Helsinki, January 27, 2004
prosecutor says Finnish introduction to book on
Russian Revolution is criminally
A BOOK on the last phases of the
Russian imperial family is leading to charges of
incitement to ethnic hatred being filed in Vantaa
District Court. State Prosecutor Jorma
Aijälä says that the introduction of
the book defames the Jews as an ethnic group and
libels the Jewish religion.
According to the indictment, the text
constitutes both incitement against an ethnic
group, and violation of the sanctity of religion.
Prosecutions for either crime are quite rare in
The work is the Finnish translation of The
Last Days of the Romanovs by Robert
Wilton. It appeared in Finnish in 2000. The
book is published in Finland by a group called
Tabernaculum Dei, which operates in the southwest
of the country. The book's translator who wrote the
introduction to Finnish edition uses the pseudonym
The Ministry of Justice found that the text of
the introduction was criminal in its content and
called for charges to be filed already in February
last year. The State Prosecutor drafted an
indictment in late May
 and the
issue will soon come up in Vantaa District
The upcoming prosecution was made public on the
web site of the publication Kirjastolehti
(Library Journal), published by the Finnish Library
Society. According to the publication, several
libraries have already pulled the book from their
shelves, or are in the process of doing so.
The introduction drafted for the Finnish version
of Wilton's book claims that the Jews are a threat
to other ethnic groups, and especially Christians.
The piece also lists a number of wars, acts of
violence, and crimes, which the Jews have
supposedly committed throughout history. Similar
material is also contained in Wilton's book, which
was originally published in 1920. For instance, a
web site favoured by neo-Nazis claims that the book
proves that the Russian Revolution was, in fact,
the work of Jewish Bolsheviks.
Tabernaculum Dei claims to base its activities
on the theology and philosophy of Emanuel
Swedenborg (1688-1772). The pseudonym Jakim
Boor has been used before: in the 1940s and 1950s
the name was used by Spain's dictator Francisco
Franco for some of his writings. Robert Wilton,
meanwhile, served as the Russian correspondent of
the British newspaper The Times from 1902 to
1919. In addition to his book on the last days of
the Romanovs, he wrote another one entitled
Russia's Agony (1918). Both have been
published in several languages.
Helsingin Sanomat has learned that the
edition of 1,000 copies has been fully sold out, or
distributed. The publisher has sent copies to all
Members of Parliament, for instance.
The book has been distributed both through book
stores, and through companies dealing with the
distribution of books to public libraries. The
Finnish translator of the book is also known to
have personally marketed the book to libraries.
No copies of the book were to be found in
Helsinki's two main bookstores, the Akateeminen
kirjakauppa and Suomalainen kirjakauppa on Friday,
but it can be ordered through both bookstores.
Libraries in Espoo took the book off their
shelves in December,
following negative feedback
from customers. In Vantaa the two copies
held by the city's library network have not been
available since the autumn of 2000.
The book has never been acquired by Helsinki's
libraries, but it can be found in many of Finland's
provincial libraries; last week it was still
available in most of them.
"We are surprised that the work has been
available at libraries at all", says Dan
Kantor, a spokesman for Helsinki's Jewish
His congregation originally
filed a complaint to
the ministry of justice over the book. "Many
libraries heard of it at that stage, and we
understood that the book was being removed from the
According to the Ministry of Education, it is up
to individual municipalities to decide what
measures to take with respect to the book. This
past week provincial governments have informed
libraries on the issue and reminded them that
distributing the book could be a crime.
Last Days of the Romanovs is
from Noontide Press for $6.95.