Peter Petroff, Justice June 1910

Russia and Finland

Source: letter, Justice, 11 June, 1910, p. 3;
Transcribed: by Ted Crawford.

The “Black Hundred” members of the Duma – Bobrinski, Purishkavitch and Co. – protest against interference on the part of England on behalf of Finland. They declare that the English people have no right to interfere with Russian internal affairs.

Those gentlemen, as well the majority of the Duma, do not represent the Russian people. Even putting aside the fact that of 440 members of the Duma 191 are Feudals, 36 Capitalists, 44 Clericals, and some peasants – the creatures of the police and spies – notwithstanding this fact, then is indisputable evidence that the majority of the Duma is not elected by the people.

According to the new “law” fabricated by the Czar’s government after the dissolution of the second Duma, 138,000,000 of the Russian people, have but a few representatives of their interests, while 2,000,000 of the exploiters have the majority and about 433,000 Feudals send more members that 130,000,000 of the people. Almost all the working class is excluded, and the other democratic elements cut down to the utmost but that is not all. No propaganda, no agitation is allowed at election time. Not only the Social-Democrats, the Peasant group, and the Radicals, but even Liberals were not allowed to publish the names of their candidates. The names of many prospective candidates were struck out of the register, and many of those who were selected were put to prison or sent to Siberia and instead of them those with less votes or none at all became the “real” representatives of the Russian people! A few months ago, during a by-election in St Petersburg, the electors, after all this careful sifting were about 44,000, but only 22,000 obtained their voting papers from the police, who alone have the distribution them and in Odessa their delivery was so good that the Mayor failed to get his paper on the ground that “they could not find him"!

About Count Bobrinski it was officially announced in the Duma that he represents few bottles of whisky. Professor Miliukov was quite right in saying in the Duma that he got more votes than all the Octobrists, but the 15 Social-Democrats got more votes than all the rest of the “House of Scandal” put together.

The Russian people, and especially the working class, are in a worse position than the Finnish people, and they fought and are fighting for the freedom of Finland as well as for their own.

The Finnish proletariat gained their political liberty in 1905 at the time of the Russian revolution. Now, at the time of the counter-revolution, they are losing it. At the time of the great victories of the Russian working class the Finnish proletariat gained their liberties. They established a democratic Parliament, elected by universal adult suffrage, founded a free press, freedom for organisation and speech, and used all this very cleverly. At the last elections, of the 778,376 votes cast, 314,515 were given for Social-Democrats, and 86 Social-Democrats were elected (among them nine women), and, together with the Radical Agrarian group, which on important political questions is almost unanimously with the Social-Democrats, they number 104 out of 200.

Is it possible for such a Parliament to exist in Russia under the Czar, along with the “House of Scandal,” which is m the hands of a few Feudals – a European form of Government to exist along with the rule of the Black Hundreds throughout Russia? We cannot expect the band of murderers called the Russian Government to leave liberty to the Finnish people. And all important Finnish business is to be delivered into the hands of that band of murderers controlled by that savage, ignorant policeman Stolypin, and Purishkavitch, Bobrinski and Co. are to legislate for the Finnish people. The sons of Finland are to be brought into the Czar’s army, their parents to pay for the very regiments which will put their heel on the liberties of their country. This will be the “unity of Finland and Russia.” But instead of uniting democratic Finland with the Russian Black Hundreds they will really unite the working class of Finland with the revolutionary proletariat of Russia in their struggle against the despotic Asiatic regime of the Czar’s Government. They who “sow the wind reap the whirlwind.”

I may add that the Liberal Government of Great Britain is also responsible for the action of the Russian Government in Finland, and I would suggest to the Liberal press that instead of shedding crocodile tears they should force their Government to abandon their reactionary foreign policy.