Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic

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The Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic, more commonly referred to as Red Finland, was a theoretical precursor of an unrecognized Finnish socialist state. It was outlined during the Finnish Civil War, on 29 January 1918 by the Finnish People's Delegation, the Reds and Red Guards of the Finnish Social Democratic Party, after the socialist revolution in Finland on 26 January 1918.

The name "Finnish Socialist Workers' Republic" (Suomen sosialistinen työväentasavalta) appeared only in the Treaty between Finnish People's Delegation and Russian Council of People's Commissars, signed 1 March 1918. The People's Delegation had earlier used the name Republic of Finland (Suomen tasavalta), but Soviet leader V. I. Lenin proposed adding the attributes "Socialist Workers' Republic" into the name during negotiations. The People's Delegation later blamed its delegates for succumbing to Lenin's demand, since the official name of the state should have been decided by the Finns themselves.

Red Finland/FSWR was an attempt to establish a socialist nation, based on the legacy of Scandinavian-Finnish culture, socialist ideas originating from Central Europe and Finnish nationalism, including plans to expand the Finnish territory. The political visions included principles of democracy, but as Red Finland was primarily the formation of revolution and civil war, the acts of violence and warfare were emphasized in the policy. The Red Guards included a minor faction of Finnish Bolsheviks who supported association of FSWR to Soviet Russia. FSWR/Red Finland never gained a true status and form of state and republic as the Reds lost the Civil War on 5 May 1918.

The geographical area of Red Finland as well as the front line between White and Red Finland took shape approximately between 28 January and 3 February 1918, and it remained largely unchanged until the general offensive of the Whites in March 1918.

The Finnish People's Delegation, mainly Otto Ville Kuusinen, formulated and set forth, on 23 February 1918, a draft for a constitution of Red Finland/FSWR, on the basis of the Finnish Social Democratic principles and mentality. The Marxist concept of dictatorship of the proletariat was absent from the program. Instead, it represented an idea of democratic socialism and it was influenced by the constitutions of Switzerland and United States, and French Revolution. The constitution model included most of democratic civil rights for the Finnish citizens, including an extensive use of referendum in political decision making, but private property rights were excluded and given to state and local administration. The draft was never finally formulated and approved in Red Finland, before the defeat of FSWR in the 1918 war.

The power political situation after the January Revolution in Finland raised a major question in terms of the constitution draft, among the Finnish (moderate) socialists: would the power gained via revolution allow democracy a true chance in Finnish society? Finally, militant, political terror, carried out by the Red Guards during the Finnish civil war, led to marked controversy between the principles of democracy and true life.

This page was last edited on 18 March 2018, at 17:23 (UTC).
Reference: under CC BY-SA license.

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