Monday, May 17, 2010

My father was in Helsingfors during the rioting

The Finnish question is to Russia much what the Irish question has been to England. Successive Tsars have sought to deprive the Finns of the liberties they were granted when, in 1809, their country was finally annexed to Russia. The Russian language was forced on the people, and Russian officials overran the country. Nicholas II. promulgated a new military law soon after his accession, which aimed at incorporating the Finnish forces in the Russian army, whilst further steps were taken to override the Finnish Diet. Matters culminated in 1905, when Finland went "on strike," and quickly forced the Russian Government to give way. My father was in Helsingfors during the rioting, and was able to be of inconsiderable assistance in putting the views of the Finns before the Emperor. Not only was the Diet allowed to meet again, but it was permitted to remodel the constitution. Universal suffrage was brought in, and women, for the first time,were elected members of Parliament and took their seats in the Diet. Unfortunately, though, some three years before the outbreak of the present war there was further friction, and efforts were made to curtail the power of the Diet and override its decisions. Some of its more prominent members were banished to Siberia.

1 comment:

Leena Lumi said...

In spite of all doings, which Nikolai II made happen, read the book: Edward Radzinski/ Viimeinen tsaari, Nikolai II:n elämä ja kuolema.