1917. The Collection of Decrees of the Grand Duchy of Finland. Nr 20.


concerning confirmation and full reinstatement of the constitution of the Grand Duchy of Finland.

As the sole possessor of the state power we hereby express our will to ratify and consolidate the religion and the fundamental laws of the Grand Duchy of Finland, and all the rights and privilegies which, according to the constitution of the land, belong to the citizens of this land, be their position high or low, and to keep all these in their full force and effect, firm and unviolated.

In accordance with this we have seen that the following measures should be taken for the full reinstatement of this constitution.

We hereby revoke, in their force and effect, the fundamental rules as stated in the Gracious Manifesto of February 3/15, 1899; the Graciously confirmed decision of May 26 (June 8), 1908, about the procedure to be followed when introducing matters concerning Finland, and the Act of June 17 (30), 1910, given without the consent of the Finnish Diet about the procedure to be followed in issuing laws and decrees concerning Finland but bearing all-Empire significance, and all the Acts and administrative ordinances based on this.

The Gracious decree of May 20 (June 2), 1904, ordaining that the validity of statutes concerning war-time military administration and maintenance of fortifications, and the ordinances for municipalities declared under martial law, are extended to Finland, as well as the validity of those statutes issued because of the present world war and which contradict the Finnish constitution, will cease to exist when the war ends. And, furthermore, the Gracious Manifesto of May 31 (June 12), 1890, about the organisation of the postal system in the Grand Duchy of Finland and Graciously ratified temporary rules, dated September 30, 1909, about the means of supervision of the Finnish railways by the Ministry of Communication will cease to exist.

The Finnish Senate is ordered to propose necessary corrections to other ordinances enacted in contradiction to the Finnish law.

All those people who are found guilty of political or religious crimes or who have violated the Act, issued on January 20, 1912, ordaining other Russian subjects to be given an equal status with the Finnish citizens, or who otherwise because of their convictions or political activities are incarcerated or have been exiled, are given a full amnesty and are released from punishment and indictment and those, who are imprisoned, should immediately be set free.

The Finnish Diet, which we have decided to summon as soon as possible, should be presented a Bill for a new Constitution for the Grand Duchy of Finland and, if the circumstances thus imply, precedent propositions to particular fundamental statutes through which the principles of government of the country will be developed. These propositions should particularly clarify and extend the authority of the Diet to motion a Bill and to confirm the state revenues and expenditure, including the extension of the Finnish people's immemorial right to self-imposed taxes to cover also customs duties, and furthermore, the proper execution of the Acts ordained by the Diet should be ensured. Furthermore the Diet is to be given a bill concerning its right to inspect the execution of official duties of the members of the Finnish cabinet, and a proposition to a law establishing an independent Supreme Court, and to Freedom of the Press Act and Free Association Act.

By this Act of State we solemnly assure the inviolability of the right to internal autonomy, of the national cultural life and languages, acquired through the land's constitution by the people of Finland. We express a firm confidence that from now on Russia and Finland are united by the respect of law bringing mutual friendship and happiness to both free peoples. In Petrograd, on the 7/20th of March 1917.

Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Prince LVOV.

Foreign Minister PAVEL MILIUKOV.
Minister of Agriculture A. SHINGAREV.
Minister of National Education A. MANUILOV.
Minister of Communications N. NEKRASOV.
Minister for Trade and Industry A. KONOVALOV.
Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod V. LVOV.

Deputy Commissar for the Affairs of the Office of the Minister State Secretary of the Grand Duchy of Finland D. Protopopov.

The Council of Ministers of the Provisional Government,

Head of the Bureau Vlad. Nabokov*.

*) V.D. Nabokov (1870-1922, the Kadet or Constitutional Democratic party), a public law expert, was the father of the famous author Vladimir (V.) Nabokov (1899-1977).

Translated from the Finnish official document by Pauli Kruhse.

See Edv. Hjelt's memoir about these hectic days.

Declaration of the Provisional Government (Durham).

The Kadet party program of 1906 (section 26) demanded full reinstatement of the Finnish Constitution.

Seal of the Provisional Govmt
Seal of the Provisional Government
The first Provisional Government (March 3-May 15, 1917) appointed by the State Duma included the following ministers:

Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Prince G.E. L'vov, 1861-1925, Kadet.

Foreign Minister Pavel N. Miliukov, 1859-1943, Kadet, historian.
Minister of Agriculture A. Shingarëv, 1869-1918, Kadet, physician.
Minister of National Education A. Manuilov, 1861-1928, Kadet, professor.
Minister of Communications N. V. Nekrasov, 1879-1940, Kadet, M.Sc. (Engin.)
Minister for Trade and Industry A. Konovalov, 1875-1948, Progressist.
Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod V. N. L'vov, 1872-1935, Centrist.

And these, who were not among the signatories of the Manifesto:

Minister of War and Navy A.I. Guchkov, 1862-1936, Octobrist, industrialist.
Minister of Justice A.F. Kerenski, 1881-1970, Trudovik, barrister. He gave an explanation in the newspapers telling that he was on a trip on that day.
Minister of Finance M.I. Tereschenko, 1888-1956, non-partisan, industrialist.
State Comptroller I.V. Godnev, 1856- , Progressist (he, according to Hjelt's memoir, opposed issuing the manifesto).

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