February 28 in Russian history

1825: Russia and Great Britain sign a convention on the borders between their American colonies. The result is still seen on the map as the border between Alaska and Canada.

1835: On this day Elias Lönnrot, a Finnish scholar and a doctor, writes the last letters in the preface (the letters were E.L.)and sends the manuscript of Kalevala to the publisher. This day, February 28, is celebrated now as the Kalevala day, Kalevalan päivä. There is probably no need to explain what is Kalevala, but why do I write about this day in a Russian history blog? First, Finland was a part of Russia when Lönnrot wrote the epic. Second, Kalevala is also the national epic of Karelians. Third, my wife sometimes tells me (with an approval or disapproval, I never understand) that I am a Finn. Then she watches at me and adds: "or an Ugrian". She probably means an ogre, but it doesn't really matter. And, fourth, it is just a great reading. The day is celebrated in Russian Karelia and St.Petersburg. For an unclear reason, the Petersburgians celebrate the day two weeks later (old style calendar? or just natural slowness?).

1921: The Kronstadt rebellion begins. The navy sailors, who had been one of the main forces supporting bolsheviks during and after the November revolution, grew annoyed by the politics of the dictatorship of the proletariat, by the devastation and havoc caused by the Civil War. The same causes resulted in multiple peasants' revolts. On February 28, sailors and workers of Kronstadt, the crucial naval port near St.Petersburg, started a rebellion under the slogan "For the Soviets without bolsheviks". The rebellion began with the adoption of a resolution, which included 15 demands, like new elections to the Soviets, freedom of speech, right of assembly, right to form trade-unions, amnesty for all political prisoners, abolition of the activity of political parties in the army and of the armed detachments of the political parties. The rebellion was headed by Stepan Petrichenko, a scribe from battleship Petropavlovsk. Soon, there were 14,000 supporters in Kronstadt. Navy officers, usually hated by sailors, joined the rebellion. On March 2 a revolutionary committee was formed. On March 4, the bolsheviks officially named the events in Kronstadt a mutiny. The storm was scheduled on March 8, but the attack failed. On March 16, at night, a new storm started with a mass artillery fire. About 50,000 troops attacked Kronstadt and about every fifth of them was killed. The rebels had to leave the fortress and flee to Finland. Stepan Petrichenko, the leader of the sailors, also escaped to Finland and lived their until 1940, when he was expelled to the USSR, arrested and sent to a labor camp, where he died soon. Many historians say that the rebellion became the turning point towards the totalitarian state.

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