Petersburg Between 1,200 and 3,543 Soviet tanks were destroyed. 506, 540 Trotter (2002),. Translated by Dinan, Tim. 196 According to revised estimates in 2005 by Finnish historians, 25,904 people died or went missing and 43,557 were wounded on the Finnish side during the war. Some specialist Finnish soldiers were called in to attack the mottis ; the most famous of them was Major Matti Aarnio, or "Motti-Matti" as he became known. World War II, and ended three and a half months later with the. In 1809, to protect its imperial capital, Saint Petersburg, the Russian Empire conquered Finland and converted it into an autonomous buffer state. In response to international criticism, Soviet Foreign Minister Vyacheslav Molotov stated that the Soviet Air Force was not bombing Finnish cities, but rather dropping humanitarian aid to the starving Finnish population, sarcastically dubbed Molotov bread baskets by Finns. 58 Ries (1988),.