Minister–Secretary of State for Finland

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The Minister–Secretary of State for Finland (in Finnish ministerivaltiosihteeri; in Swedish ministerstatssekreterare) represented interests of the Grand Duchy of Finland in the Imperial Court in Saint Petersburg from 1809 to 1917. Before 1834 the title was secretary of state. The Russian Tsar was represented in Helsinki by the Governor General.

The first secretary of state was Alexander I's Russian advisor Mikhail Speransky. After Speransky (whose term had yet the Committee for Finnish Affairs as another actor in same matters), this State Secretary was required, as were Senators and so forth, to be a subject of the grand duchy.

This secretary of state was an official who, and whose office (there were deputy and assistants) had the monopoly to present Finnish affairs to the Emperor. All acts of the Emperor concerning the grand duchy, were to be countersigned by this State Secretary, or deputized officials. When the Finnish autonomy was establishing, other Finnish-related officials generally supported, and helped to build this monopoly (to mention, Governor-General Alexander Sergeyevich Menshikov was a supporter of this particularism and although he resided in St Petersburg and was in close contact with the emperor as simultaneous Russian Minister of Navy, he consistently had Finnish affairs to go through the Minister State Secretary). The tradition, endorsed by conservative Emperors such as Nicholas I, created a strong precedent. Russian general government was effectively kept out of Finnish affairs, this Minister having the benefit of the channel, and many possibilities to stall Russian ministers. Only in last two decades of the grand duchy, those periods of russification, the system was attempted to be broken in some regards, but it created counteroffensives based on illegality arguments. Vyacheslav von Plehwe's appointment in 1900 was criticized as illegal, because he was not a Finnish citizen. Afterwards, russified Finnish citizens were occasionally used in this office and as members of the senate in Helsinki.

State Secretary[edit]

State Secretary In Office
Портрет Сперанского Михаила Михайловича.jpg count Mikhail Speransky 1809–1811
Rehbinder.jpg baron, later count Robert Henrik Rehbinder 1811–1834

Minister–Secretary of State[edit]

Minister–Secretary of State In Office
Rehbinder.jpg baron Robert Henrik Rehbinder 1834–1841
Greve Alexander Armfelt.jpg count Alexander Armfelt 1842–1876
Emil Stjernvall-Walleen photograph.jpg baron Emil Stjernvall-Walleen 1876–1881
Theodor Bruun.jpg baron Theodor Bruun 1881–1888
Johann Casimir Ehrnrooth.jpg Johann Casimir Ehrnrooth 1888–1891
Woldemar von Daehn by Edelfelt.jpg Woldemar von Daehn 1891–1898
Prokope VB.jpg Victor Procopé (acting) 1898–1899
Vyacheslav von Plehve.jpg Vyacheslav von Plehve 1900–1904
Edvard Oerstroem.jpg Edvard Oerstroem (Andreievich) (acting) 1904–1905
Constantin Linder 1905
Edvard Oerstroem.jpg Edvard Oerstroem (Andreievich) (acting) 1905–1906
August Langhoff.jpg August Langhoff (later baron) 1906–1913
Vladimir Markov.jpg Vladimir Ivanovich Markov 1913–1917

Finland's representative[edit]

Representative In Office
Fedor Rodichev.jpg Fyodor Rodichev 1917

Minister–Secretary of State[edit]

Minister–Secretary of State In Office
Carl enckell.jpg Carl Enckell 1917


  • Osmo Jussila, Seppo Hentilä and Jukka Nevakivi. From Grand Duchy to a modern state: a political history of Finland since 1809.