The article analyzes the role and perception of the imperial army in the Grand Duchy of Finland during the World War I. The author traces the history of Finland’s armed forces back to 1905 when after the first revolution they were reorganized and integrated into the overall imperial army. Since the break up of the world war the military administration coexisted with the former civil imperial administration in the Grand Duchy of Finland. The author documents the changes in government of Finland which were brought mainly by the military authorities. In comparison to the civil administration the military intervened much more ruthlessly and expansively into the process of administration and everyday life of Finland. They were largely unaware of the complexities associated with this region and traditions that were accumulated in the history of administering of the borderland. More importantly new administrative style and practices were conditioned by the novelty of the “total war,” which required the comprehensive internal mobilization of human and material resources. The author reveals a latent conflict between the military and civil imperial authorities in Finland over a proper policy of the empire in this region, in which the civil authorities attempted to mediate intervention and continue the pre-war tradition of imperial government. The author also scrutinizes the everyday life of and day-to-day interaction between the imperial army the population of Finland. Focusing on mutual perception that emerged out of new policy and this interaction, the author concludes that a more direct and unmediated encounter of Finland with the imperial army and military authorities led to a more conflictual relationship underpinned by cultural misunderstanding and brought about the construction of the army into the negative image of the empire as a whole, which in turn contributed to the growth of separatist moods.