There has been a rise in recent years in research of the Russian Imperial Gendarmerie, that is, the secret or political police. However, there is no study on the case of Finland. Moreover, the gendarme system in the Grand Duchy of Finland during the period of the Great Reforms in the Russian Empire and the time of Governor General Nikolay Adlerberg (1866–1881) in Finland is almost completely unexplored. Osmo Jussila is one of the few historians to have examined the topic and did archival research based on gendarme reports. Continuing this tradition, and based on understudied archival documents, this article reconstructs the diverse and multitiered microcosm of “Russian Finland” through the eyes of a specific actor, in the third quarter of the nineteenth century. This article argues that during the period 1866–1881, the chief of the Gendarme Administration in Finland, August Tobiesen (1810–1885), was well aware of many events that took place in the grand duchy, especially in its capital Helsinki (Helsingfors). He did not assert that there had been no troubles or incidents in this special part of the Russian Empire. Tobiesen wanted to objectively reflect the situation on the ground in the grand duchy in his reports.

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