Gustaf Otto Douglas

Count Gustaf (also Gustav) Otto Douglas (1687–1771) was a Swedish mercenary, grandson of Robert Douglas, Count of Skenninge. He was captured by Russians during the Battle of Poltava. He was eventually employed by the Russian army during the Great Northern War, and in 1717 was placed in charge of the occupation of Finland. While resident in Turku, Douglas is reputed to have killed a Russian attendant during festivities of some kind. After being sentenced to imprisonment, Douglas bought his freedom with the lives of two hundred Finns, followed by the same number of horses, one from each of the families of these men. Douglas is believed to have made several inhumane pronouncements on the scorched earth policy he employed during the occupation of Finland. By making the land uninhabited and uninhabitable, he sought to leave nothing for his former employers the Swedes to retake. He is generally believed to have been a more cruel and sadistic figure even than his Russian superiors, and bears comparison with Kurtz of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, particularly when one considers the 10,000 slaves estimated to have been taken to Russia from Finland during the Greater Wrath.


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Name Douglas, Gustaf Otto
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Date of birth 1687
Place of birth
Date of death 1771
Place of death


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