Eugen Schauman was born to Swedish-speaking Finnish parents Waldemar, a general-lieutenant in the Imperial Russian army, a Privy Councillor and senator in the Finnish Government, and Elin Maria Schauman in Kharkov, Russian Empire (now Kharkiv, Ukraine). His brother Rafael was born in 1873 and his sister Sigrid in 1877.
Schauman’s patriotism is rumoured to have been awakened in his childhood when his mother used to read him The Tales of Ensign Stål by Johan Ludvig Runeberg. The tales were combined with his yearning for home since the family was forced to travel because of his father’s work.
Before the assassination Schauman worked as a clerk in the Senate of Finland. Schauman also arranged a series of marksmanship courses for local students in Helsinki. These courses later became a part of the White Guards.
The assassination of Bobrikov was a topical question among the Finnish activists of the time. Other activist groups are known to have planned an assassination but Schauman convinced them to give him two weeks before they would intervene.
When Bobrikov came to the Senate house on 16 June, Schauman shot him three times, and then himself twice in the chest, using a FN Browning M1900 pistol, with specially handloaded explosive bullets. Schauman died instantly. Two of the bullets that hit Bobrikov ricocheted off his decoration, but the third bounced back from his buckle and caused severe damage to his stomach. Bobrikov died the same night in the Helsinki surgical hospital.
Schauman left a letter in which he stated that he justified his actions as a punishment for Bobrikov’s crimes against the people of Finland. He addressed the letter to the Tsar and wanted him to pay attention to the problems in the whole of the Russian empire, especially in Poland and the Baltic Sea region. He also claimed he had acted alone and emphasized that his family was not involved in the assassination.
Schauman’s body was taken to an unmarked grave in the Malmi cemetery in Helsinki. After the political situation eased up he was reburied in the Schauman family grave in the Porvoocemetery and a monument was built on the grave.
Schauman became something of an icon for the resistance to Imperial Russia and many Finns still consider him a hero. His fame can be characterized by his ranking as the 34th greatest Finn of all time in the Suuret suomalaiset (Greatest Finns) television poll. In the place of the assassination in the hallway of the Council of State there is a memorial plaque that states Se Pro Patria Dedit (he gave himself for his country).