Given that the motto of my blog is “Human Dignity“, I try to be as cosmopolitan and internationalist as possible, therefore I am truly sorry that I forgot Finland’s birthday. Well, actually Independence Day.
It was on 6 December, according to Wikipedia. I can be forgetful sometimes, it’s probably because I am not on Facebook, so I don’t have one of those reminders, when it’s time to buy a present for your nephew. Or one of your favorite countries.
But anyhow, here is what wiki has to tell us about Finnish independence, in a few snippets:
The February and the October Revolution in 1917, had also ignited hopes in the Grand Duchy of Finland. After the abdication of Grand Duke Nicholas II on 15 March 1917, the personal union between Russia and Finland lost its legal base – at least according to the view in Helsinki. There were negotiations between the Russian Interim Government and Finnish authorities
On 15 November 1917, the Bolsheviks declared a general right of self-determination, including the right of complete secession, “for the Peoples of Russia”. On the same day the Finnish Parliament issued a declaration by which it assumed, pro tempore, all powers of the Sovereign in Finland.
On 18 December (31 December N. S.) the Soviet Russian government issued a Decree, recognizing Finland’s independence, and on 22 December (4 January 1918 N. S.) it was approved by the highest Soviet executive body, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK).
Olefirov and the Friendship of Nations
You get the gist. Independence was sort of handed to Finland on a silver platter. By the Evil Bloody Bolsheviks. Without the Finns themselves having to fight a bloody war for it.
And now we jump forward in time, to this piece from PolitNavigator , this story was from yesterday, and it was what reminded me about Finland’s Independence Day. The story is titled: “Ukrainian Ambassador to Finland Disgraces Self in the Matter of (Finnish) History”.
The piece is only a few paragraphs long, so here is a full translation into English:
Ukraine’s Ambassador to Finland, Ondriy Olefirov demonstrated his howling illiteracy not just in matters of spelling, but also, mainly, his complete lack of knowledge of the country in which he dwells. As it transpires, he doesn’t even know the circumstances by which Finland gained independence. Even though Finland for something like 100 years was part of the same unified state to which most of what is currently the territory of Ukraine, also belonged.
[Ukrainian blogger] Vladimir Kornilov wrote about a “completely demented” discussion that he had with Oliferov. [He is talking about the Twitter exchange, which is shown in the PolitNavigator piece.]
What struck me most, Kornilov wrote
is not just his historical illiteracy (you would think he could learn at least a little bit about the country he is living in), but his overall ignorance. For example, when he says: “Go ahead and place a candle in the church, it won’t save you, but it will help you to purify yourself.” How many primitive mistakes, just in that one short sentence!
Just so you know, this illiterate Pan is the head of the Ukrainian Foreign Service. Moreoever, he was put in this job by none other than President Yanukovych! But somehow he eluded lustration. The lustration committees, obviously, only look at a person’s “ideological literacy” and not at their actual literacy.
One of the [Twitter] commenters, a political expert, writes: “Ugh! And this type even has a degree in Philology from Kiev University! Which also says a lot….”
“He doesn’t even know anything about Christianity,” responds journalist Igor Kruglov, “if he thinks that the candle is some kind of cleansing device.”
And now we get to his remarks about Lenin’s role in Finnish independence, and what did Lenin reply to the Finnish delegation’s request to grant independence to their country?
Historian G. Usykin writes the following:
On 17 December Vladimir Ilyich is looking over and making corrections to the agenda for the session of the Soviet of Peoples Commissars. He notices that on the agenda is the item of the Finnish request to the Russian government, regarding independence.
The session started late on 18 December and continued into the morning of 19 December. It was only after 21:00 that the Finnish agenda item was gotten to.
One of the participants, Alexander Grigorievich Shlikhter, remembered this whole incident very well [and wrote in his memoirs]:
“Vladimir Ilyich! The Finnish delegation has arrived and requests to be heard.”
[Lenin]: “Here is the Decree about Finnish Independence. Everything is in order. Just give it to them.”
“But Vladimir Ilyich! Shouldn’t you give it to them yourself?”
[Lenin]: “Why do I have to? Just give it to them. Figure something out. Tell them we can’t be bothered to interrupt this important session.”