Socialists Defeated in Finnish Elections


October 2 1917, Helsinki–Finland had been pushing for drastically increased autonomy from Russia since the revolution in February, and in July had unilaterally declared it.  Kerensky, under pressure from the Kadets to not make concessions to Russia’s ethnic minorities, refused to accept this, using the pretense that any settlement with Finland would require a new Russian constitution.  Kerensky dissolved the Finnish parliament in late July, calling for new elections to be held in a few months.

The two-day Finnish election concluded on October 2, and the results were known within a few days.  The Socialists lost their overall majority in the parliament, and a coalition of non-Socialist parties formed a government.  These parties were no less committed to Finnish autonomy, however, and planned to reaffirm it when the parliament reconvened in November.  The Socialists were profoundly disappointed in their electoral setback, and many began to more seriously consider achieving their aims through revolutionary means.  They may have had some encouragement in this from Lenin, who was still in exile in Finland.

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