Rus Articles Journal

Special history of an autonomy in the Russian Empire. What do we know the middle of the 19th century about Finland?

Occur opinion on some philanthropy of Alexander, his “natural“ love and respect for Finns. Even today Alexander I highly we honor Finns not only as the peacekeeper, but almost like national hero. Nevertheless Alexander had also other reasons - political, historical, formed the bases for these state acts.

Territories of “old Finland“ got the extreme importance and even served as “the irritating factor“ for players on a political field. Thereby there were favorable opportunities for the Russian imperial experiments. The Finnish elite supported Alexander I`s policy for the compatriots. But Russians never trusted the Finnish elite as they did not trust anybody (this situation is normal in diplomacy): and suddenly Finns will change moods on the pro-Swedish? Therefore Alexander I`s government supported a friendly spirit of new neighbors. For example, the Finnish army - the fact did not exist, however officers kept the ranks and signs of distinction.

In 1811 from the Russian emperor a lot of address encouragement (gifts) to new Finnish noblemen is recorded. Boys of the Finnish noblemen had an opportunity to be trained in elite military colleges in Russia (for example, future Finnish marshal and the head of state, the general of the Russian army K. G. Mannerheim so studied), girls could get to suite of the empress. The Finnish historians, for example, the doctor of philosophy Jyrki Paaskoski, hold the opinion that Alexander I wanted “to aggregate“ all Finnish lands, having established on them the uniform standard of board. But whether so it actually?

Alexander owing to the education and advanced views wanted to extend successful experiment (in the limited territory of the Grand duchy Finnish) to all Finland or maybe even to Russia - the mother. As needled at that time in Napoleon`s camp, “the Russian emperor is much more civilized given, in France - all on the contrary“. And this characteristic quite is confirmed by the subsequent actions of Alexander regarding Finland.

We will not begin to forget that Russia traditionally strove for integrity of territories. Some call it imperial manners, but I prefer the explanation which is offered above. Besides, to understand geopolitical sense of monarchical decisions, we will remember the “uneasy“ southern neighbor of Russia - Turkey. Communication of Sweden and Turkey became more active at the beginning of Northern war in 1700. Then almost all the 18th century Russia in the south was at war with Turkey (four wars); and if results of military campaign 30 - 40 - x can be included as a victory of the Russian weapon, then war with Turkey of 1788 did not bring to the Russian political interests of due satisfaction.

By results of war with Sweden in 1808 the border of Russia was removed to Pokhjyanlakhti`s gulf, the Russian capital was in safety, the city was removed from frontier due to formation of the Vyborg province where the free lands (left by the Swedish citizens) promptly became populated: in these regions lands Golitsyno, Chernyshev, Shuvalov, Tolstoy, etc. to the Russian noblemen favored. Russians pursued policy of remuneration (coaxing) of Finns that the last - in their primordial territories - had no temptation to support Sweden. Even after a victory in war of 1808 Russians not really trusted the Swedish elite.

And still earlier on Hugo - the East of present Finland in the cities of Hamin and Lappeenrannta A. V. Suvorov built several military strengthenings which long time were used as military outposts and bases. At the suggestion of the Russian emperor Alexander I in 1809 the Borgossky diet (Hamin) became constituent congress of new state education - the Grand duchy Finnish. The approximate autonomy as a part of the Russian Empire was so formed.

Historians know that “country“ laws of Alexander of 1802 and 1804 (conditions 2 - go the act extended to Livonsky lands and the territory of modern Estonia) forbade sale of peasants without the earth. The income of the majority of the Russian nobility was under construction on the income from widely realized opportunities on a serfdom of noblemen in those days. As the Finnish historical science claims, the Russian emperor Alexander I had an accurate purpose to interfere with distribution of a serfdom on the territories attached again. And to that confirmations were found.

In 1802 the monarchical decision of Alexander I created the special committee for consideration of “the Finnish affairs“ consisting of the noblemen living in the territory of the Grand duchy Finnish: lawyers and land owners. These people could not welcome new initiatives of the sovereign: privately sabotage cases of “the royal decisions“ took place. On the other hand, officials represented business so that in their territories “everything is remarkable“. Partly therefore in 1810 in the Southern Finland, in the Vyborg province there took place peasants` revolts which are suppressed by the Russian troops. There were victims.

Alexander drew conclusions, and as a result instead of old committee is created new on the same questions of Finland which statesmen from the immediate environment of the emperor entered. As result, in the Grand Duchy Finnish passed to the Swedish system of collection of taxes again. On November 5, 1811 (on old style) G. M. Armfelt submitted to the emperor the plan of privileges for the Finnish peasants and the royal decree headed committee which powers earlier M. M. Speransky had.

Gustav Maurice Armfelt those years ranked high in policy. The ethnic Swede, he arrived to St. Petersburg in May, 1811, was accepted by the emperor and soon convicted by powers on implementation of the new plan of association of lands of “old“ and “new“ Finland - for the purpose of providing in all territory of uniform organizational measures. The infantry general, the favourite of the king of Sweden Gustav III, the diplomat, the member of the Swedish academy of Sciences, the adherent of the Swedish theater, the ambassador of Sweden in France and in addition the collector of remarkable collections of objects of arts - here what person was allowed in 1811 in the highest Russian policy.

Using the offer Armfelta, Alexander I in the innovations moves ahead further away. It is decided to delegate powers of management to places, that is Swedish - the Finnish elite living in the territory of “old Finland“. The manifesto is most highly accepted on December 11, 1811. There are historical evidences of the fact that the state chancellor Rumyantsev, as well as noblemen of the St. Petersburg (capital) province, opposed distribution of laws of an autonomy on the Vyborg province. Partly therefore finally Vyborg province was integrated into the Grand duchy Finnish only in 40 - x years of the 19th century when uniform laws - in all territory of an autonomy everywhere came into force.

At the end of life Alexander I enters the amendment under which peasants in the Finnish territory could lose land rights, but keep at the same time a personal liberty that was in wonder for other Russia. Under the terms of reform peasants had to pay tax collecting within 10 years or leave the earth. Allegedly therefore in 1836 there were peasants` revolts, and Nicholas I`s government had to use force and troops again. This time correlates with the termination of the time frame specified by Alexander.

The special question arises: why as Ingermanlandiya`s province did not receive same “destiny“ how, for example, subsequently the Vyborg province which was a part of “a great autonomy of Finns“? Apparently, this territory won from Swedes earlier had every chance to serve as “pioneer“ experiment in the limited territory at the tsar Peter I. It is interesting that in Ingermanlandiya, on that district where now there is St. Petersburg, the Swedish system was taken even more roots, significant in due time and, if one may say so, fundamental, than even in “old Finland“.

Here several historically significant factors played a role. At the time of Petr`s government at a gain of the cities the agreement with the nobility under which it kept the rights and religion on condition of oath of allegiance to Petr was, as a rule, concluded. So it happened in Vyborg (the Lutheran belief is kept). In a case with Ingermanlandiya to Peter I it was simple there is nobody to sign the contract: nobody represented ingermanlandets. In addition to it on the occupied lands construction of “a window to Europe“ - future capital of the Russian Empire began.