The Beginning of a Tsar-less Russia

Following the abdication of Nicholas II and Grand Duke Michael turning down the crown which his brother left him, the Duma found themselves with much more power than ever before. With this newfound power the Duma published its goals in Isvestia, a Soviet newspaper at the time, to make clear the plans they had for Russia under the new First Provisional Government.

It first set out to appease the masses by listing off members of its ministers. In doing so they hoped to show that they had trustworthy men leading the country who would not continue down the path that Tsar Nicholas II created. The First Provisional Government then goes on to list what it actually hopes to accomplish with the power they have. A list is formed which includes new socialist ideas such as freedom of speech, the ability to unionize, elimination of the hierarchy that has restricted the rights of peasants, suffrage, and a more unified government police which is held accountable by elections. Besides adopting all of these ideas socialist ideas, there are also goals on the list that show the First Provisional Government’s desire to wipe the slate clean for past political revolutionaries. Its first initiative is immediate amnesty to all people who are involved in various forms of revolution, including violent acts. They want a unified and progressive Russia. Ultimately, the First Provisional Government acts as the first step to the Russia that becomes run completely by the Soviets.


Finland’s Whole New World

The 19th and 20th century Russian population was made up of a series of smaller groups. The people of Russia were less loyal to their nationality and more dedicated to their more personalized groups based on religion, status within the community, and the region in which they resided. This meant that after the 1917 Russian revolution places like Finland, Poland, the three Baltic states, and others would start to act upon their desire for their own country and government. The people of these states felt that the Russian government was too oppressive and that independence was needed to free the people.

In Finland there was already a disconnect with Russia. During World War I the people of Finland were split between Russia and Germany. Following the 1917 revolution, Finland asked for independence, which was rejected by the Russian provincial government. The provincial government disbanded the Finnish National Assembly but with the election of a new council that was very German sympathetic they accepted Finnish independence. In December of 1917 Finland gained their independence. Their response was to put the government, the Sejm, squarely in the hands of the people. A popular government was formed and the people of Finland were given the power to control this new government. Three main articles were set forth. The first was to set the power firmly in the hands of the Sejm of Finland and keep in from Russian control. It also clarifies that Russia still had control of the military. The second article was to enforce the power of the Sejm, specifically its elections and existence. The third article stated that the Sejm had the executive control in Finland’s affairs. Finland was not the only part of Russia to gain independence, Poland and the three Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia also gained their independence. But many other parts still remained under the greater shadow of Russia.