This Website created on occasion of the 95th Anniversary of the Proletarian Revolution in Finland - 1918
precisely on the 6th of December 2013
- the Independence Day of Finland
On the proletarian Revolution
Collection of Quotations of his Works
Lenin and Stalin in the Finnish Woods
Speech delivered at the Congress of the Finnish Social-Democratic Labour Party, Helsingfors
November 14, 1917
Source : Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
Comrades, I have been delegated to greet you on behalf of the workers' revolution in Russia, which is shaking the capitalist system to its foundations. I have come to you to greet your Congress on behalf of the Workers' and Peasants' Government of Russia, the Council of People's Commissars, which was born in the fire of this revolution.
But I have not only come to bring you greetings. I should like first of all to bring you the joyful news of the victories of the Russian revolution, of the disorganization of its enemies, and to tell you that in the atmosphere of the expiring imperialist war the chances of the revolution are improving day by day.
The bondage of landlordism has been broken, for power in the countryside has passed into the hands of the peasants. The power of the generals has been broken, for power in the army is now concentrated in the hands of the soldiers. A curb has been put on the capitalists, for workers' control is rapidly being established over the factories, mills and banks. The whole country, town and countryside, rear and front, is studded with revolutionary committees of workers, soldiers and peasants, which are taking the reins of government into their own hands.
They tried to scare us with the bogey of Kerensky and the counter-revolutionary generals. But Kerensky has been driven out, and the generals are besieged by the soldiers and Cossacks, who also support the demands of the workers and peasants.
They tried to scare us with the bogey of famine, and prophesied that the Soviet regime would perish in the grip of a disrupted food supply. But we had only to curb the profiteers, we had only to appeal to the peasants, and grain began to flow to the towns in hundreds of thousands of poods.
They tried to scare us with the bogey of a breakdown of the machinery of state, sabotage by officials, and so on. And we knew ourselves that the new, socialist government would not be able simply to take over the old, bourgeois state machine and make it its own. But we had only to set about renovating the old machine, purging it of anti-social elements, and the sabotage began to melt away.
They tried to scare us with the bogey of war "surprises," the possibility of the imperialist cliques creating complications in connection with our proposal for a democratic peace. And, indeed, there was a danger, a mortal danger. But that danger arose after the capture of Osel (1*), when the Kerensky Government was preparing to flee to Moscow and surrender Petrograd, and when the British and German imperialists were making a deal for peace at the expense of Russia. On the basis of such a peace the imperialists could indeed have wrecked the cause of the Russian and, perhaps, of the international revolution. But the October Revolution came in time. It took the cause of peace into its own hands, it struck the most dangerous weapon from the hands of international imperialism and thus saved the revolution from mortal peril. The old wolves of imperialism were left with one of two alternatives: either to bow to the revolutionary movement that is flaring up in all countries, by accepting peace, or to carry on the struggle by continuing the war. But to continue the war in its fourth year, when the whole world is suffocating in its grip, when the "imminent" winter campaign is arousing a storm of indignation among the soldiers of all countries, and when the filthy secret treaties have already been published—to continue the war under such circumstances means to doom oneself to obvious failure. This time the old wolves of imperialism have miscalculated. And that is why the bogey of imperialist "surprises" does not scare us.
Lastly, they tried to scare us with the bogey of the disintegration of Russia, of its splitting up into numerous independent states and hinted thereby that the right of nations to self-determination proclaimed by the Council of People's Commissars was a "fatal mistake." But I must declare most categorically that we would not be democrats (I say nothing of socialism!) if we did not recognize the right of the peoples of Russia to free self-determination. I declare that we would be betraying socialism if we did not do everything to restore-fra-ternal confidence between the workers of Finland and Russia. But everyone knows that the restoration of this confidence is inconceivable unless the right of the Finnish people to free self-determination is firmly recognized. And it is not merely the verbal, even if official, recognition of this right that is important here. What is important is that this verbal recognition will be confirmed by the act of the Council of People's Commissars, that it will be put into effect without hesitation. For the time for words has passed. The time has come when the old slogan "Workers of all countries, unite!" must be put into effect.
Complete freedom for the Finnish people, and for the other peoples of Russia, to arrange their own life! A voluntary and honest alliance of the Finnish people with the Russian people! No tutelage, no supervision from above, over the Finnish people! These are the guiding principles of the policy of the Council of People's Commissars.
Only as the result of such a policy can mutual confidence among the peoples of Russia be created. Only on the basis of such confidence can the peoples of Russia be united in one army. Only by thus uniting the peoples can the gains of the October Revolution be consolidated and the cause of the international socialist revolution advanced.
That is why we smile when we are told that Russia will inevitably fall to pieces if the idea of the right of nations to self-determination is put into practice.
These are the difficulties with which our enemies have tried and are still trying to scare us, but which we are overcoming as the revolution grows.
Comrades! Information has reached us that your country is experiencing approximately the same crisis of power as Russia experienced on the eve of the October Revolution. Information has reached us that attempts are being made to frighten you too with the bogey of famine, sabotage, and so on. Permit me to tell you on the basis of the practical experience of the revolutionary movement in Russia that these dangers, even if real, are by no means insuperable! These dangers can be overcome if you act resolutely and without faltering. In the midst of war and economic disruption, in the midst of the revolutionary movement which is flaring up in the West and of the increasing victories of the workers' revolution in Russia, there are no dangers or difficulties that could withstand your onslaught. In such a situation only one power, socialist power, can maintain itself and conquer. In such a situation only one kind of tactics can be effective, the tactics of Danton — audacity, audacity and again audacity!
And if you should need our help, you will have it — we shall extend you a fraternal hand.
Of this you may rest assured.
1*) On September 29, 1917, the Germans began landing forces on Osel, Dago and other Baltic islands at the entrance to the Gulf of Riga.
The Independence of Finland
Speech Delivered in the All-Russian Central Executive Committee
December 22, 1917 (Newspaper Report)
Stalin, Works, Vol. 4, November, 1917 - 1920
The other day representatives of Finland applied to us with a demand for immediate recognition of Finland's complete independence and endorsement of its secession from Russia. The Council of People's Commissars resolved to give its consent and to issue a decree, which has already been published in the newspapers, proclaiming Finland's complete independence.
Here is the text of the decision of the Council of People's Commissars:
"In response to the application of the Finnish Government for recognition of the independence of the Finnish Republic, the Council of People's Commissars, in full conformity with the principle of the right of nations to self-determination, resolves to recommend to the Central Executive Committee: a) to recognize the state independence of the Finnish Republic, and b) to set up, in agreement with the Finnish Government, a special commission (composed of representatives of both sides) to elaborate the practical measures necessitated by the secession of Finland from Russia."
Naturally, the Council of People's Commissars could not act otherwise, for if a nation, through its representatives, demands recognition of its independence, a proletarian government, acting on the principle of granting the peoples the right to self-determination, must give its consent.
The bourgeois press asserts that we have brought about the complete disintegration of the country, that we have lost a whole number of countries, including Finland. But, comrades, we could not lose Finland, because actually it was never our property. If we forcibly retained Finland, that would not mean that we had acquired it.
We know perfectly well how Wilhelm forcibly and arbitrarily "acquires" entire states and what sort of a basis this creates for mutual relations between the peoples and their oppressors.
The principles of Social-Democracy, its slogans and aspirations, consist in creating the long-awaited atmosphere of mutual confidence among nations, and only on such a basis is the slogan, "Workers of all countries, unite!" realizable. All this is old and well known.
If we closely examine the circumstances in which Finland obtained independence, we shall see that the Council of People's Commissars, actually and against its own wishes, granted freedom not to the people, not to the representatives of the Finnish proletariat, but to the Finnish bourgeoisie, which, owing to a strange conjuncture of circumstances, seized power and received independence from the hands of the Russian Socialists. The Finnish workers and Social-Democrats find themselves in the position of having to receive freedom not from the Socialists of Russia directly, but through the Finnish bourgeoisie. Regarding this as a tragedy for the Finnish proletariat, we cannot help remarking that it was only because of their irresolution and unaccountable cowardice that the Finnish Social-Democrats did not take vigorous measures to assume power themselves and wrest their independence from the hands of the Finnish bourgeoisie.
The Council of People's Commissars may be abused, may be criticized, but no one can assert that it does not carry out its promises; for there is no force on earth that can compel the Council of People's Commissars to break its promises. This we have demonstrated by the absolute impartiality with which we accepted the demand of the Finnish bourgeoisie that Finland be granted independence, and by proceeding at once to issue a decree proclaiming the independence of Finland.
May the independence of Finland help the emancipation of the Finnish workers and peasants and create a firm basis for friendship between our peoples.
The revolution in Finland broke out in mid-January 1918 in the southern industrial areas. On January 15 (28), the Finnish Red Guard occupied Helsingfors, the capital, and overthrew the reactionary bourgeois government of Svinhufvud . A revolutionary government of Finland, the Council of People’s Representatives, was setup on January 16 (29). Power in the towns and villages in the south of Finland passed into the hands of the workers. The Svinhufvud government was entrenched in the north and appealed to the German Government for help. Following the intervention of the German armed forces and a bitter civil war, the revolution in Finland was crushed in May 1918. The counter-revolutionary German Baltic Sea Division (10,000 man military unit) was requested by the Finnish Senate of Vaasa to help the Whites.
The revolution in Finland which began on January 27, 1918 in response to a call from the leaders of the Social-Democratic Party of Finland, deposed Svinhufvud’s bourgeois government and placed power in the hands of the workers. On January 29 a revolutionary government of Finland was set up in the shape of the Council of People’s Representatives, which included E. Gylling, O. W. Kuusinen, Y. Sirola, A. Taimi and others. This government’s most important acts were the passing of a law making land less peasants sole owners of the land they tilled, the freeing of the poorest sections of the population of all taxes the expropriation of enterprises belonging to owners who had fled the country, and the setting up of state control over private banks.
The proletarian revolution was victorious, however, only in the south of Finland. The Svinhufvud government made good its losses in the north of the country, where a build-up of counter-revolutionary forces took place, and appealed to the government of Kaiser Germany for aid. On May 2, 1918 German armed forces intervened and the workers’ revolution was crushed after a bitter civil was lasting three months. During the White Terror that ensued thousands of revolutionary workers and peasants were executed or tortured to death in prison.
On March 1, 1918 a treaty was signed in Petrograd between the Finnish Socialist Workers’ Republic and the R.S.F.S.R. It was based on the principles of complete equality and sovereignty, and was the first treaty in the world between two socialist countries.
However the proletarian revolution was victorious only in the towns and countryside of the South of Finland. The Svinhufvud government established itself in the North and appealed to the German Government for assistance. As a result of the intervention of the German armed forces, the revolution in Finland was defeated in May 1918 after a bitter civil war. The Finnish bourgeoisie resorted savage terror to suppress the proletarian revolution in 1918. Over 90,000 people were imprisoned or sent to concentration camps, nearly 18,000 were executed and nearly as many died of hunger or tortures. The number of victims of White Terror ten times exceeded the number of Finnish workers killed in the battles for the revolution.
Three-quarters of the war victims were Reds who died mainly in political terror campaigns and in prison camps. The turmoil created severe food shortages, disrupted the Finnish economy and the political apparatus, and divided the Finnish nation for many years.
In the North the Russian October Revolution expanded towards Finland. Thus the proletarian Finnish Revolution of 1918 was significant part of the spreadfing world revolution. The Finnish proletariat was led by the Central Revolutionary Council (formed in November. 1917). The Social-Democratic Party of Finland (SDPF), its fractions Sejm, trade unions and the Working Guard created a diet program ("We demand") containing important economical and political requirements for the working class and the poor peasants.
Previously, a General strike took place from 13-19 November 1917) for the implementation of these requirements. In parallel the Working Guard troops disarmed the bourgeoisie, took over the administrative buildings, railway stations, telegraph and telephone stations for protecting them from the counter-revolution. The workers took power of the capital Helsinki. Certain other cities in Finland were occupied by the working class. However, the Central Revolutionary Council - despite the presence of the country's revolution - called on workers to end the strike - after the Sejm ( in the night of November 16). The bourgeoisie began to prepared the suppression of the labor movement by force of arms. On January 12, 1918 Diet Civil Guards units became government troops. Mannerheim was commander of the counter-revolutionary White Guards. In the town of Baca the political and military Centre of the Counterrevolution was created. On January 26, the workers' guard prepared for the seizure of all government agencies and strategic points. January 27. - Revolution. In an Appeal "To The Finnish People", it was declared that "all the revolutionary power in Finland belongs to the organized working class and its revolutionary bodies."
On the same day the Working Guard and Red Guards merged, taking the name of the latter. In the night of 27 to 28 January. Helsingfors. Red Guards counter-attacked the terrorist White Guards. The workers were fighting in Helsinki, Turku, Tampere, Pori, Kotka, Lahti, Vyborg and other southern cities. The most advanced industrial parts of Finland were in the hands of the workers. January 29. A Declaration calling nonstop to move forward on the path to the socialist revolution. However, the Declaration did not include demands of the proletarian dictatorship, the expropriation of private property, nationalization of land and enterprises, elimination of the exploitation of man by man. The revolutionary uprising of the Finnish workers started spontaneously without the leadership of a Bolshevik party. However, Diets workers organisations (established in March 1917 as the Labour Representation organisations in advocating economical interests of workers) actually become organs of the dictatorship of the proletariat. January 31. Proclamation of the poor peasants against the landowners. On February the Finnish Bank was placed under control (Banking Law adopted on February 8.) ; On February 12, private banks were controlled by the government of the workers. Economy was the hands of the Proletarian state. Factory owners escaped and sabotaged the economy. Reform of the tax system provided full exemption from taxes mean of the poor and to increase taxes on the rich. Exploitive Laws were abolished and the fight against speculation was declared. Broad rights were given to the masses and themobilization and the food resources were distributed. Food supply to the Finnish population was given by Soviet Russia in a manner of proletarian internationalism. Educational affairs became democratized and measures were taken to eliminate unemployment. Feb 1. Big enterprises and private banks were nationalized, but land and forest confiscation was not implemented . On February 23, a draft of the democratic Constitution of Finland was published - Finland proclaimed a republic in which the entire state power belongs to the people. However, the draft constitution contained no real guarantee of genuine democracy. One of the most important events of the external policy was the signing of the Treaty of friendship and brotherhood between the RSFSR and Finland for strengthening the socialist workers' Republic and the independence of Finland (First March).
The Finnish bourgeoisie unleashed a civil war and was unable to suppress the revolution by its own counter-revolutionary forces. Thus, they asked for help and turned to the German imperialists. On March 7, 1918 a number of agreements between the counterrevolutionary Government Svinhuvud (who was in Baca) and the German imperialists was signed in Berlin - The German imperialists got full economical and political control over Finland. On March 5, the first German detachment landed in the Aland Islands. Despite heroical resistance of the Red Guards (80 000), which received the requested armament and equipment of Soviet Russia, Tampere ( astronghold of the workers) fell on April 6 - 14 . Counter-revolutionary troops captured Helsinki on April 29. - Vyborg May 4-5. The Red Guards were forced to surrender, surrounded in the districts of Lahti and Kotka. The Finnish bourgeoisie brutally cracked down the workers and their families. Even baking bread for the Reds was a crime which was cursed with death. 90 000 were inprisoned in concentration camps. 15 000 were dead from disease and starvation, approx. 20 000 were executed. A part of the Red Guards managed to go to Soviet Russia, where many of them participated in the Russian civil war - and later in the socialist construction.
The experience of the revolution and the reasons for its defeat was mainly the lack of a Marxist-Leninist party in Finland. The communists started to create the Communist Party of Finland on the first Congress on August 29, 1918, thus after the revolution.
Foundation of the
Communist Party of Finland
The Communist Party of Finland struggled for its Bolshevization, but there were a lot of renegades who have betrayed communism and the Proletarian Revolution in Finland
- most of all the traitor Kuusinen -
who also betrayed the Comintern and Stalin, and who was finally one of the leaders of the
The revolutionary Finnish proletariat is stronger than its revisionist traitors !
will be crowned - one day - with the victory of the second socialist revolution in Finland!
The civil war has divided the Finns into two camps and left a trauma. In generally the Finns do not like to talk about the Civil War in Finland. The prevailing opinion was that you should not open up old wounds and that a civil war should never repeat.
Class-reconciliation instead of class-struggle
- this is the result of the tactic of the Finnish bourgeoisie , a product of the counter-revolution. To this day, the Finnish bourgeoisie likes to keep silent about the victory of the workers who had overthrown the bourgeois dictatorship and established their revolutionary socialist state.
Usually there is only bourgeois and petty-bourgeois books on the Finnish revolution. It is always talked about a so called "fratricidal war" and not about the class war between the bourgeoisie and and proletariat. We, the proletarian internationalists defend the great Finnish Revolution as part of the world proletarian revolution while the Finnish bourgeoisie demonizes Lenin and Stalin as representatives of the "Russian Great-Power" who would have allegedly treated Finland as a "colony". The truth, however, is that Lenin and Stalin had been the defenders of the national and social interests of the Finnish people while the Finnish bourgeoisie sells out the nation to the imperialist Great powers. And the lessons of history ? The Finnish bourgeoisie became not anly a lackey of the imperial Germany of Wilhelm , but also a servant of Hitler's Germany.
Finland is a capitalist class society and there was and is still a heroic Finnish proletariat , whose glorious role in the world revolution will never be forgotten.
Therefore, the Comintern (SH ) holds up the red Finnish banner of the proletarian world revolution.
The Finnish bourgeoisie has maintained its brutal character to this day . The bourgeoisie and her imperialist overlords can only be defeated by the socialist revolution of the working class.
The blood of the Finnish workers was not spilled in vain. The overthrow of capitalism and the construction of socialism is inevitable, both in Finland and all over the world.
Long live the victory of the Finnish Revolution of 1918 !
Long live the Finnish revolutionary proletariat !
Long live proletarian internationalism !
Long live the socialist revolution in Finland !
Long live the proletarian world revolution !
Long live the socialist Finland in a socialist world !
Long live world socialism and world communism !
Long live the 5 Classics of Marxism-Leninism,
Marx, Engels, Lenin, Stalin and Enver Hoxha !
Long live the Comintern (SH) !
For the creation of the Finnish Section of the Comintern (SH) !
This poster of the short but intense Defense of Petrograd campaign aims to raise the morale of one group of city defenders — the soldiers of the 1st Finnish Rifles Regiment, formed from the Red Guardsmen that fled Finland in the end of the Finnish Civil War and joined the Russian Red Army.
Nobody can deny the historical truth:
"Finland got its independence from the Bolsheviks in November 1917".
On December 18 (31), 1917, Lenin handed Svinhufvud, head of the Finnish bourgeois government, the decree of the Council of People’s Commissars granting independence to Finland.
The decree was endorsed by the All-Russia Central Executive Committee on December22, 1917 (January 4, 1918).