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Finland, but which would also state that Finnish foreign affairs would continue to remain in the hands of the highest Russian authority, and that no changes were to be made in Finland's military establishment, or in matters concerning Russian individuals living in Finnish territory or Russian installations existing in Finland, without Russian permission. However, when the then Governor-General Nekrasov arrived in St. Petersburg on 5 November with the draft of this proclamation, it was already too late: a new, bolshevik revolution had begun.

The Age of Independence

In Russia, battlefield losses and stagnation in commerce and industry had led to the growing influence of the Bolsheviks, whose armed revolt then led to the overthrow of the Provisional Government and replaced it with the Soviet of Peoples' Commissars under Lenin. Russian internal developments had reached a point which forced the Finns to make another evaluation of the situation. After a few days of fumbling, Parliament on 15 November declared itself the holder of the highest authority in Finland, and since Russia made no claims reserving authority over foreign affairs or military command, the action of Parliament can be said to have marked the actual breaking of the ties which had held Finland and Russia together.

Possessing not only the authority to make laws but also the executive authority in Finland, Parliament was faced with the appointment of a new Senate. Strikes breaking out that same month intensified the disagreements between the bourgeois majority and the Social Democrats, and the dichotomy persisted in the attempts to form a new government, with one setting as its goal a coalition government and the other demanding a `red Senate'. The relative parliamentary party strengths dictated the solution, and Svinhufvud's strictly bourgeois list of senators was approved in Parliament by a vote of 100 to 80. Subsequently, since the November 15th declaration of Parliament demanded in its final statement a declaration of independence, the Senate took up this matter as its first task: on the 4th of December Parliament was presented with the Senate's proposal for a new form of government, calling for Finland to be an independent republic, for which the Senate intended to seek immediate recognition abroad. Parliament approved these proposals on 6 December 1917, but not without a vote. There was unanimity on the question of independence, but the Social Democrats would have preferred to have it materialize through a mutual understanding with the Bolsheviks


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