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Featured story entry from Snow
Posted 14th-September-2008 at 11:46 AM by Snow
A statue of Emperor Alexander II is located in the center of the square. The statue, erected in 1894, has built to commemorate his re-establishing the Diet of Finland in 1863, and initiating several reforms increasing Finland's autonomy from Russia. The statue comprises Alexander on a pedestal surrounded by figures representing the law (Lex), Light (Lux), Work (Labour), Peace (Pax)
During the Russification of Finland from 1899 onwards, the statue became a symbol of quiet resistance, with people of Helsinki protesting to the decrees of Nicholas II leaving flowers to at the foot of the statue of his grandfather, then know in Finland as "the good czar".
After Finland's independence in 1917, demands were made regarding the removal of the statue, and later, a suggestion was made that it should be replaced with the equestrian statue of Mannerheim (currently located along Mannerheimintie, near Eduskuntatalo).
Nothing came of either of these suggestions, and today the statue is one of the major tourist landmarks on the city, standing as a monument to Finland's relationship with Imperial Russia.