Superb early Finnish diplomatic passport - Our Passports
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Superb early Finnish diplomatic passport


Issued to a member of the Legation stationed in Moscow.


Early diplomatic passports issued during the formation of relations between two nations are the rarest and of importance, because not only of their collector rarity but also of their historical importance: we can learn about the routes that the officials took and the frequency of the trips back and forth to their home country, presumably for updates and consultations. Diplomatic passports were also used, as today, for the transfer of sensitive material and correspondence between the governments of the two countries.


The passport in this article is a fine example of an early passport issued during the early stages of relations between Moscow and Helsinki.


Finland declared its independence from Russia on December 6th 1917, at the height of the First World War. The Finnish parliament adopted the above mentioned declaration which ended its autonomy within the Russian Empire, becoming an independent and free nation.


Four years later the country would find itself at odds with its eastern neighbor in what would be known as the “East Karelian Uprising“, or as it was known in Finnish “Itäkarjalaisten Kansannousu”. This was a six month long conflict between the Finland and Communist Russia, starting on November 6th and ending on March 31st. The end of hostilities led to agreements between the two governments regarding the border of the countries, being signed on June 1st 1922.


Official passport numbered 339 was issued at Helsinki on July 31st 1922 to Väinö Piispanen, then aged 45, who was an official, not a diplomat though, at the Finnish embassy in Moscow (as mentioned in the passport, he previously was a book-keeper, senior copyist, at the Finnish passport division at St. Petersburg). The passport was issued by Foreign Service official Aarne Wuorenheimo (active from 1919-1924), and also by George Arvid Winckelmann (August 24th 1884 – November 15th 1962), who was a senior FM offcial with a rich dipomatic career as well, being Charge d’Affaires in later statges of his life to the Finnish diplomatic missions at Tokyo, Madrid and Lisbon (1936-1939).


The passport has attractive early official Soviet Visas and border crossing stamps from 1922 to 1923.


Have added images of the this exquisite travel document and of the watermark as well.




Thank you for reading “Our Passports”.


Neil Kaplan
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