- Russification of Finland
The Russification of Finland (1899-1905, 1908-1917, "sortokaudet/sortovuodet" (times/years of oppression) in Finnish) was a governmental policy of the
Russian Empireaimed at the termination of Finland’s autonomy. It was a part of a larger policy of Russificationpursued by late 19th-early 20th century Russian governments which tried to abolish cultural and administrative autonomy of non-Russian minoritieswithin the empire. The policy included the following measures:
February Manifesto of 1899was a decreeby Emperor Nicholas IIwhich asserted the imperial government's right to rule Finland without the consent of local legislativebodies.
Language Manifesto of 1900was a decree by Emperor Nicholas II which made Russian the state languageof Finland.
conscriptionlaw was signed by Emperor Nicholas II in July 1901 and incorporated the Finnish army into the imperial army.
The Russification campaign resulted in Finnish resistance, starting with
petitions and escalating to strikes, passive resistance(including draft resistance) and eventually active resistance, even to the assassinationof the Russian governor-general Nikolai Bobrikov in June 1904. During the Russo-Japanese War with the financial aid from Japan the rebels bought a shipment of thousands of rifles aiming an uprising and forming an independent state. However, the ship was wrecked in the coast and the plan fell apart. Interestingly, during the First World War when Russia and Japan were allies fighting against Germany the Japanese handed to the Russian government a list of leading men in the freedom movement (now in WW1 working with the Imperial Germany).
The imperial government responded with a purge of opponents of Russification within the Finnish administration, more stringent
censorship, and, from April 1903 until the Russian Revolution of 1905, granting of dictatorial powers to the Russian governor-general. The resistance campaign had some successes, notably a de factoreversal of the new conscription law. In retrospect, Finnish resistance to the policy of russification was one of the main factors that ultimately led to Finland's declaration of independencein 1917.
The Russification campaign was suspended and partially reversed in 1905–07 during a period of civil unrest throughout the Russian empire following Russian defeats in the
Russo-Japanese War. The program was reintroduced in 1908 on, costing Finland much of its autonomy and again causing further Finnish resistance, including the Jäger movement. Many measures were again suspended in 1914–17 during the First World War, but secret government documents published in the Finnish press in November 1914 suggested that the imperial government still harbored plans for the complete Russification of Finland.
* [http://www.country-data.com/cgi-bin/query/r-4575.html The Era of Russification]
* [http://www.histdoc.net/history/keisarik.html "The Gracious Manifesto of the Imperial Majesty"] , text of the
February Manifesto of 1899"(in English)"
* [https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/citd/RussianHeritage/10.EMP/10.L/XVI.21.html Nicholas's Decree Limiting Finnish Autonomy, March 20, 1903] "(in English)"
Kagal (Finnish society)
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