It was to no avail as the era of Russian Tzars came to an end in 1917 during the Communist Revolution. On December 6th of that year Finland declared its independence. A short (but bloody) civil war followed between "Whites" (Finland forces) and "Reds" (Russian supported factions), and the "Whites" prevailed and the country's freedom was at hand.
Independent Finland's upstart parliament approved a short-lived monarchy as World War I raged across Europe. That bad idea was soon abandoned and the Republic of Finland was established with Kaarlo Juho Stahlberg elected as its first President in 1919.
Prior to the beginning of World War II, Finland experienced anticommunist violence, and its already shaky relationship with Russia (now the Soviet Union) worsened. Finland lost some of its eastern territory to the Soviet Union during the 1939 Winter War, and over the next few years tragic wars over territory continued until treaties were finally signed in the late 1940's.
Finland, though severely weakened by war, continued its on-going trade relationship with its longtime nemesis (the Soviet Union) and it began to benefit from renewed financial stability and a growing market economy.
Over time, far-reaching and expensive (yet at the time affordable) social programs developed, but when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, trade profits vanished (almost overnight) and the country fell into a depression with very high unemployment.
Battered and bruised, the economy wobbled, but remained standing. In 1994, Finland (smartly) voted to join the European Union (EU). It's received considerable assistance and benefits from that membership, as well as (itself) contributing back to that union.
In February of 2000, the proud, trend-setting Finns elected their first ever female president, Tarja Halonen, and she was re-elected in 2006.
Finland is an artistic, creative and stylish land, with a respected worldwide resume in glass, fabric and furniture design, athletic competition, all of the performing arts, and innovative civic and social programs.
The great outdoors certainly flourishes in Finland, and for most Finns, a quiet weekend cabin on the edge of a lake, amidst a snow-covered landscape is heaven, unless of course someone forgot to install the sauna.
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