1917. The Collection of Decrees of the Grand Duchy of Finland. N:o 3.
M a n i f e s t o
of July 18/31, 1917, on the Dissolution of the
Sejm and on the Holding of New Elections.
The Provisional Government received the Address of the Sejm, dated July 12
(25) of this year, together with the text of its independently adopted decisions
on the achievement of Finnish sovereignty.
On the basis of the constitution, Finland enjoys independence in internal
affairs only within the established framework of the legal relationship between
Finland and Russia; it has always been considered that the basic underlying
principle of these relations was their common bearer of the supreme power of the
state. With the abdication of the last emperor, the full powers which inhered in
him, as well as the rights of the Grand Duke of Finland, could pass only to the
Provisional Government, which was vested with supreme power by the people of
Russia. Otherwise the rights of the Grand Duke would have to have been considered as belonging to him even to this very day.
The Provisional Government, having publicly sworn to preserve the rights
of the people of the Russian State, cannot surrender these rights prior to the decision of the Constituent Assembly.
Continuing to consider it its duty and its concern to defend and expand the
rights of Finnish independence in internal affairs in accordance with a Manifesto
issued on March 7 (20) of this year, the Provisional Government cannot at the
same time recognize the right of the Finnish Sejm to predetermine of its own
accord the will of the forthcoming Russian Constituent Assembly and abolish the
authority of the Russian Government in matters of Finnish legislation and
In the meantime, the decisions adopted by the Sejm alter the very essence of
the mutual legal relationship between Russia and Finland and constitute a fundamental violation of the present constitution of Finland.
Let the people of Finland weigh their fate. It must be decided only in agreement with the people of Russia.
Having ordered, accordingly, that new elections be held at the earliest date,
on October 1 and 2 (new style) of this year, the Provisional Government considered it to be in the best general interest to dissolve the regular Sejm, which it
convoked on March 22 (April 14) of this year, and to set [a date], no later than
November 1 of this year, for the convocation of the new Sejm. Therefore, all
persons who will be elected as deputies to the Sejm are to arrive in the town of
Helsingfors by a date that will be specially set for the discharge of their duties
in accordance with the Statute of the Sejm.
In accordance with existing laws, at the opening of the Sejm the Government
will submit a bill for consideration by the Sejm on the procedure for settling the
internal affairs of Finland.
Issued on July 18 (31), 1917, in Petrograd.
The Prime Minister A. KERENSKI.
- Deputy Prime Minister N. NEKRASOV.
- Minister for Foreign Affairs M. TERESHCHENKO.
- Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod K. LVOV.
- Minister of Supply A. PESHEKHONOV.
- Minister of Agriculture Victor CHERNOV.
- Minister of Labour M. SKOBELEV.
- Minister of Justice Iv. EFREMOV.
- Minister for Postal and Telegraphic Institutions and the Director of the Ministry of the Interior Ir. TSERETELLI.
- State Controller Iv. GODNEV.
K. Enckell, Minister
State Secretary for Finland
English translation: The Russian Provisional Government 1917. Documents. Selected and edited by Robert Paul Browder and Alexander Kerensky. Stanford University Press. 1961.
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