Finland’s parliament declared independence from Russia back in July, but Kerensky‘s Provisional Government was able to suppress the Finns’ dreams of freedom. But now the Finnish parliament is ready to try again.
Finland is internally divided between socialists and conservatives. The socialists were behind July’s declaration of Finnish sovereignty and were opposed then by the conservatives, who feared that without the restraining influence of Kerensky the radicals would lose the run of themselves. But now the wheel has turned: Finland’s conservatives are shocked by the Bolsheviks‘ seizure of power in Petrograd and want to prevent the spread of Soviet power to their country.
After elections in the autumn the conservatives have a majority in the Finnish parliament. Today they pass a declaration of Finnish independence. Sovnarkom, the Soviet government in Petrograd, has already declared that the regions of the Russian Empire are free to choose independence if they want it, so the Finnish nationalists expect no trouble from that quarter. However the country’s radicals are determined not to let the conservatives have things their way. They see the Soviet government in Petrograd as an inspiration and are determined to bring something similar into being in Finland. And like Lenin‘s Bolsheviks, the socialists are prepared to effect their revolution through physical force if needs be. Finland is on the road to civil war.
Finnish Senators drafting the declaration of independence (Robinson Library: Finland Declares Its Independence)