Nikolay Bobrikov

General-Governor Nikolay Ivanovich Bobrikov

Nikolay Ivanovich Bobrikov (Russian: Никола́й Ива́нович Бо́бриков; January 27 [O.S. January 15] 1839 in St. Petersburg – June 17, 1904 in Helsinki, Grand Duchy of Finland) was a Russian general and politician.[1]

Bobrikov became an officer in the Russian army in 1858, after which he served in the Kazan military district and as divisional chief-of-staff in Novgorod. He became a colonel in 1869. A year later he was transferred to Saint Petersburg for special duties in the Imperial guard. This gave Bobrikov access to the Imperial court. In 1878 he became a major general.

In 1898, Tsar Nicholas II appointed Bobrikov as the Governor-General of Finland. Bobrikov quickly became very unpopular and hated in Finland as he was an adamant supporter of the curtailing of the grand principality's extensive autonomy, which had in the late 1800s come into conflict with Russian ambitions of a unified and indivisible Russian state. In 1899, Nicholas II signed the "February Manifesto" which marks the beginning of the first "Years of Oppression" (sortovuodet) from the traditional Finnish perspective. In this manifesto the Tsar decreed that the Diet of the Estates of Finland could be overruled in legislation if it was in Russian imperial interests. Half a million Finns, considering the decree a coup against the Finnish constitution, signed a petition to Nicholas II requesting to revoke the manifesto. The Tsar didn't even receive the delegation bringing the petition.[1]

In 1900, Bobrikov issued orders that all correspondence between government offices was to be conducted in Russian and that education in the Russian language was to be increased in schools. The Finnish army was abolished in 1901, and Finnish conscripts could now be forced to serve with Russian troops anywhere in the Russian empire. To the first call-up in 1902, only 42% of the conscripts showed up. In 1905, conscription in Finland was abolished since Finns were seen as unreliable.[1]

In 1903, Bobrikov was given dictatorial powers by the Tsar so that he could dismiss government officials and close newspapers. On June 16, 1904, Bobrikov was assassinated by Eugen Schauman in Helsinki. Schauman shot Bobrikov three times and himself twice. Schauman died instantly and Bobrikov died in hospital in the early hours of the following morning.[1]

The shooting took place on the day described in James Joyce's novel Ulysses. It is briefly mentioned in this book and also alluded to in Joyce's last work, Finnegans Wake.[2]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Kauffman, George B.; Niinistö, Lauri (1998). "Chemistry and Politics: Edvard Immanuel Hjelt (1855–1921)". The Chemical Educator. 3 (5): 115. doi:10.1007/s00897980247a.
  2. Thomson, Spurgeon (2010). "The Subaltern Finnegans Wake". Vol. 1. Internationalist Review of Irish Culture. Retrieved 13 December 2010.
Political offices
Preceded by
Frederick Heiden
Governor-General of Finland
Succeeded by
Ivan Mikhailovich Obolensky
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