Trump and Putin in Finland: is this a warning to Finland?

I was uneasy when the Trump-Putin meeting was announced for Helsinki.

Putting aside every reason to look askance at Putin and Trump together, I am worried about Finland.

Did you realize that for more than a hundreds years and until 1917 Finland was a Russian territory?

Excerpts from a brief history of Finland, with a few of my boldings:

Then came the Great Northern War of 1709-21. In 1713 the Russians invaded Finland and marched across it. The Swedish-Finnish army made a last stand at Storkyro but was defeated. The Russian occupation from 1713 to 1721 is known as the Great Wrath. Wealthy Finns fled to Sweden but peasants could not escape. King Charles XII ordered the Finns to start guerrilla warfare against the Russians, which naturally led to reprisals. In 1721 peace was made but Charles XII had to surrender the south-eastern part of Finland to Russia.

War broke out again between Sweden-Finland and Russia in 1741. The Swedes were defeated at Villmanstrand. The Russian army occupied the whole of Finland but the treaty of Albo, which ended the war in 1743 left the status quo unchanged except that Russia took a small part of Finland.

Finland was finally detached from Sweden in 1809. The Russians invaded Finland on 21 February 1808. The Russians captured a fortress at Sveaborg in May but the Swedish-Finnish army won a victory at Lapua in July. However in September 1808 the Russians won a decisive victory at Oravainen. Swedish troops then abandoned Finland and left to their own devices the Finns made peace with the Tsar. During the 18th century Sweden was declining and Russia was growing more and more powerful so the Finns bowed to the inevitable.

In March 1809 the Finnish Diet (a form of parliament) accepted Tsar Alexander as their ruler. He agreed that Finland would become a Grand Duchy rather than a part of Russia and he promised to respect Finnish laws.

In the late 19th century Finnish nationalism began to grow…

However at the end of the 19th century Tsar Nicholas II tried to clamp down on Finnish nationalism. In 1899 he issued a manifesto, which said he had the power to make laws for Finland, without the consent of the Finnish Diet if those laws affected Russian interests.

The pendulum then swung the other way. In 1902 Finnish was made an official language along with Swedish and in 1905 the Tsar withdrew the manifesto of 1899. In 1907 a new assembly was elected to replace the old Diet. This time all men were allowed to vote.

From 1906 Finnish women were also allowed to vote. Finland was the first European country and the third in the world, after New Zealand and Australia to allow women to vote in national elections. Furthermore in 1907 Finnish women became the first in the world to win seats in a national parliament.

However in 1910 the Tsar severely restricted the power of the Finnish legislature. He declared that he had the power to pass laws for Finland if its effects are not limited to the internal affairs of that region.

But the reign of the Tsar was soon over. He abdicated in March 1917. In July 1917 the Finnish Diet declared that it had authority in all matters except foreign policy. Then on 6 December 1917 the Diet declared Finland an independent Republic.

Off and on, and continually for more than a 100 years, Finland was a territory of Russia.

As Putin has demonstrated in chunks of Ukraine, he has a wandering eye and an invasive army for sovereign nations that once were unfortunate enough to have been parts of Russia.

If I were the people of Finland, I would not permit Putin and his puppet to set foot in Helsinki.


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