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Kullervo Achilles Manner (12 October 1880 in Kokemäki, Finland – 15 January 1939 in Ukhta-Pechora, the USSR) was a Finnish journalist and politician, and later a Soviet politician. He was a member of the Finnish parliament, serving as its Speaker in 1917. He was also chairman of the Social Democratic Party of Finland between 1917–1918. During the Finnish Civil War, he led the Finnish People's Delegation, a leftist alternative to the established Finnish government. After the war, he escaped to the Soviet Union, where he co-founded the Finnish Communist Party.
Manner was born a priest's son in Kokemäki. His father Gustaf Manner worked in various parishes, including those of Lappi and Vampula. After graduating from high school in 1900, Manner worked as a journalist in Porvoo and later in Helsinki. In 1911, Manner received a prison sentence for lèse majesté (a lesser crime similar to treason) against Nicholas II. He was elected to the Finnish Parliament as a Social Democrat from Uusimaa in 1910 and 1917. He was appointed Speaker of the Parliament in 1917. Manner's brother Arvo was governor of Viipuri and Kymi provinces from the 1920s to the 1950s.
On January 28, 1918, during the Finnish Civil War, Manner was appointed Chairman of the Finnish People's Delegation. On April 10 of the same year, Manner was appointed commander-in-chief of the Red Guards as well as head of state of its short-lived government, "The People's Deputation. He was given dictatorial powers.
In the USSR
After the Civil War, Manner fled to Soviet Russia where he became the second chairman of the Finnish Communist Party after Yrjö Sirola. He also became an official of the Comintern. In the 1930s, Manner and his wife Hanna Malm fell out of favor with Otto Wille Kuusinen. Manner was dismissed from most of his duties in May 1934. He continued to work as a Comintern rapporteur on Latin American affairs until July 1935.
Sent to the Gulag
In 1935, Manner and Malm were arrested and sentenced individually to ten years hard labor. Manner was taken to a Gulag labor camp in Ukhta-Pechora in Komi Republic. Hanna Malm also received a ten-year sentence. She was taken to a labor camp in the Solovetsky Monastery island, where she later committed suicide by drowning.
Manner died in the Ukhta-Pechora labor camp on January 15, 1939. The official cause of death was tuberculosis. However, according to historian Aleksandr Popov, the real cause of Manner's death was radiation poisoning which he developed from ingesting water with radium whilst on duty within a radium mine.
Manner was rehabilitated in 1962.
Kaarlo Juho Ståhlberg
|Speaker of the Parliament of Finland