View Full Version : Hooray for the Czar?

Gunnar Damström
17-10-03, 00:37
God save and keep the Czar- far away from us, was a blessing the rabbi recommended in Fiddler on the Roof. Our forefathers thougt differently, it seems. Otherwise, what would have prompted the citizens of Vasa to rename the city Nikolaistad, or the citizens of Helsingfors to erect the memorial to Czar Alexander II in the Senate Square? What prompted my Gamlakarleby great great grandfather to christen his son Alexander Nikolai? Did the popularity stem from Alexander I's decision to retain Finland as an autonomus Grand Duchy? Was it the provision exempting Finland from military conscriptions for a period of 50 years? What else made the Russian rule so popular among the Finns?

June Pelo
17-10-03, 02:50
I wonder, too. My maternal grandfather was named Alexander and he named one of his sons Alexander. I also have lots of Alexander names in my mother's family line. Here you can read about Czar Alexander II:


According to this, under Alexander I life in Finland continued much as it was under Swedish rule. And he was succeeded by Nicholas I who didn't treat Finland well. His successor Alexander II was an improvement:


17-10-03, 06:00
I checked and I, too, have an ancestor Alexander who named his son Aleksi Nikolai. Never gave it much thought before but it is interesting!

Gita Wiklund
31-10-03, 10:44

The reason the citizens of Helsinki raised a statue of Alexander II was really that they where very unpleased with rule of Nikolai II. A way to protest safely was to raise this statue of the former ruler Alexander II, who had been an appreciated ruler. Nikolai could hardly be against it since it was a statue of a russian ruler, that also was his own grandfather. Alexander II had been appreciated because he made reforms that gained Finland, Nikolai I before him had not been good so in 1894 when times again where bad due to russian rule under Nikolai II, they raised the statue to the remembrance of the better days.


Gunnar Damström
31-10-03, 20:43
Czar Alexander II was murdered 1881 and succeeded by his son Alexander III. 1884 the Helsingfors city council arranged a competition for creation of a memorial to Alexander II. Sculptor Johannes Takanen won the first price. Due to Johannes Takanen's death 1885 Walter Runeberg (son of the poet) was given the task to finish the work. The memorial was inagurated 1889. Nicolai II ascended on the Russian throne 1894. 1899 after the issuance of the February Manifesto the Helsingfors citizens demonstrated their displeasure with the measures to circumvent Finnish authonomy by marking the anniversary of Nikolai II's grandfather Alexander II's death. The Alexander II memorial was covered with flower arrangements.

31-12-03, 18:59
As I told you already, I have some very close friends in Finland, and I heard one of them saying that the most respected and
remembered of the Russian rulers in Finland should be Lenin (whom, in fact, we can hardly call Russian, sooner he is Soviet).
It was him who signed a Decree separating Finland from the Soviet Russia.
If not for this guy (hated by the most of the Russians), Finland would probably suffer the same good luck of Stalin murders, KGB espionage on every family and other "privileges" of the Soviet society as the other former USSR republics.


Gunnar Damström
31-12-03, 23:14
Your friends certainly are entitled to their opinion, however I am of a diametrically opposite opinion. The Finnish nation has very little to be thankful to Lenin for. If anybody, we should be thankful to the German Kaiser who in the peace negotiations in Brest Litovsk in the fall of 1917 at the urging of Finnish Senators pressured the Soviet Government to recoginize Finnish independence, declared December 6, 1917. The Soviet Government recognition of 12/31/17 was clearly deceitful. The Soviet Union actively sought to instigate revolution also in Finland, failed to withdraw its forces from Finnish territory as agreed and armed the red revolutionaries. Soviet forces took an active part in the civil war on the red side. During the spring of 1918 the Kaiser intervened in the Finnish Civil War on the side of the lawful government, probably shorteing the war and reducing the suffering brought about by the red rebellion. However, the Finns of today are foremost thankful to those men and women who fought in the Finnish army, repelling Soviet aggression in 1918 and 1939-1944 thereby securing our independence. This evening you will see thousands and thousands of Finns visiting the graves of the fallen war heroes, illumiated with candles and flares.

01-01-04, 11:43
Thank you, Gunnar,

You are certainly right about the historical facts and the background of the Decree I was talking about.
Especially true it is that the treacherous and perfiduous rulers of the Soviet period never lost a chance to paly their muscles at the "weaker" ones (I do not mean that Finland was ever really weaker, in the long run).
My idea was that however good the memory is there are always facts that lie on the surface and some get hidden, less and less conspicuous. Even here in Russia where millions of people were literally annihilated by Lenin, there are still people singing their praise to his ideas, his rule and his heritage.

As I love Finland very much and every time I come here I am struck by the impact our post Soviet (I do not say Russian as it is very much different) interference has on finnish life, I am afraid it will be disastrous when the views and psychology some of us bring with them begin to tell.
I am sure the people living closer to our border line know what I mean.