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Thursday, March 15, 2018

Why Mannerheim did not place in St. Petersburg

During the “winter war” of 1939-1940, the Soviet Union was never able to get a convincing military victory over the Finnish army, led by field Marshal Carl Gustav Mannerheim. But 76 years after the end of the war and in 65 after the death of the Finnish field Marshal — the Mannerheim seems to be tolerated in our country, “a complete defeat”.

As reported on Thursday, two Russian state news Agency, established in June in the centre of Saint Petersburg, a memorial plaque in honor of Mannerheim would soon be dismantled.

Photo: peterburg.ru

I am not a supporter of war with monuments. And the plaque is essentially the same monument. But in this case I have more questions to those who took the decision to install the memorial plaque. The problem I see is not in the fact that in the former barracks of the cavalry regiment there was a plate with information that there was once a future President of Finland. I see the problem in what is written on the plaque — and what the implications of this can be done.

On while still hanging in the center of the city on the Neva plaque in addition to bas-relief depicting the brave commander with a chest full of medals, still contains the inscription read: “Lieutenant General of the Russian army, Gustav Karlovich Mannerheim served from 1887 to 1918”. The first thing I’d quibble is the figure of 1918. We know from history that on 18 December 1917 Mannerheim returned to Finland, which for twelve days before it declared its independence. On Lenin signed the Council of people’s Commissars on the recognition of independence of Finland also bears the date 18 December 1917.

But that being said, the little things. But that is not trivia: as before 1917, a faithful servant and protector of Russia, after 1917 Carl Gustaf Mannerheim became a sworn enemy of our country. Read, for example, known as “the first oath of the sword” famous speech Mannerheim at the station antrea (now the Russian city of Kamennogorsk in the Vyborg district of Leningrad region). In his speech, Mannerheim speaks openly about the Finnish claims on Eastern Karelia” — in this historical area even includes the city of Petrozavodsk, founded by Peter I in 1703.

Read the other speech Mannerheim — for example, those with whom he acted, when in 1941 Finland in the same boat with Hitler declared war on the Soviet Union. I have after reading a Russian translation of the presentations, the desire to honor the Finnish field Marshal was gone completely. A special hatred for the Mannerheim I have, however, also has not appeared. Mannerheim was not a traitor, which Russia inflicted “stab in the back”. Mannerheim has ceased to serve Russia because the Russia that he knew ceased to exist. Mannerheim became the servant of his new-old homeland of Finland. And after this step was guided by her interests. Probably, from the Finnish point of view, this position is justified.

Now, let’s digress from all the historical detail and ask a more topical question: do not hiding behind this “dispute about the events of long bygone days” for something completely different — for example, modern political intrigue in the highest echelons of Russian power? It seems to me that this question is far from idle. In the solemn opening of a memorial plaque in honor of Mannerheim in June was attended by Sergei Ivanov — politician, who only a few weeks later were still not quite understandable reasons, removed from key positions head of the Kremlin apparatus.

Another supporter of the installation of the memorial Board — the Minister of culture Vladimir Medinsky, the man with lots of enemies and corridors of the Russian authorities and beyond. Perhaps I have an overly suspicious mind. But I don’t believe the lack of this situation politically. This background really is — it can not be. However, what is truly important for the country: the controversy over a memorial plaque in honor of Mannerheim or political intrigues that lie behind these debates?

My opinion on this matter is clear: of course, the first. A plaque in honor of Mannerheim in the form in which it appeared, is further evidence of our inability to understand and accept our own history in all its fullness and contradiction. I, for one, didn’t mind if in the former cavalry barracks there was a plate with approximately the same information: there was the Mannerheim, a former loyal soldier of Russia who later joined Hitler tried to strangle Leningrad in the grip of the blockade. It would be informative and true from a historical point of view.

But that’s what makes me strong objections, as it attempts to glorify the figure of Mannerheim in Russia — on the Finnish land let them understand. I respect the fact that the future President of Finland did to Russia until 1917. But it is for me deeply again. Initially, as the Mannerheim acted towards our country after 1917, in the period of the great Patriotic war era, which are still living witnesses.

So here’s my verdict: the presence in St. Petersburg a memorial plaque in honor of the “patriot and hero of Russia”, Carl Gustaf Mannerheim — and that’s how it looks — it’s kind of a historical anomaly. An anomaly about which we should not regret it if she goes into the past.


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