confirming the Constitution of the Grand Duchy of Finland and its full implementation
Vested with plenary power, we hereby reaffirm and acknowledge the religion, the fundamental laws, the rights and privileges which citizens of the Grand Duchy of Finland, from the lowest to the highest, exercise in accordance with the constitution of the country, pledging to preserve their inviolable and irrevocable force and action.
At the same time we consider it necessary to adopt the following measures in order that this Constitution be implemented in its full scope.
We herewith repeal the fundamental statutes proclaimed under the Imperial Manifesto of February 3/15, 1899; the protocols of the Council of Ministers of May 26 (June 8), 1908, which received Imperial confirmation, on the procedure of reporting on Finnish affairs; the law of June 17/30, 1910, issued without the consent of the Diet of Finland, on the procedure for issuing laws pertaining to Finland and decrees of general significance to the state; and all laws and administrative decrees issued on the basis of the above.
The Imperial decree of May 20 (June 2), 1904, on the application to Finland of the Statute on the field administration of troops, on the administration of fortresses, and regulations for localities declared to be under martial law, and, equally, all regulations issued relating to the World War which are incompatible with Finnish laws, must be repealed upon the termination of the war. In addition, the manifesto of May 31 (June 12), 1890, regarding postal services in the Grand Duchy of Finland and the temporary regulations, which received Imperial confirmation on September 30, 1909, on the procedure for supervising Finnish railroads by the Ministry of Transport, must also be repealed.
For the sake of making necessary amendments to various other statutes issued during the past years which are inconsistent with Finnish laws, we are enjoining the Finnish Senate to come to us with appropriate bills.
All persons who have committed political or religious crimes or have violated the law of January 20, 1912, on equalizing the rights of other Russian citizens with Finnish citizens, or, in general, who have been imprisoned or exiled beyond the boundaries of Finland for their political convictions and activities, arc granted full amnesty and are exempted from punishment and prosecution and, if they are under guard, are subject to immediate release.
Drafts of the new Form of Government for the Grand Duchy of Finland will be submitted to the Finnish Diet, which we have decided to convoke at the earliest possible moment, and, if circumstances shall so require, drafts of individual fundamental laws for developing the Constitution of Finland will be preliminarily submitted to it. In particular, these drafts will clarify and expand the rights of the Diet with respect to the right of legislative initiative, and the right to determine the revenue and the expenditure of the Treasury, including the inherent right of self-taxation of the Finnish people as it applies to customs tariffs. Provisions shall be made also for expediting confirmation of bills passed by the Diet. In the same manner, bills will be submitted to the Diet on investing the Diet with the right to verify official orders issued by members of the Finnish Government, as well as bills on an independent supreme court, on the freedom of the press, and on associations.
By this act, we solemnly affirm to the Finnish people, on the basis of its Constitution, the steadfast preservation of their internal independence and their rights to their national culture and languages. We wish to express our firm conviction that Russia and Finland will henceforth be bound together by their respect for law, for the sake of mutual friendship and the prosperity of both free peoples.
Given in Petrograd on the 7/20th of March 1917.
Minister-Chairman and Minister of the Interior Prince L'vov
Foreign Minister Pavel Milyukov
Minister of Agriculture A.Shingarev
Minister of Public Education A.Manuilov
Minister of Transport N.Nekrasov
Minister of Trade and Industry A.Konovalov
Ober-Procurator of the Holy Synod V.L'vov
Assistant to the Commissar on the Affairs of the Grand Duchy of Finland D.Protopopov
Administrator of the Council of Ministers of Provisional Government Vlad. Nabokov