DUBROVSKAYA E.Yu. Political Views and Positions of the Russian Servicemen in Finland at the Final Stage of the First World War (Spring – Summer 1917)

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.1.2

Elena Yu. Dubrovskaya

Candidate of Sciences (History), Senior Researcher,

Institute of Language, Literature and History of the Karelian Research Centre of the Russian Academy of Sciences,

Pushkinskaya St, 11, 185910 Petrozavodsk, Russian Federation

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Abstract. Introduction. In the spring and summer of 1917 changes in the former autonomous Grand Duchy of Finland determined the history of relations between Russia and Finland for decades to come. The purpose of the article is to show changes in the political views and positions of the Baltic sailors and the army servicemen, who were elected to democratic organizations of the Russian military at the final stage of the First World War.

Methods and materials. The article is based on the results of long standing study of issues, dealing with the stay of the Russian armed forces in the Grand Duchy of Finland, and follows the theoretical developments of V.D. Zimina, B.I. Kolonitsky, E. Mawdsley, A. Wildman on the problems of the Russian revolution of 1917. It uses a historical and anthropological approach to the research of the role of the military factor in the history of Russia and Finland in the 20th Century.

Analysis. Reviewed archival documents and published sources indicate that immediately after the February Revolution active party organizations in the units were either a rare exception or experienced a stage of formation, which affected the actions of the primary personnel of the Soviets, as well as soldier’s and sailor’s committees. During the spring months voters’ political sympathies were closely associated with the Socialist Revolutionaries as the most popular party in Russia. However, by the summer of 1917 the readiness of the socialist leaders of the Socialist-Revolutionary Party and the Mensheviks to continue the war increasingly contradicted the interests of ordinary servicemen. The question of how the activities of the Soviets and committees of this period fit into the rope of events that became the “prologue” of the Civil War in Russia has been investigated. It is pointed out, that such measures include the abolition of the old apparatus of power, the refusal to comply with the orders of the military authorities, not agreed with soldier and sailor organizations, assistance in the deployment and strengthening of the political union of the Bolsheviks and left-wing groups of socialist parties, support provided to the radical wing of the Finnish social-democracy.

Results. The study of socio-political transformations that took place in the Russian military community during the period under review and predetermined changes in the views and positions of the Russian servicemen in Finland allows us to conclude the following. In the spring and summer of 1917 leaders of the Soviets and committees still managed to accumulate a certain experience of “inter-party” interaction. It was first noted that that in the course of the revolution development representative organizations of sailors and the army men just during these months were prepared for an independent line of behavior and sometimes outpaced the protest actions of military personnel in the Russian capital. Key words: Russian revolution of 1917, Finland, servicemen, Soviets, committees, political views and positions, socio-political transformations.

Citation. Dubrovskaya E.Yu. Political Views and Positions of the Russian Servicemen in Finland at the Final Stage of the First World War (Spring – Summer 1917). Vestnik Volgogradskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta. Seriya 4. Istoriya. Regionovedenie. Mezhdunarodnye otnosheniya [Science Journal of Volgograd State University. History. Area Studies. International Relations], 2022, vol. 27, no. 1, pp. 20-34. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/jvolsu4.2022.1.2.

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Political Views and Positions of the Russian Servicemen in Finland at the Final Stage of the First World War (Spring – Summer 1917) by Dubrovskaya E.Yu. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

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