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Finland was merely a region of Sweden until 1809, when Russia claimed the territory during the Finnish War and made the eastern third of Sweden into the Grand Duchy of Finland. Russian Czar Alexander II (the guy on the pedestal clutching Finland’s constitution in his hand), gave the duchy even more autonomy in 1863. Alexander was a reformer who used Finland as a testing ground for his ideas on how to promote local self-government among Russian territories.

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