INFORMATION OF THE CHARGE D'AFFAIRES AD INTERIM IN AFFAIRS OF THE USSR IN FINLAND M. G. YUDANOV IN THE PEOPLE'S COMMISSARIAT OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS OF THE USSR
On November 12, 1939.
The attitudes of the leading circles to the Soviet-Finnish negotiations.
For the last twenty days the government, party figures and the press of all political streams, the Social Democrats also included, continue in various forms and means to call the population for armed resistance against ”aggressive intentions” of the great eastern neighbor, to carry out feverish work for arming the country and on converting the industry in big scales to serve military needs, to set the Finnish people through the press, in particular through oral propaganda, against the Soviet government and people.
Ruling circles — the majority of the government, the extremely reactionary circles, the high command — do not desire the treaty with the USSR and are with hostility set against the negotiations. This is witnessed by the scales of military preparations, foreign policy actions of the government against the USSR, unfriendly attitudes of members of the government, eminent Finnish reactionary persons (Mannerheim, Svinhufvud, etc.) and hostile tone of the press, not to mention the wide amount of oral anti-Soviet and anti-Russian propaganda in the country. Now the anti-Soviet activity of agents of warmongers has acquired full freedom and is encouraged by the authorities. Events in Finland do develop so that the possibility of any unexpected steps is not excluded from the side of the government together along with the most reactionary forces of the country. Even a military adventure is not excluded; from the Finnish bosses in their foreign policy.
The Finnish government did not at once start up negotiations with us, it vacillated before deciding on them. Having declared the consent to carry on negotiations, the government with all impudence showed the hostility against us, holding wide scale military exercises against the USSR. During the negotiations the Finnish government prepared the way for a rupture of negotiations and have not given up this thought even now. Before the second trip, the government spread rumors that the delegation will not go any more to Moscow and negotiations will be conducted by a diplomatic way. Through this the government tried to probe public opinion both within the country, and abroad, and also to expose the USSR attitude to this question. After the second trip these rumors began to spread even more persistently and obtained reliability in Erkko's interview, given Oct. 10, to journalists of the Nordic countries, in which he declared that the government considers a question, whether ”it is necessary to continue negotiations in the present form, or it is necessary to direct them onto the customary course, or whether there are now, in general, possibilities to achieve an agreement”.
It is quite possible that the government, by transferring studying of the Soviet offers of Oct. 27—29 to a parliamentary committees, had a purpose to pave the way for declaring in ”people's name” the Soviet offers as unacceptable.
Hostile forces in power in Finland.
In Finland reactionary circles are, in essence, the masters of the country. The whole period of the independence of Finland has proved that they always were in the camp of the most hostile forces against the USSR. Now such a country is England, and the government who is held in the leading strings of reactionary forces, is ready to serve faithfully now the new master, and the aims of England are known to all.
In Finland the ruling circles, including the Social Democratic leaders, have since the beginning of independence of the country aspired to fix in her people the idea of the USSR, as well as that of imperial Russia as: Russia — the oppressor of the Finnish people; to kindle among Finns hatred towards the Soviet people. During all the years of independence ruling classes carefully aspired to hide the truth about the Soviet Union from broad masses, carrying out systematically anti-Soviet campaign. The vast majority of the Finnish people has no correct view on the USSR. Chauvinistic and anti-Soviet campaigns in the press and in other means, transformation of the country into a military camp, and also the long-term hostile work of the exploiter classes, now raised against the Soviet country in connection with the Soviet-Finnish negotiations, has produced its effect not only in petty-bourgeois circles, officials, but they also grasp a certain part of small employees, peasants and workers in this military coal gas.
Military measures of the government and moods in the army.
The government continues to carry through intensified military measures. In the army more than 25 classes are called. Troops of 300 000 are concentrated to the Karelian Isthmus and on the coast of Lake Ladoga.
In its structure the Finnish army is non-uniform. A fourth part it consists of the Schutzkorps members, persons devoted to exploiter classes have quite good military readiness, other part of the Finnish army consists of reservists — workers, peasants and small employees. They are militarily poorly prepared, and from the political side they represent quite a dangerous force to the Finnish bourgeoisie.
There is a big growing discontent among the reservists because they are prevented from working and their families are put into an extremely difficult financial position. Among them, a grumble concerning aimless detention in military service is spreading. Already a month has passed, and they do not see from the Soviet Union any hint on capturing of Finnish territories. The discontent among reservists amplifies also because they undergo from Schutzkorps members' side rough and arrogant treatment on them. Schutzkorps members as the most prepared, they are appointed as military commanders, immediately superior over reservists.
In the Finnish army the discipline considerably falls and there occurs demoralization in units. There are cases of desertion and suicide of soldiers, mainly on the Karelian Isthmus. Because of political disputes and bad relationship between reservists and the Schutzkorps members there are frequent quarrels and the fights which are quite often come to an end with serious knife wounds. At the end of the last month in one unit in Helsingfors there was a fight as a result of which 4 soldiers with heavy wounds were sent to hospital.
On streets of the capital it is often possible to meet, especially in the evening, groups of drunk soldiers who make uproars and scandals. In the evening the civilian population avoids the military.
In the country the martial law continues to be felt. The military authorities have mined the coast of the Gulfs of Finland and Bothnia and waters of the Aland archipelago. A wartime mode is established in ports. On the coast previously derelict roads are put in order; a large number of warehouses for the ammunition is under construction, especially these works are evident in the vicinities of Helsinki. On water towers, electrosubstations, in the woods machine guns are mounted. Round the city construction works of military facilities proceed, digging of entrenchments and rebuilding the old ones remained from the times of the civil war.
The military measures cost Finland colossal expenses — 50 — 60 million Finnmarks. The financial position in the country more and more worsens. The main source of the income — foreign trade — in connection with war in the West continues to fall sharply. Considerable parts of industrial enterprises work for the defense and they demand a large number of raw materials intended for export. The government as I am told, eats up its 3 billion stock for the military. It takes all measures to improve slightly the difficult financial position through donations and a domestic 50-million loan. The population does not donate for defense and does not subscribe the loan about which even the newspapers wrote repeatedly. The Finnish heads cherish great expectations on receiving foreign loans. Persistently it is rumored that the USA will provide 10 billion and England 5 billion. Unfortunately, because of a lack of time I have no possibility to send you the largely prepared but not yet retyped material as planned in the following:
1. Deterioration of position of workers in connection with the martial law of the country.
2. Assessment of some members of the government and the press of Comr. Molotov's speech at the 5th extraordinary session of the Supreme Soviet and of the leading article in "Pravda" ”To a question of the Soviet-Finnish negotiations”.
3. The effect of Comr. Molotov's speech and the "Pravda" leading article in governmental circles.
4. The Soviet-Finnish negotiations as assessed in the left-wing press.
The chargê d'affaires of the USSR in Finland
AVP RF, f. 011, op. 4, p. 32, d. 172, l. 21—24
Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation. Documents of foreign policy. 1939. XXII:2. Nr. 772. Moscow: Mezhdunar. otnosheniya, 1992
Finland in the Soviet foreign policy 1939-1940