapnik on a hat and shouted: “Don't you know all Russians are being killed?” Then this young boy laid bare his chest and shouted: “There is one Russian here, shoot.” The monster took out his weapon and shot, the dead boy was a brave Russian. "
It should be noted that the book provides evidence not only of eyewitnesses, but also of direct participants in war crimes.
One of them, a soldier Oscary Petenius, said: “One of the prisoners tried to escape, and he was shot dead in the middle of the road. When all the prisoners passed through the first gate of the fortifications, they were ordered to stand in the left part of the fortress ditch so as to form a right angle. When the prisoners approached there, the guard soldiers surrounded them. The narrator heard how they were given the order to shoot, but did not know who ordered. ” There was no way for the prisoners to escape. All of them were shot from rifles, hand weapons, or [killed] with grenades. Petenius also took part in the execution, firing five rifle shots. Captain Mikko Turunen, who saw all the commander of Vyborg shchyutskor, said: “... they were shot between the ditches, where there was already a part of the shot, and some just about that few Russians were shot, Approximately one hundred Finnish soldiers were shot, among whom were officers. According to the narrator’s observations, it turned out that they first fired crossfire with rifles, then the executioners descended down into the ditch and finished off the prisoners left behind one after the other. ”
An attorney from the city of Vaasa Östa Breklund, who personally participated in the execution, told about the incident: “The prisoners were placed in a ditch so that they formed a right angle. The guards were ordered to line up in front of the prisoners and shoot. The soldiers who were at the beginning of the procession began to shoot first, then all the others, including the narrator (…). Almost immediately, as soon as they started shooting, most of the prisoners fell to the ground. Despite this, the shooting lasted about five more minutes. On the ramparts there were military, rangers (...). After some time, a man in German chasseur uniform ordered rifles to be raised, and the fire stopped, after which the men came closer to the dead. Then, at first, two of them, one of whom was in German jaeger uniform, began to shoot from the revolver at the heads of the wounded, but still living people. Gradually, others joined them. ”
“... The spectacle was indescribably awful. The bodies of the executed lay like horrible, who was in what position. The walls of the shafts were painted on one side by caked blood. It was impossible to move between the shafts, the earth turned into a bloody mess. Search could not be considered. No one could inspect such piles of bodies. ”
Most of the victims were in the first three days, although the executions continued throughout May and half of June. The last documented fact of violence on ethnic grounds was 16 June 1918. The exact number of victims of this genocide is unknown, but according to the researchers, it could be from 3 to 5 thousand people.
It should be noted that the Finnish nationalists were not going to limit themselves to Vyborg. I do not know how seriously they hoped to reach the Urals, but they intended to capture Karelia, the Kola Peninsula, and Petrograd, and for some time they even managed to capture considerable territories that had never been part of the ICF.
Young Soviet Republic, reflecting the Finnish aggression, led three defensive wars in 1919-1922.
It is noteworthy that this was one of the few cases when the positions of the Russians of the Reds and Whites coincided.
The White Guard command, using its ties with the Entente, made considerable efforts to stop the Finnish offensive in Karelia and in the present Leningrad Region, believing that this enemy is more terrible than the Reds.
White Rear Admiral Pilkin wrote in 1919 that if the Finns took Petrograd, then “with a well-known hatred of the Russians, their butcher character ... they would destroy, shoot and cut all our officers, right and wrong, intelligentsia, youth, gymnasium students, the cadets — everyone they can, as they did when they took Vyborg from the Reds. ”
One of the leaders of the anti-Bolshevik Petrograd underground, the Tagantsy, said the same thing: “None of us wanted the Finns to go to Petrograd. We remembered the massacre of Russian officers along with the red rebels. ”
I met at one of historical forums comparing the Vyborg massacre with the tragedy of Nanking, a Chinese city that was in the grip of the Japanese soldiers, which in 1937 exterminated its population for six weeks.
These two terrible historical events are also related to the fact that they did not receive a proper assessment of the world community. Recall that defeated Japan did not pass the procedure corresponding to that in Germany called denacification.
As for Finland, they try to present it, sometimes even in modern Russian historiography, as an innocent victim of a totalitarian “red empire” that encroached on its sovereignty and freedom. Suffice it to recall the attempt to establish in St. Petersburg a memorial plaque to Karl Mannerheim, who led those who killed the inhabitants of Vyborg and Tampere.
In Finland itself, the executioners of Vyborg are considered heroes of the national liberation struggle. In preparation for celebrating the centenary of Finland’s independence this year, the Ministry of Finance of this country issued a commemorative coin, which depicts a scene of people being shot by a crowder, perhaps, vyborzhan.
To the credit of the Finnish people, this step of the country's leadership has caused outrage among many citizens of the country and members of parliament. Finance Minister Petteri Orpo had to apologize and promise that the coin would not be put into circulation.
However, despite this victory of common sense and moral principles, there are many in Suomi and those who are trying to impose frantic Russophobia on society, including by manipulating historical facts.