A different sort of handshake

Chris Burford cburford at gn.apc.org
Thu Oct 3 15:07:00 MDT 1996

"Look at Finland; she is a democratic country, more developed,
more cultured than we are. In Finland a process of
separation, of differentiation of the proletariat is
proceeding, proceeding in a peculiar way, far more painfully
than was the case with us. The Finns have experienced
the dictatorship of Germany; they are now experiencing
the dictatorship of the Entente. And thanks to the fact
that we recognise the right of nations to self-determination,
the process of differentiation has been facilitated there.
I very well recall the scene when, at the Smolny, it was
my lot to hand an act to Svinhufvud - which in Russian means
'swinehead' - the representative of the Finnish bourgeoisie,
who played the part of a hangman. He amiably shook my hand,
we exchanged compliments. How unpleasant that was! But it
had to be done, because at that time the bourgeoisie was
deceiving the people, was deceiving the toilers by declaring
that the Muscovites, the chauvinists, the Great Russians,
wanted to stifle the Finns. It had to be done."

March 19 1919.

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