Military Review

How Russia created Finnish statehood. Part of 2

Finland's return

During the Northern War, Peter the Great defeated Sweden decisively. Under the terms of the Nishtadt World 1721, Sweden was inferior to Russia for all time weapons Provinces: Livonia, Estland, Ingria (Izhora land) and part of Karelia with the Vyborg province. Russia also moved the islands of the Baltic Sea - Ezel, Dago and Muhu (Muon), all the islands of the Gulf of Finland. A part of Kexholm District (West Karelia) was moving to Russia. A new line of the Russian-Swedish border was established, which began west of Vyborg and from there went in a northeast direction in a straight line to the old Russian-Swedish border. In Lapland, the Russian-Swedish border remained unchanged.

Sweden twice more, in 1741 — 1743. and 1788 — 1790, tried to take revenge and recover lost territories. However, both times the Swedes were beaten. 19 August 1793 Russia signed the Abossky Peace. Russia was transferred to the province of Kyumenegord with the fortress of Nyslott and the cities of Vilmanstrand and Friedrichsgam. The Russian-Swedish border was distant from St. Petersburg, thereby strengthening the defense of the north-western borders.

Already during the war 1788 — 1790. a significant part of the Finnish nobility adhered to the pro-Russian orientation, considering that life would be better under the rule of Petersburg and wanting to secede from Sweden. Drafts were created on the creation of the Finnish autonomy within the Russian Empire or the Finnish state under its patronage. However, Catherine the Great was engaged in a war with the Ottoman Empire and strategic plans for the Straits and Constantinople, and therefore did not take advantage of the favorable moment. There was an opportunity to seriously curtail possession of Sweden, but Russia did not. Welsh Peace Treaty 3 (14) August 1790 retained the pre-war borders.

The initiator of the next war of Russia and Sweden was England. The fact is that in June 1807, the Russian-French alliance was concluded in Tilsit. The vicious chain of the Russian-French wars was interrupted, in which all the benefits were obtained by Great Britain, which wanted to fight in continental Europe until the last French and Russian soldier. The peace with France was extremely beneficial to Russia - it stopped the unnecessary war for it far beyond its borders, with a state with which it had no fundamental contradictions; received significant territorial increments and even more could get if it retained an alliance with Napoleon.

It is clear that such a union was extremely disadvantageous to England. France released its forces, which she had to strain to fight with Russia, and got the opportunity to return to the plan to strike in England. London's divide-and-conquer policy failed. Naturally, London wanted to punish Petersburg, which did not want to fight for British interests. It was easiest to strike a blow to Russia then through the Baltic. And, as usual, the British did not intend to fight the Russians themselves. The role of "cannon fodder" should have been played by the Swedes.

London struck Denmark, which was then on friendly terms with Russia. The British did not want Denmark to go to the camp of the opponents of England, which gave Napoleon control over the Danish fleet and the Danish Straits, which were of strategic importance, since they closed the exit from the Baltic. The fact that Copenhagen did its best to show its neutrality did not stop the British. In August 1807, the Danes were presented with an ultimatum - to transfer the entire fleet to the British and to give occupation to Zealand, the island on which the capital of Denmark is located. Thus, the British were going to prevent the alliance of Denmark with France. Naturally, the Danes refused. Then the powerful British fleet bombarded the Danish capital with a barbarian bombardment. Half of the city burned down, hundreds of people died. An English landing was landed on the shore. The garrison of Copenhagen laid down its arms, the British captured the entire Danish navy. However, this only angered the Danes. Denmark entered into an alliance with France and officially joined the continental blockade. Denmark was an ally of France until 1814, when Napoleon's empire was defeated.

Russia also entered the war with England, offended by the barbaric attack on the allied Denmark and forced to take this step by the conditions of the Peace of Tilzi. True, there was no real fighting between Russia and England, except for minor incidents at sea. In reality, England fought Russia with the hands of Sweden. The British government concluded an alliance with Sweden in February 1808, and pledged to pay the Swedes 1 million pounds sterling monthly, while Stockholm fights with Russia. In addition, London promised to provide 14-th to Stockholm. auxiliary corps, which was supposed to defend the western borders and ports of Sweden, while the entire Swedish army was sent to the eastern front, for war with Russia. The British also promised to send a large fleet to the Baltic Sea, which was to ensure control of the Baltic. The bait was Norway, which England promised to give to Sweden.

Formally, the Swedes themselves gave a reason to start the war. 1 (13) February 1808, the Swedish king Gustav IV, informed the Russian ambassador in Stockholm that reconciliation between Sweden and Russia is impossible as long as the Russians hold Eastern Finland. In addition, Stockholm refused to keep the Baltic Sea closed to the English fleet, which he had to do under the 1780 and 1800 contracts, and was preparing to seize Norway, which belonged to the Danes. The Russian emperor responded to this challenge by declaring war.

Russian troops successfully crushed the Swedish forces on land and at sea, occupied the whole of Finland. By March, 1809, the Russian troops occupied the Aland Islands on ice and entered Sweden proper. The British could not provide real military assistance to Sweden. All their successes at sea were limited to the destruction of one battleship (Vsevolod) and a boat. Sweden was on the verge of a complete military-political catastrophe. So, Napoleon even offered Alexander to join all of Sweden into Russia, having liquidated this kingdom.

March 13, a coup d'état occurred in Sweden, Gustav IV Adolf was removed from power. The royal authority was received by his uncle, the Duke of Südermanland, and the aristocratic party surrounding him. The duke came to the throne under the name of Charles XIII. 1809 (5) September The 17 peace treaty was concluded in Friedrichsgam. By its terms: 1809) Sweden was forever inferior to the Russian Empire for the whole of Finland (up to the Kem River) and part of Västerbotten to the Tornio River and the whole of Finland's Lapland; 1) the border of Russia and Sweden now passed along the rivers Tornio and Munio and further north along the Munioniski-Enonteki-Kilpisjärvi line to the border with Norway; 2) islands on the border rivers that were located west of the fairway departed Sweden, to the east - Russia; 3) Aland Islands were ceded to Russia. The border to the sea was in the middle of the Gulf of Bothnia and the Aland Sea; 4) Sweden adopted a continental blockade and closed its ports for English ships.

Grand Duchy of Finland (1900)

Finishing Finland

More 12 February 1808, the appeal of the Russian emperor Alexander to the Finns was published. The document was compiled by the commander-in-chief of the army in Finland, F. F. Buksgevden, and the head of his diplomatic office, G. M. Sprengtporten. Sprengtporten still under Catherine II cherished plans for the separation of Finland from Sweden with the help of Russia. He wanted to create an independent state, which would be under the auspices of Russia.

Sprengtporten and Buksgevden held different views on the future of Finland. Buxgewden sought to annex Finland to Russia as an ordinary province. Sprengtporten was a supporter of creating the most autonomous Finland, and he was able to push through his plan. When a deputation from Finland arrived in the Russian capital, Sprengtporten managed to ensure that the deputies were informed about the intentions of the emperor to convene a Diet. 16 March 1808, the emperor Alexander I declared that Finland is recognized as an area that has been conquered with Russian weapons and forever joins the Russian Empire. These provisions were enshrined in the manifesto of 20 March 1808, "On the conquest of Swedish Finland and on joining it forever to Russia." From the manifesto it followed that Finland joined Russia as an ordinary province. However, in the highest charter of 15 in March 1809, Alexander recognized Finland as “religion, indigenous laws, rights and advantages, with which every state of this principality ... according to their constitutions they used to this day ...”. In fact, the act of 15 March, March 1809, limited autocratic power in Finland.

It was a conscious decision of the emperor. Alexander wanted to "give this people a political existence, that he was considered not to be enslaved by Russia, but tied to it with his own benefits." Alexander took the title of Grand Duke of Finland and included it in the imperial title. The term “Grand Duchy of Finland” first appeared in the Code of Laws, which was composed by a liberal-speaking activist M. M. Speransky. In fact, he used the name of Finland, which was given to her as part of the Swedish kingdom in 1581.

The Bolsheviks, and behind them the Russian liberals liked to call Russia a "prison of nations." However, if Russia is the “prison of nations”, then the West is their “graveyard”. It must be remembered that Russia was a completely unusual empire. The entire burden of the “imperial burden” was borne by the Russian people and some other nations, who became part of the super-ethnos of the Rus, while a number of marginal or underdeveloped nations were able to preserve their way of life, the laws. At the same time, they used all the achievements of the empire - external security, internal peace, access to education, medicine, technical achievements, etc.

Since the time of Peter Alekseevich Romanov, the Russian monarchs began to preserve the old order in a number of territories that were annexed to the empire. They were protected from unification and Russification. This affected the Baltic possessions - Estland, Kurland, then part of the Crimea, created from scratch the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Finland (this gesture of goodwill did not force St. Petersburg to do). Later, autonomy was retained in the Central Asian possessions. Not only did the population of these territories retain internal autonomy, their previous laws, rules and regulations, but also received new benefits. All this was never dreamed of by residents of the internal provinces of Russia. Thus, serfdom in the Baltic States was abolished much earlier than in the rest of the Russian Empire. Residents of national suburbs had privileges in the tax and customs sphere, they were not called up for military service, and had the opportunity not to take troops to the standstill. In fact, some areas were “free economic zones,” and even had political autonomy.

Under Alexander I, a Finnish bank was established. At the head of local administrative institutions put the governing council (from 1816, the Imperial Finnish Senate). Alexander II made the royal gift to the Finns - he transferred the Vyborg gubernia to the Grand Duchy, which was attached to Russia under Peter Alekseevich. It seemed that this is a purely formal gesture, which has no special implication, since Finland was part of the Russian Empire. But later this event had serious and sad consequences for Russia (the need for war). A similar gesture will be made much later by Khrushchev, who will give Ukraine the Crimea.

During the times of the Russian emperors of the XIX century, some chivalry and naivety flourished. In Russia, it was believed that the population of the new regions would be infinitely grateful and would remain forever faithful to the Russian throne. Russian rulers deliberately refused to integrate and Russify new lands. This policy quickly gave several serious failures. For example, in the Crimea and Poland, when, under the threat of losing these territories, the Russian government was forced to take some measures to reduce the autonomy of these suburbs and integrate them into the imperial space. However, these measures were insufficient, halfway and inconsistent. For example, in Poland and the lands that formerly belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth (Western Russian regions), after a series of uprisings, they tried to carry out measures aimed at reducing the influence of Catholicism, the Polish language, culture, etc. But they were insufficient and they were not brought to logical end.

In Finland, separatist sentiments were not noted at the beginning. Thus, the population and leading circles during the Eastern (Crimean) War remained loyal to Russia. In fact, Finland within the Russian Empire was a regional autonomy. Autonomy was very wide and almost bordered on a dynastic union. For almost the entire XIX century, no procedure was developed for the introduction of general imperial laws on the territory of the Grand Duchy, the exercise of the sovereign rights of imperial power in Finland. This gave intellectuals, lawyers, and various public figures ample opportunities to interpret the legal status of the principality within Russia.

In the second half of the XIX century, the autonomous status of the Grand Duchy was further strengthened. The Senate in 1869 received permission to independently resolve some local affairs. The Sejm under Alexander II received the right of legislative initiative. Alexander III began work on the integration of the customs, postal and monetary systems of Finland with the general imperial system, but did not manage to complete the work begun. Under Nicholas II, they also tried to integrate Finland, but it was slow: it was necessary for the rise of the national liberation movement of the Finns. The collapse of the Russian Empire led to the formation of an independent Finland.
Articles from this series:
How Russia created Finnish statehood
How Russia created Finnish statehood. Part of 2
Finland in alliance with the Kaiser Germany against Russia
Finland in alliance with Kaiser Germany against Russia. Part of 2
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  1. Siberian German
    Siberian German April 24 2014 08: 34
    That’s Mlyn’s truth — GREAT ENEMIES FOR RUSSIA THAN England and all the Anglo-Saxons are not — they either fought with us but more often set others
    CIANIT April 24 2014 08: 37
    What kind of empire is this, when the whole burden of social oppression lies not on the conquered peoples, but on the Russians themselves. This is at least stupid. Nah such an empire. Moreover, as history has shown, no one said thanks for this, but even vice versa.
  3. I_VOIN_I
    I_VOIN_I April 24 2014 09: 55
    It’s sad. It is necessary to educate the local population with a view to respect and gratitude to the Russian people.
    And then forever, we are generous, but it turns out some garbage.
  4. Mareman Vasilich
    Mareman Vasilich April 24 2014 11: 21
    No panic. Our power and more than a thousand years of experience are hidden in this. And this is exactly what the Anglo-Saxons are afraid of, and this is what they want to destroy, erase from memory.
  5. washi
    washi April 24 2014 20: 57
    The Bolsheviks, and behind them the Russian liberals, loved to call Russia "a prison of peoples."
    No need to cheat.
    The first such term was called by K. Marx., And the liberals continued.
    The Bolsheviks proclaimed the equality of peoples because of the increased nationalism of the Russian suburbs.
    Imperial Russia treated all peoples differentially. For example: Asians were not drafted into the army, because of this, the Kazakhs are still offended by Russia.