Columnist Tiitus in Helsingin Sanomat, April 14, 1917:
Without doubt Kerenski is more a spiritual than a carnal being. A sort of a revelation. One day he suddenly appears in one corner of the vast Russia. The next day in some other corner. On the third day he emerges in Finland. Comes out unexpectedly and unanticipated like a bolt from the blue, speaks, disappears.
And will then come out again in twenty-four hours on some other podium 1,000 km away, delivering his hectic speech, making his bow .. and will be disappearing again at the very moment.
Representatives of the Finnish people assembled for their regular plenary session yesterday. Nothing exceptional was in the air. The Diet was present in their full number, as were the gallery, too. The roll call was over and some routine matter was taken care of.
Then comes the bomb out of the Speaker's club and mouth:
"The session will be interrupted for a while because the Russian Minister of Justice Kerenski has arrived in the Parliament and he wants to utter some words to the members of the Diet." And there, in a moment, Kerenski stands in front of the Diet which, as well as the gallery, instantly stands up and gives him a big hand.
A slender, pale, young looking man. His features are well known from the pictures but they don't show his eye-catching pallor. It is only a month from the revolution and from that on, one can suppose, Kerenski hasn't had a regular sleep for one night. Or, perhaps only accidentally.
When you hear Kerenski speaking you can sense the strength how this striking man carries away a nation of a hundred-million. He electrifies even those who don't understand a word of Russian. As if employing some magnetic power he first pins everybody's attention down with increasing intensity step by step. You can't see anything else than this passionate strong speaker and you can't hear anything else than what he says. With this mental power full of tension he almost launches the words like bullets out of his mouth. A speech like this has to affect even the most phlegmatic audience.
Kerenski articulates his speech very clearly. I have never heard Russian spoken so clearly. Not a syllable is lost. If the listener even has a slight understanding of the language he easily can follow the speech and will understand its main message. And who commands the Russian language on newspaper level, will understand Kerenski's speech completely even though he otherwise wouldn't understand the language. One word in his speech was certainly understood by everyone. It was strongly said in clear and loud Finnish:
- Eläköön! (Hurrah!)
After the speech a loud applause brokes out. The speech is interpreted in Finnish. Then the Speaker of the Diet speaks. His speech is interpreted to Kerenski in Russian. The Speaker of the Finnish Diet and the Russian Minister of Justice shake hands. Kerenski steps down from the podium, shakes hands with one of the lady members of the Parliament and swiftly disappears. His visit in the Finnish Parliament has ended, and the plenary session was continued.
One could ask, what we slow Finns forgot?
We forgot what anywhere else would have erupted like a natural force: A loud hurray to Kerenski! No one suggested that and so it went. But what had been more natural and what had more intimately interpreted the common feeling than this hurray?
We, the Finns, play our tune so differently from the lively Russians, and especially from Kerenski himself.
But one can only hope that Kerenski understood this.
*) Tiitus or Ilmari Kivinen, 1883-1940. Mr. Kivinen was a columnist in Helsingin Sanomat from the year 1914.
Translation by Pauli Kruhse (©).
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