From a Special Correspondent The assassination of a Russian naval officer in Helsinki may bring to a head the latent troubles
in Finland. In some quarters it is suggested that the murder is intended as the beginning of an underground war against the increasing Communisf control—and this is the sort of story which could well play into Communist hands.
The present Finnish Government is faced with the problem of maintaining the democratic traditions of the country under heavy economic and political pressure, and it does not seem likely that it would be able to survive for long.
By a very simple trick the Soviet Control Commission has doubled the value of the indemnity which the Finns have agreed to pay under the Armistice Agreement. The Commission insists that the goods which Finland is obliged to deliver should be valued on the basis of the 1930 prices in American dollars. As the present prices are at least 100 per cent. higher it means that the Finns will have to pay, not 350, but 700 million dollars in five years. It is quite apparent that such a small country as Finland, deprived as she is of a third of her industrial resources, cannot bear such an enormous financial burden.
At the same time the Communists are assiduously creating an impression that the economic situation would be
much improved and the burden of im
demnity would be much relieved should the Finns adjust their internal political and economic conditions to the Soviet pattern.
FINNISH COMMUNIST LEADER
The interview which the Finnish Communist leader, M. Mauri Ruena, gave on November I to the Stockholm paper Dagens Nyheter supplies sufficient evidence of the plans which the Finnish Communists are intending to put in operation..
In the course of his interview M. Ruena said that " democracy in Finland, so far, exists only on paper," and that " a good deal should be done before the people could .enjoy full measure of democratic rights."
" Finnish workers." he continued, " ale in a highly optimistic mood. They
are full of enthusiasm. The Finnish Communist Party is ready to co-operate with all the truly democratic elements in the country." He also stated that the general election to the new Parliament will he held in the beginning of January next, and that the Communist Party considers their chances at the election to he good.
Speaking of the Socialist Party, M. Ruena said that this Party, being responsible for the wat , has lost the confidence of the people. To be on the safe side, however, the Finnish Cornrnunists are planning to remove all their possible rivals from the political arena before their strength may be tested at
Said M. Ruena : " The people are demanding that Tanner, Ryti and other persons guilty of involving Finland in the disastrous wars with the Soviet Union should be brought to trial im
mediately." He also emphasised his hope that Finland would succeed in establishing " truly friendly relations with Russia."