History of Estonia

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The history of Estonia began with the first settlement of the present Estonian area about 11,000 years ago, after the melting glaciers of the Ice Age made this possible. It has been characterized by changing foreign rule since 1219 , first under the Danes , later under the Teutonic Order , then under Poland-Lithuania and Sweden and finally under Russia . The 700-year foreign rule did not end until 1918. This first independence only lasted until 1940, when Estonia was first occupied by the Soviet Union , then by Nazi Germany in the following year, and again by the Soviet Union from 1944. The Soviet rule ended in 1991. In Estonia, which is now independent, foreign rule and the assertion of one's own nation and culture is a major motif of the collective historical consciousness.

On the map for 814 "Estonia" is entered in the ancient meaning.
The Teutonic Order and the Baltic States at the beginning of the 15th century

In ancient writings, the term refers Aisti or Aesti ( aesti ) more to the south living Balts than Estonians. The Anglo-Saxon traveler Wulfstan still used the word in its ancient meaning in the 9th century.

Middle Ages and early modern times

At the end of the 12th century, Germans and Danes began to evangelize the areas of what is now Latvia and what is now Estonia. After several attempts were largely unsuccessful, a military solution was found: after the founding of Riga in 1201, its bishop and city lord Albert von Buxthoeven sought the support of the Brothers of the Sword . Riga became the starting point and central base for the further subjugation, colonization and proselytizing of the areas that today form Latvia and Estonia. Initially in an alliance, but soon in increasing rivalry, the bishop and the order of knights gradually subjugated the areas of today's Latvia and then, from 1208 onwards, today's Estonia. In order to be able to assert itself against the Bishop of Riga, the Order of the Brothers of the Sword concluded a military alliance with the Danish King Waldemar II . This then conquered northern Estonia including Tallinn in 1219 .

In addition to the diocese of Riga, two other dioceses were created: that of Leal (Lihula), which was moved to Tartu in 1224 and thus became the diocese of Dorpat , and that of Ösel-Wiek . According to the common practice in many areas of the Holy Roman Empire , the bishops were also the secular lords of these cities and their respective territories. In addition, the Danes founded the Diocese of Reval (Tallinn), with which, however, according to Danish practice, no secular rule was connected.

The Danish crown retained control of Estonia and Tallinn (with a brief interruption from 1227 to 1238) until 1346.

Nevertheless, the position of the Danish crown was quite weak, especially since more and more German merchants and knights, as well as Swedish traders, immigrated. These were later referred to as the Baltic Germans or the Estonian Swedes . The Estonian population became second class citizens: as unfree they were subject to the Danish crown and the German landlords. Increasingly dissatisfied with this suppression, the displeasure of the Estonian rural population discharged forcibly in what is known uprising in Georg night from 1343 to 1345. Due to the unstable conditions in Denmark, the Danish king saw Waldemar IV. Unable to intervene and down the uprising. Instead, the king called the Livonian Order for help. As a result of the uprisings and out of financial difficulties, the Danish king decided to sell his estates in Estonia in 1346 for 19,000 marks to the Livonian Order, which belonged to the Teutonic Order . This made these areas part of the order state .

In the following decades, guilds and merchant guilds emerged in the cities . In addition to Tallinn, Pärnu , Tartu and Viljandi had also become Hanseatic cities . In this way there were close contacts and a lively exchange with the Baltic cities of the empire , as well as with Scandinavia . This found visible expression in the fact that in Tallinn - but only in the lower town - the Luebian city law had been in effect since 1248 , later also in Rakvere and Narva.

In 1400 serfdom was introduced. From then on, the Estonian population was no longer only factually but also legally excluded from trade and agriculture. She now had to serve the foreign landlords as serfs. Serfdom was not lifted until 1816 and 1819 during Russian rule.

The Reformation began in Estonia in 1523 . It was initially popular in the larger cities and later also in rural areas. In the course of the Reformation and as a result of it, schools were founded across the country and the first books in Estonian were published. In 1583 , the Jesuits set up their own college in Tartu and initiated the Counter-Reformation from there.

Livonian War (1558 to 1583)

After the Teutonic Order suffered a catastrophic defeat against Poland-Lithuania in the Battle of Tannenberg in 1410 , from which it was no longer to recover, the Teutonic Order state increasingly lost territories, power and importance. When the Russian Tsar Ivan IV "The Terrible" marched into Livonia with troops in 1558 , the Livonian War began , which lasted until 1583. Estonia was mercilessly devastated, Narva and Tartu fell to the Russians without major resistance. The Teutonic Order state collapsed in 1561. The north of Estonia submitted to Swedish rule. The south of Estonia around Tartu , together with the northeast half of today's Latvia, formed the Duchy of Livonia ( Estonian Liivimaa , Latvian Vidzeme , Polish Inflanty ), which was subordinate to the Polish-Lithuanian crown as a fief .

The war continued in the years that followed the collapse of the Order. From 1563 Sweden faced one another and an alliance from Denmark and Poland-Lithuania. This dispute only ended in 1570 with the Peace of Szczecin . In the same year war broke out between Sweden and Russia, in the course of which the Russian army invaded the Swedish possession of northern Estonia. Although she succeeded in conquering almost the entire country, she never succeeded in conquering Tallinn. The two sieges from 1570 to 1571 and from 1577 were unsuccessful. Since the Russian army had also invaded Livonia, which was under Polish-Lithuanian rule, it now called Poland-Lithuania again as a war party. When his army then went on the offensive and invaded Russia, the Swedes succeeded in driving the Russian army out of northern Estonia. The war ended with the Treaty of Jam Zapolski (1582) between Poland-Lithuania and Russia and the Treaty of Pljussa (1583) between Sweden and Russia. North Estonia was thus recognized as a Swedish possession, Livonia as Polish-Lithuanian.

Livonia under Polish-Lithuanian rule (1583 to 1629)

Livonia comprised the area of ​​Latvia north of the Daugav River to the southern part of Estonia to Tartu and Pärnu.

During the conquest of Livonia in 1561, the Polish-Lithuanian rulers granted the Livonians various privileges. The Livonians hoped that these privileges would be confirmed after the war. However, the Polish-Lithuanian rulers showed little interest in this. Instead, the King and Grand Duke Stephan Báthory considered Livonia a conquered territory and was consequently unwilling to maintain the privileges. In 1583 he issued the Constitutiones Livoniae , which had an administrative reorganization of Livonia as its object. The privileges of 1561 were not mentioned here. Following the example of Poland, Livonia was divided into three praesidates, the main towns of which were Cēsis in Latvia, as well as Tartu and Pärnu. Several state property complexes, so-called Starosteien, belonged to each praesidiate . Poles and Lithuanians alone were responsible for their leadership, Estonians and Livs were excluded from this.

With the Treaty of Altmark of 1629 Poland-Lithuania lost Livonia to Sweden.

Under Swedish rule (1561/1629 to 1710)

Difficult beginnings and the expansion of Swedish possessions

While Livonia had been conquered by Poland-Lithuania, Estonia had submitted to Swedish rule, specifically to find protection from the Russian Tsar Ivan IV "the terrible". Sweden declared its new property to be the Principality of Ehsten in 1584, and in 1673 it became the Duchy of Ehsten. This area, which included what is now northern Estonia, was under the direct rule of the Swedish king, who ruled it in personal union.

The decades after the end of the Livonian War continued to be marked by various armed conflicts between Sweden, Poland-Lithuania and Russia. Conflicts broke out again and again, from which the Estonian and Livonian populations suffered greatly. In 1629 a long war between Sweden and Poland-Lithuania ended with the Treaty of Altmark. With this, the Duchy of Livonia came under Swedish rule.

In 1645 Sweden acquired the island of Saaremaa from Denmark in the course of the Peace of Brömsebro .

The largest military conflict in the 17th century was the so-called Second Northern War (1654–1667), again between Sweden, Poland-Lithuania and Russia. The war lasted 14 years and essentially only confirmed the status quo in the Baltic States . For Estonia and even more so for Livonia, however, the numerous clashes were devastating. The land was devastated again and the population suffered enormous losses. Tartu in particular had suffered greatly.

"The good time in Sweden"

As a conquered country, Livonia was treated differently by the Swedes than actual Estonia, which had voluntarily submitted. Above all, the corporate representation was severely limited.

Although the Swedish kings initially made little effort to protect Estonia and Livonia and initially continued the repression in the usual way, Swedish rule remained in the collective memory of the Estonians as “the good Swedish times”. There were two main reasons for this: the striving for education and culture in Estonia, as well as to improve the living conditions of the farmers. Furthermore, the Swedish kings tried to replenish the population, which had been severely decimated by war, through targeted settlement of colonists from other parts of the Swedish territory. Numerous settlers from different origins came to the country, and with them new techniques and skills.

Measures to promote education and culture

In addition to schools and printing works, the Swedish King Gustav II Adolf founded the first Estonian university, the University of Tartu, in 1632 . Tartu's choice was no accident: on the one hand, the new university was intended to counterbalance the Jesuit college; on the other hand, the Swedes wanted to develop the city as an administrative center. In 1630, the court court responsible for the entire province of Livonia was created here, which was dependent on competent lawyers; the upper consistory, which was also established in Tartu in 1633, was the supreme ecclesiastical organ of Livonia and required capable clergy.

In addition, research into the Estonian language was advanced and more and more books, especially church texts, were published in Estonian. In 1637 the clergyman Heinrich Stahl published a grammar of the Estonian language for the first time .

In 1684, Bengt Gottfried Forselius founded a seminar for teachers at peasant schools and thus established the important tradition of popular education.

Measures to improve rural living conditions

The Swedish kings tried to improve rural living conditions, especially from the end of the 17th century. Thus the freedoms of the landlords towards their serfs were restricted. As early as 1632 the landlords were deprived of the high level of jurisdiction over their peasants; everything that went beyond minor offenses was henceforth punishable by the ordinary courts. Since the landlords no longer sat in court over the farmers' things, the farmers had the first opportunity to file a lawsuit against their landlords. The landlords only retained the so-called domestic discipline, which consisted of being allowed to beat the farmers.

The most important measure to improve rural living conditions, however, was the so-called reduction in goods. Every property was checked for its origin up to the time of the order. If it originally came from the hands of the ruler in each case and was lent, given in fief or given away in some way to the owner or his predecessor, these lending acts have now been revoked. The land in question fell back to the Swedish rulers and was redistributed. The same applies to the lands that previously belonged directly to the Teutonic Order, as well as to those that belonged to the Polish-Lithuanian Starosteien. A total of 5 sixths of the estates in Estonia and Livonia were affected. Landowners who had lost not only parts of their property but all of their property in the course of this measure were given the right to continue to cultivate the land taken from them as domain tenants. A third of the rent was waived for them. The farmers working on the domains were no longer subordinate to the domain tenant and thus no longer his serfs.

In addition, from now on all estate was divided into a manorial and a peasant part. These determinations were precise and binding. On the basis of these determinations, duties and services were precisely calculated and recorded in the so-called Wacken books. In this way, taxes and services could no longer be arbitrarily set by the landlords.

The local peasants enjoyed far greater freedom under Swedish rule than under the subsequent Russian rule, especially since the tsars negated the Swedish reforms and thus revived the old ownership and dependency relationships.

Branch of Russian Old Believers

From the second half of the 17th century the first Old Believers settled along the banks of Lake Peipus . They came from Russia and fled here because of religious persecution in their homeland. In the 1650s and 1660s the Patriarch Nikon initiated a comprehensive reform of the Russian Orthodox Church with the aim of achieving unity with the Greek Orthodox mother church . Clerics and lay people who continued to follow and practice the Russian faith in its old form were subsequently persecuted. By the early 19th century, the number of Old Believer settlers on the west bank of Lake Peipus had reached 3000.

Under Russian rule (1710 to 1918)

Great Northern War (1700 to 1721)

Given the Swedish supremacy over the Baltic Sea region, Poland, Denmark and Russia formed a military alliance against Sweden and began the Great Northern War in 1700 , which lasted until 1721. After the initial success of the Swedish army, especially in defeating the Russian army in the Battle of Narva in 1700 , the Swedish crown increasingly lost more Estonian and Livonian possessions to Russia: initially Tartu and Narva (both 1704) and then all of Estonia including Tallinn by 1710 . Tallinn was not conquered, but surrendered to Tsar Peter I , after Riga had surrendered to the Russian army a few weeks earlier and Pärnu and the large Estonian islands had fallen to Russia. In the Treaty of Nystad in 1721, Sweden recognized Russian sovereignty over its old possessions in Estonia and Livonia.

The area of ​​today's Estonia belonged to the Baltic Sea Governments of the Russian Empire (the northern part as the Estonia Governorate , the southern part belonged to the Livonia Governorate and was administered from Riga). Both governorates initially remained largely autonomous and were essentially subject to the administration of the knighthoods. The country had suffered very badly from the war: hunger and plague devastated the country and reduced the population, which had already been severely decimated by the war.

Oppression and boom

The situation of the peasants deteriorated again under Russian rule. Peter I repealed the Swedish reforms and restored the privileges of the German landlords. From then on the Estonian peasants came completely under the power of their masters. In addition, the tax burden increased. The peasants had never experienced such oppression again either before or after.

In 1726 the Moravian Movement reached Livonia and Estonia from Germany and preached the equality of all people and the abolition of serfdom. Against the background of the repression against the peasants, the movement received a correspondingly high level of support. As a result, both the Russian emperors and the landlords endeavored to oppose this movement. In Livonia in particular, the movement managed to spread rapidly. This was mainly due to “their revolutionary way of working”: the brothers worked in the local population as doctors, teachers or craftsmen, in their free time they turned to their religious activities. It was through this combination of practical cooperation and religious-ideological education that the Brethren reached the people.

In the second half of the 18th century, Northern Estonia and Livonia experienced an economic boom: the first manufactories were established and the potato was introduced into agriculture.

Both countries made further progress culturally. They benefited from the consolidation of the elementary school network, as well as from the preservation of the written language and their own tradition. In 1739 Anton Thor Helle published the first complete translation of the Bible in Estonian.

Abolition of serfdom

19th century Estonia manor, reconstructed in the Rocca al Mare open-air museum in Tallinn. July 2018

In 1816 (Northern Estonia) and 1819 (Livonia), Tsar Alexander I (1801-1825) decided to repeal serfdom. From then on the farmers were personally free. However, the farms remained in the possession of the landlords and the farmers were initially bound to the estate. In the place of serfdom, there were now forced labor and rent payments. In addition, the farmers had the opportunity to buy the farms. However, this required a lot of money and effort and was very slow to realize. The living conditions of the farmers remained poor. In the period that followed, there were several peasant uprisings, which ultimately showed the rulers the need for further agricultural reforms. So it was decided in 1849 for Livonia and in 1856 for North Estonia that the labor lease would be abolished and that the private land of the landowners should be divided into a manorial and a peasant part.

The abolition of serfdom led to a new economic dynamic in the following decades. The farmers were no longer tied to their master and his farm and were able to develop economic mobility. In the early 1860s, around 85% of the Estonian population lived in rural areas, but the Passport Act of 1863 created the legal framework for migration to cities. As a result, the cities grew rapidly and the first industrial companies emerged. The first railway line was opened in 1870. It connected Saint Petersburg with the strategically important port of Paldiski . In the course of the 1870s, the Estonians replaced the Baltic Germans as the largest ethnic group in Tallinn.

National awakening

The first German-Baltic goods were not sold to Estonians until the 1830s. But for a long time afterwards it was more the exception than the rule that an Estonian farmer could buy the estate from his landlord. A significant increase in such sales contracts did not take place until the 1860s. By the end of the 19th century, around three quarters of the estates in Livonia were in the hands of Estonian farmers and around half in northern Estonia. Livonia and especially Tartu then became the centers of national awakening. On Saaremaa, however, it took longer before Estonian farmers could buy the goods, which was largely due to the fact that the island was generally poorer than the mainland. The first sale of a property took place here in 1863.

Acquiring one's own farmyard paved the way to an awareness of acquiring one's own land. The historian and former prime minister Mart Laar put this as follows: “Rulership in one's own farm was the first step to gain control in the whole country.” The more the Estonian farmers bought their own farms, the more the Baltic Germans lost Influence in the rural areas and, increasingly, the judiciary and self-government gradually passed to the Estem at the local level. This was accompanied by the increasing strengthening of Estonian self-confidence and the idea of ​​a self-ruled Estonian nation.

This found visible expression in the spread of Estonian language and culture, as well as in their products. In 1838 the Estonian Scholarly Society (Õpetatud Eesti Selts) was founded in Tartu. She collected Estonian cultural assets, researched the language and history of the Estonians and published numerous books in the Estonian language. Thus in 1862 the national epic Kalevipoeg (The Son of Kalev) was published with the participation of the Estonian Scholarly Society, namely through the initiative of member Friedrich Robert Faehlmann . The new self-confidence also manifested itself visibly in the first edition of the newspaper Pärnu Postimees (The Postman of Pärnu) published in 1857 by the schoolmaster and publicist Johann Voldemar Jannsen in Pärnu . With the words "Dear Estonian people" he addressed his readers. Singing choirs and wind bands were founded.

In 1869 the first song festival took place in Tartu , organized by the aforementioned Johann Voldemar Jannsen. Jannsen had previously participated in the Baltic Song Festival in Riga several times. He was given permission to organize the first Estonian song festival in Tartu on the 50th anniversary of the peasant liberation in Livonia. About 900 singers and about 15,000 spectators took part in this event.

At first, the national ideas were primarily carried by pastors who sought to advance research into the Estonian language and Estonian history, and later also and especially by students. The University of Tartu played a central role in this development of its own cultural and political identity , where since the 1870s the studying Estonians consciously no longer wanted to assimilate through membership in the corporations , but predominantly in the “ Association of Estonian Students ” and other corporations promoted their own identity. It was then also students in Tartu who created the blue, black and white flag that would later become the Estonian national flag .

In 1904, Estonians won the local elections for the first time in Tallinn, thus ousting the Germans from the city administration.

Russification Policy

The Russian tsars tried the increasing national awakening from Alexander III. (1881–1894) to counteract with a rigorous russification policy in the Baltic countries. In the 1880s, for example, the Estonian education, court and self-government system was Russified, which continued to restrict the rights of both Estonians and the resident, largely Baltic-German upper class. If the Russian tsars had accepted a certain autonomy of the Baltic provinces after Catherine II , Alexander III took action. now as the first ruler again massively in these autonomies.

A first sign of Russification was the fact that Tsar Alexander III. when he ascended the throne in 1881, he was the first tsar to fail to confirm the Baltic privileges of the Baltic Germans. The renaming of Tartus to Jurjew in 1882 had a strong symbolic power , as the city had become the center of the national movement. The Russian police system and the Russian procedural rules were introduced. Russian became the only official language of the court.

In 1887, teaching in Estonian was banned, even in elementary schools. From now on, Russian was the only language of instruction instead of Estonian. However, Estonian was still allowed to be used as a language for religious education and for mother tongue education.

In 1889 the autonomy of the University of Tartu (like that of all other universities in the Russian Empire) was abolished.

The revolution of 1905 and its consequences

After the defeat of Russia in the Russo-Japanese War of 1904/5 and against the background of growing social tensions, a peaceful demonstration took place in St. Petersburg in January 1905. After several demonstrators were shot, however, the unrest spread as a revolution over the entire Russian Empire. In Estonia, too, there were repeated rallies in the cities. They were directed primarily against the oppression of the Estonian population and against the social gap between the various professional groups. The night of October 16, 1905 turned out to be tragic: Thousands of people had gathered in Tallinn at Neumarkt to protest. About 100 people died and about as many were injured after the military opened fire on them.

On the day following the bloodbath, Tsar Nicholas II announced his October manifesto . This granted the Estonians, as well as the other subjects of the Russian Empire, certain basic civil rights, above all the right to hold meetings , freedom of speech and to found political parties. In the same year, the first Estonian party under the leadership of Jaan Tõnisson was founded - the Eesti Eduerakond (Estonian Success Party ).

First independence (1918 to 1940)

Separation from Russia

After the October Revolution , Viktor Kingissepp took over on October 27th July. / November 9,  1917 greg. on behalf of the Bolsheviks , the Estonian Military Revolutionary Committee dominated power from Area Commissioner of the Provisional Government Jaan Poska . The Bolsheviks competed with the Maapäev (Provisional Landtag), which was held on November 15th . / November 28,  1917 greg. in response to the Bolsheviks declaring its dissolution, declared the sole governing body. The Bolsheviks did not act without popular support. In the elections to the Russian Constituent Assembly in November 1917, Estonia did significantly better than Russia as a whole. But they were the only political force in Estonia to endorse Moscow. As a result, and through their attempts to convert the expropriated manors into kolkhozes instead of distributing the land, they put themselves politically on the sidelines. In early 1918 it became clear that the Bolsheviks would not be able to maintain power democratically. At the end of January 1918 they broke off the count of the elections to the Estonian Constituent Assembly, while the Tallinn Soviet Executive Committee on January 27th . / February 9,  1918 greg. the Baltic German nobility declared “ outlawed ”, whereupon over 500 people were arrested. But on February 11th, Jul. / February 24,  1918 greg. The Soviet troops withdrew and an "Estonian Rescue Committee" proclaimed the Republic of Estonia with the manifesto to all the peoples of Estonia; however, a provisional government under Constantine Päts never got around to taking power. A day later, Estonia was occupied by the 8th German Army . Most of the Estonian Bolsheviks then left Estonia for Russia.

The war of freedom from 1918 to 1920

An Estonian map from 1925

Estonia's actual independence was fought for in the War of Independence (1918–1920), although Soviet Russia had already formally renounced Estonia on August 27, 1918 in an additional agreement to the Brest-Litovsk peace treaty . The fighting began on November 28, 1918 when the young Soviet Russia attacked Narva. Initially, Estonians and Latvians had to defend themselves against the Russians, and later the German Baltic State Armed Forces that remained in the country . The Baltic states received support here mainly from Finland , as well as from Sweden and Denmark. All three countries sent troops and delivered essential supplies. On the sea side, the Royal Navy supported the Estonians, namely to protect them from the Russian fleet.

Under the command of Commander-in-Chief Johan Laidoner , the Estonians managed to drive the Russians out of the country by the end of January 1919. Another Russian attack in the spring of 1919 was repulsed. When the country was freed from Russian troops - at least for the time being - the first independent parliamentary elections could be held. Women and men were granted universal suffrage in the constituent assembly's electoral law of November 24, 1918. In the spring of 1919, for example, the Constituent Assembly (Asutav Kogu) was elected, which drafted a constitution and carried out land reform. The Constitution of 1920 confirmed the universal active and passive right to vote for women and men.

In June 1919, Estonia and Latvia then got into the so-called National Army War against the Baltic National Army. In heavy fighting, the alliance succeeded in crushing the German troops and restoring the national government in Latvia. After further unsuccessful attempts at conquest, Soviet Russia entered into peace negotiations. With the Peace of Tartu on February 2, 1920, it recognized the independence of Estonia “forever”.

Then as now, the war of freedom is of central importance in the collective consciousness of the Estonians. For the first time after the Danish conquest in 1219 and thus for the first time in 700 years, the Estonians were no longer strangers in their own country, but were able to determine the fate of their own state themselves.

The land reform of 1919

Even after the end of the First World War , considerable parts of Estonia remained in the hands of Baltic German landowners. In view of the war experience from the First World War and especially after the fighting against the Baltic State Armed Forces , an increasingly negative attitude towards the Baltic Germans developed , and Estonian politicians radicalized themselves on this point. The demand to expropriate the Baltic German nobility and to distribute its land grew louder and louder. Although more and more Estonian peasants were buying their goods from their German landlords, on the eve of the War of Independence around 50% of Estonian peasants were without land. Numerous farmers had converted to the Russian Orthodox faith in search of land and went to Russia. In addition, a land reform appeared necessary in order to permanently change the balance of power in the state: expropriation was intended to deprive the German knighthood of its economic foundations and thus break their position of power.

Against this background, the Estonian land reform was set in motion on October 10, 1919 , the central subject of which was the expropriation of large German landowners and the redistribution of their land to Estonian farmers. 97% of the Baltic German estates were subject to expropriation. Over the course of the next 20 years, a total of about 57,000 farms for Estonian farmers were created from them. The farms had an average size of 20 hectares. Around 400,000 people, almost half of Estonia's population at the time, benefited from the reforms.

The political system

After the land reform had been resolved as the most pressing problem, it was time to give the young state a constitution. Such was passed on June 15, 1920 and came into force on December 21 of the same year. It made Estonia a parliamentary democracy. The government was under constant scrutiny by Parliament. There was no president; The head of state was the prime minister, who at the same time bore the title of "State Elder" (Riigivanem).

Building an independent state turned out to be difficult. An entire state and institutions had to be built, with the Estonians having little or no experience of self-government and governance. The political landscape was characterized by a variety of parties and unstable governments, with the communist party having been banned since the end of the war of freedom. Nonetheless, communist MPs found their way into parliament under different party names. In addition, Estonia continued to be economically dependent on Soviet Russia. The independence long-awaited by the Estonians led to disappointments in the young state in the face of these difficulties. Against this background, it is hardly surprising that the country had a total of 17 governments from 1920 to 1933.

On December 1, 1924, communist associations supported by the Moscow government attempted a coup d'état . They marched through the streets of Tallinn and tried to forcefully occupy strategic points such as train stations and barracks. However, since the coup plotters found very little popular support, the movement was limited to a total of around 500 participants. It was put down that same day under the leadership of General Laidoner.

Cultural autonomy for minorities

Like Latvia, Estonia also had tolerant legislation towards minorities. The minorities law of February 2, 1925 granted the minorities - the Germans, Russians, Swedes and Jews - cultural autonomy. This law "was considered pioneering internationally and is still regarded as exemplary to this day". In essence, it granted the minorities cultural self-government. Even after 1934, when Prime Minister Konstantin Päts established an authoritarian regime, cultural autonomy remained in its essential points.

Both the Germans and the Jews made use of the opportunity to apply for cultural autonomy. The Russians and Swedes, on the other hand, did not do this, as they each already lived in contiguous settlement areas and in fact had self-administration there.

To be recognized as a national minority, the group had to have at least 3,000 members. The group had to choose a cultural council from among its members, which gave it the status of a corporation under public law . The members of the cultural council then elected the cultural administration from among their number.

The corporations were financed on the one hand by the Estonian state and on the other hand by the respective corporation itself. The state provided schools and granted grants, the corporations had the right to levy taxes on their members and also received donations and inheritances.

Economic boom in the 1920s

In the 1920s and 1930s, Estonia experienced an economic and cultural boom. The most important branch of industry was the textile industry, which soon succeeded in going beyond the borders of the Baltic markets and opening up international markets. In addition, alcohol smuggling flourished across the Baltic Sea to Finland, which had adopted prohibition in 1919. In agriculture there were initially setbacks, since the land reform made it necessary to convert the farms into small businesses and to change the economy accordingly. However, the young state endeavored to provide extensive support for agriculture.

As in many other European countries, this economic boom came to a standstill due to the global economic crisis from 1929 onwards.

Authoritarian regime under Constantine Päts

With the global economic crisis, the atmosphere in the country changed. Rising prices and rising unemployment caused displeasure. Estonian products found increasingly less sales, so that jobs were lost. In addition, the Estonian kroon was devalued by 35%, which made all products more expensive.

In a climate of unstable governments and a discontented population, the anti-parliamentary, quasi- fascist association " Association of Freedom Fighters " (Vabadussöjalaste Liit) gained momentum. In 1933 the movements put forward a proposal for a new constitution, which Parliament then passed. The new constitution, which came into force in January 1934, changed the system of government from a parliamentary to a presidential democracy. From now on there should be a state president in Estonia with extensive powers.

In October 1933 Konstantin Päts was elected as the new Prime Minister. He ruled with a minority government. When, after several local elections, it became clear that the Association of Freedom Fighters would become the real ruler of the country, Pats declared a state of emergency on March 12, 1934 . He again declared General Laidoner to be in charge of command and gave him extensive powers. The association of freedom fighters was dissolved, as was the parliament. Political parties were banned and censorship was introduced. From then on, Päts ruled by decree .

Their authoritarian regime only relaxed in 1938 with the introduction of a new constitution. On this basis, parliamentary elections were held again and a new parliament then met. But before the domestic political situation could return to democratic standards, developments were interrupted by foreign policy events.

The 1930s was a time of rapid progress. Even if the standard of living still lagged behind that of Western European countries, it was still comparable to that in Finland.

The independent Republic of Estonia managed to establish official relations with all the major states and to consolidate their presence in the minds of Europeans.

Soviet and German occupation

Signing of the non-aggression treaty between Estonia, Latvia and Germany on June 7, 1939; from left to right: the Foreign Ministers Munters (Latvia), Joachim von Ribbentrop ( Germany ) and Selter (Estonia)

Estonia in World War II - an overview

From June 1940 Estonia was occupied by the Soviet Union and then completely annexed in October. The country and its people were subjected to violent reprisals and the terror of the new rulers. The fighting of the war reached the country in July 1941 and led to the fact that the Soviet occupiers left the country and German occupiers took their place. Among them, too, the country experienced oppression and terror. However, it was soon no longer a frontline area, so that - with the exception of partisan fights - it was spared from fighting. This only changed again in 1944 when the Soviet occupiers returned in September. They stayed until 1991.

In terms of population, Estonia suffered more severe losses than almost any other country during World War II as a result of acts of war and terrorist occupation. Around one in eight Estonians died, and almost the entire bourgeois and intellectual elite were wiped out. To date (as of 2018), Estonia has not regained its pre-war population.

The Hitler-Stalin Pact 1939

Estonia's independence came to an end in 1940: on August 23, 1939, the Soviet Union and the Third Reich signed a non-aggression pact called the Hitler-Stalin Pact or Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact. This struck Estonia - as well as Latvia and Lithuania - under the Soviet sphere of influence. The German Reich had previously concluded a non-aggression pact with Estonia. As a result of the German-Soviet pact, the Baltic Germans were called " home to the Reich " and then settled in the Warthegau .

The first Soviet occupation in 1940/41

From the independent republic to the Estonian Soviet republic

On September 24, 1939, the Soviet Union finally asked Estonia for permission to set up military bases in Estonia. At the same time, the Soviet Union promised not to affect Estonian sovereignty . In the event of refusal, she threatened an attack. Such demands were also made to Latvia and Lithuania, as well as Finland. In order to emphasize its demands, the Soviet Union had a total of 437,235 men, 2,635 guns and 3,052 tanks stationed along the Estonian and Latvian borders. At the same time, the Red Fleet blocked access to the sea and Soviet planes penetrated Estonian airspace. Under this military pressure and relying on the promise to keep their own sovereignty, the Estonian government agreed: on September 28, 1939, Estonia and the Soviet Union signed the pact of mutual aid . Latvia and Lithuania also behaved in the same way. Only Finland did not consent and was attacked by the Soviet Union as a result , but was able to maintain its independence.

However, the Soviet Union was not satisfied with this and worked out plans for complete annexation. With the directive No. 02622 of June 9, 1940 preparations for an attack on Estonia were initiated. The land was blocked by land, sea and air; on June 14, 1940, the Soviet Air Force shot down the Finnish passenger plane Kaleva , which was en route from Tallinn to Helsinki. On the same day, the Soviet Union issued an ultimatum to Lithuania. Such was issued to Estonia on June 16, 1940. It requested the Baltic state to let 100,000 more Red Army soldiers into the country and to form a pro-Soviet government. Before the Estonian government agreed to the ultimatum, the Red Army soldiers standing by had already crossed the border. The now 115,000 Red Army soldiers in the country immediately occupied train stations, ports and airports, as well as post offices and administrative buildings and took over control there. Estonia had thus de facto lost its independence on June 17, 1940.

Under the leadership of the Soviet special envoy Andrei Zhdanov , a pro-Soviet counter-government was formed in Tallinn and then a workers' rally was organized on June 21, 1940, calling for a change of government. This "rally" was ultimately an armed uprising, supported by Red Army soldiers and tanks. The old government was violently overthrown and a puppet government under Johannes Vares was established. This received the order from Zhdanov to dispel rumors about an integration of Estonia into the Soviet Union in order to reduce the resistance of the Estonians against the occupiers. On July 14 and 15, 1940, the new rulers then carried out a new parliamentary election . This, however, was a mere sham election: all the opposing candidates of the pro-Soviet candidates were removed from the electoral lists by the Vares government. The government elected in this way took the decision to declare Estonia an Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic (Estonian SSR) and at the same time to ask for admission to the Soviet Union. The incorporation then took place on October 6, 1940. Most western states never recognized this incorporation.

To date, there has been disagreement between Estonia and Russia as to whether Estonia voluntarily acceded to the Soviet Union or was illegally annexed by it. The Estonian state considers the annexation to be unlawful and consequently all legal and administrative acts passed during the occupation until 1991 are void.

Red Terror and Resistance

The Soviet occupation unleashed terror in Estonia. The economic system and the previous way of life were destroyed, civil society was suppressed and any national self-expression was forbidden; numerous Estonian citizens were arrested, deported and murdered, and their farms were nationalized. The bourgeois and intellectual elite, as the bearers of Estonian national consciousness, were particularly affected. The terror reached its preliminary climax on the night of June 13-14, 1941, when more than 10,000 Estonians, mostly women and children, were deported to Siberia . They were expelled from the country without notice, charge or judgment. This act became known as June deportation .

As a direct result of the June deportation, numerous people fled into the forests and gathered to armed resistance. They grouped around the "Erna" reconnaissance troop. Erna was a group of Estonians who went to Finland for military training. As forest brothers , they fought against the occupiers and supported the advancing Wehrmacht in their fight against the Red Army. The Soviets fought the resistance movement with extermination battalions: they murdered actual and supposed members and their relatives and burned down numerous courtyards.

In 1940 and 1941 the Soviet Union carried out reprisals against 52,750 people, 18,090 were killed in the process.

Between 1940 and 1944, between 70,000 and 75,000 Estonians fled their country in a westerly direction, mainly from the Soviet but also from the German occupation.

German occupation from 1941 to 1944

On June 22, 1941, Hitler began the attack on the Soviet Union ; At the beginning of July the first German units reached the southern border of Estonia. By the end of August 1941, the German troops, with the support of Estonian partisans, had taken almost all of Estonia. The Estonian islands remained as the last pockets of Soviet resistance until December 1941.

Puppet government instead of statehood

In many places the German troops were received as liberators. With their arrival, many Estonians associated the hope of renewed statehood and sovereignty. How little this corresponded to the ideas of the Germans was shown symbolically on August 29, 1941. The day before, the German and Estonian troops had taken Tallinn, whereupon the Estonians hoisted the Estonian national flag on the Lange Herrmann , a tower in Tallinn. This act is of great symbolic power, since traditionally the person whose flag can be seen there is considered to be the ruler of the city. After the Estonian flag was hoisted on August 28, 1941, it was replaced by the German one the following day.

On July 29, 1941, the last Prime Minister, Jüri Uluots, presented the Germans with a memorandum calling for the restoration of Estonian statehood. The answer to this was the formation of the Estonian self-government with limited powers. From December 5, 1941, the country was under the Estonia General District of the Reichskommissariat Ostland .

The deposits of oil shale in Northeast Estonia were of particular importance to the German leadership . In particular, after the plans to use the Caucasian oil reserves were shattered with the increasing withdrawal of German troops from the east, the importance of the Estonian reserves increased. Using the prisoners from the main camp s Vaivara of oil shale to be won.


While some of the forest brothers joined the Germans, another part of the partisans directed their activities against the new occupiers. The representatives of the various political parties also went underground and created the Rescue Committee of the Republic of Estonia on the basis of the 1938 Constitution. As the constitutional deputy of the imprisoned President Konstantin Päts, Jüri Uluots took over the leadership of the committee. The committee's activities included contact with Western powers , the issuing of leaflets and the organization of rallies.

Estonian soldiers in the ranks of the Germans

Although the German leadership did not restore Estonian statehood, many Estonians continued to believe that the path to their own state would only lead through the Germans. In this hope, numerous forest brothers who had previously fought as partisans against the Red Army now joined the Waffen-SS troops , especially the 20th Waffen Grenadier Division of the SS (Estonian No. 1) . The ranks of the Wehrmacht , however, remained closed to the Estonians as "non-Teutons". In addition, the occupiers also undertook forced recruitment. In February 1942, almost 21,000 Estonians fought in the ranks of the Germans.

Around 5,000 young men fled to Finland before being forced to be recruited after the rescue committee of the Republic of Estonia called for this with the slogan “Men to Finland”. However, recruiting on a voluntary basis initially had little overall success. This only changed in 1944 when the Red Army threatened to return. After the Red Army broke through and ended the siege of Leningrad , the Estonian self-government proclaimed general mobilization. With the experiences of the terrible year 1940/41, the members of the rescue committee also saw German rule as the lesser evil. Although they had previously acted against the puppet government from underground, they now supported the mobilization by also calling on their supporters to join the defense forces. If the mobilization was weak at first, this changed with the radio interview by Jüri Uluots on February 7, 1944. By the middle of the year around 70,000 Estonians fought on the side of the Germans.

In the decades that followed, controversies arose again and again over the question of whether and to what extent the Estonian soldiers who fought on the German side against the Soviet Union had acted correctly. In particular, the question was repeatedly raised whether they too should be honored as fighters for Estonian freedom - like those soldiers who fought for Estonia from 1918 to 1920.

Estonian soldiers were thus found in the Red Army - partly voluntarily, partly forcibly recruited; Estonian soldiers were on the side of the Germans - likewise either as volunteers or as forced recruits; and Estonian soldiers fought as volunteers in the ranks of the Finnish units.

Persecution of Jews and Other Groups

Before the advancing German army, around 75% of Estonia's Jewish population managed to flee to the Soviet Union or Finland. A total of 929, almost all of the Jews remaining in Estonia by the end of 1941, were murdered by the National Socialists, as were 243 Sinti and Roma . The fact that so many Jewish citizens managed to escape is largely due to the fact that there was less anti-Jewish resentment within the Estonian population than in other European countries of the time.

Estonia was the first country to be declared " free of Jews " at the Wannsee Conference on January 20, 1942 . After the German occupiers quickly declared the annihilation of Judaism in Estonia over, they set up several concentration camps on Estonian soil. Jews and other persecuted persons from all over Central and Eastern Europe were brought into these. In this way, around 10,000 Jews were murdered in Estonia during the German occupation.

The main camp Vaivara is particularly well-known with its 20 branch offices, especially the Klooga camp . When the Red Army recaptured Estonia in the summer and autumn of 1944, the Waffen SS murdered around 2,000 people in the forests around Klooga.

Return of the Red Army

Harju Street in Tallinn in July 2018. Until the night of the bombing on March 9, 1944, today's open and green areas were characterized by dense residential and commercial buildings. In the background the Nikolaikirche .

In February 1944, the Red Army reached the Narva River . Despite violent attacks, however, it initially failed to overcome the German and Estonian defenders. As part of a new major offensive, the Russian leadership was now considering bombing large cities in Estonia. On March 6th, Russian bombers destroyed Narva, and on March 9th, Tallinn was bombed. The attack on the capital killed around 500 people and left around 25,000 homeless as 40% of the living space was destroyed. The bombardment also destroyed the Estonia National Theater . The consequences of the destruction are especially visible in Harju Street in Tallinn: it used to be built with dense rows of houses, but today there is a large open space; a plaque commemorates the bombing.

In spring 1944, after long fighting, the Red Army succeeded in conquering Narva. With that, the Russian associations were back on Estonian soil. Once again, a large movement of the Estonian population began to flee: westwards across the country or the Baltic Sea. In July and August of the same year, the Red Army made major breakthroughs in many places in the course of Operation Bagration ; Tallinn fell on September 22nd. In the first half of October 1944, the Wehrmacht troops withdrew from Estonia to avoid being encircled. The fighting continued on Estonian soil until November 24, 1944, as Estonian associations on the islands still offered bitter resistance.

Estonian SSR

Border changes in favor of Russia during the Soviet occupation

In the autumn of 1944 the Red Army occupied the country again. A large part of the Swedish-speaking minority (especially on the islands) went into exile and was taken in by Sweden .

The Estonian SSR (ESSR) was re-established and Estonia was reintegrated into the Soviet Union, a step that was not recognized by the West, but accepted. Thousands of Estonians were again deported to Siberia. Because of the massive immigration of predominantly Russian-speaking immigrants ( Russification policy ), the Estonians in the eastern regions (e.g. in Narva) became a minority in their own country.

During the Soviet occupation, the Estonian eastern border was shifted in favor of Russia. Estonia lost the areas around Ivangorod (Estonian 'Jaanilinn') and Pechory ('Petseri').

In the Estonian SSR the foreclosure of the country against Western influence achieved state power but less than in most other Soviet republics, because beyond just 80 km wide Gulf of Finland is Finland . Due to the similarity of the languages, Finnish radio and television broadcasts are easy to understand for Estonians and were received regularly by many, especially during the period of Soviet rule.

Before an explicit political demarcation from Russia was possible, Estonian self-confidence was expressed in a lively folk song movement , whose large choir events were famous (see Singing Revolution , Estonian Song Festival ). On November 13, 1989, the parliament of the EPSR declared the occupation of Estonia in 1940 by the Soviet Union to be invalid and reiterated its demand for more independence of the EPSR from the Soviet Union.

Renewed independence (since 1991)

Edgar Savisaar, Prime Minister from 1990 to 1992

Declaration of Independence

On May 8, 1990, the Supreme Council of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, chaired by Arnold Rüütel, unilaterally declared its renewed sovereignty under the name Republic of Estonia, which it was able to enforce in 1991 together with Lithuania and Latvia .

On December 18, 1990, Estonia renounced any further participation in the Supreme Soviet of the USSR . In a referendum on March 3, 1991 on the future status of the republic, 78% of the participants (with a turnout of 84%) voted for independence. The chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Estonia, Arnold Rüütel , stated that a referendum would not have any legally binding effect. After the August coup in Moscow on August 20, 1991, the Supreme Council declared full independence from the Soviet Union.

On August 23, 1991, the Soviet secret service KGB was banned and on August 25 all organs of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union (CPSU). In order not to jeopardize the peaceful transition to independence and not to further increase the proportion of the Russian-speaking population, the return of the areas that had been separated from Russia at the time of the occupation was waived. On September 6, 1991, the Soviet Union recognized the independent Republic of Estonia. The agreement on the final withdrawal of the Russian troops still remaining in the country was signed in Moscow on July 26, 1994 by Estonia's President Lennart Meri and Russian President Boris Yeltsin and implemented by the end of August.

From very difficult beginnings to the Baltic tiger

Diverse challenges

At the beginning of the 1990s, the young state faced major challenges. A new state with government, administration and judiciary had to be set up and the laws reformed, the economy was shattered and still dependent on Russia and the environment had suffered badly. At the beginning of 1992 the situation was so dire that the Estonian population suffered from cold and hunger; this was accompanied by massive inflation and mass unemployment. Extremism of the left and right began to spread.

Particular difficulties for agriculture

Economic change turned out to be particularly difficult in agriculture. This was mainly due to the fact that it was first necessary to dissolve the old kolkhozes, to re-privatize the land and to introduce free-market production methods. While the economy in the cities had already modernized and stabilized, viable options were still being sought in the countryside. While cooperatives were initially seen as suitable successors to the collective farms, disappointment soon arose in the face of sobering results. It was then large companies that took over agriculture. Overall, the rural population was more affected by the changes in the 1990s and 2000s than those in the big cities. The historians Norbert Angermann and Karsten Brüggemann speak of the "transformation losers". Even if the big problems of bygone days seem to have been solved today, more people are still moving from the countryside to the cities than the other way around.

The sinking of the Estonia - psychologically a severe blow

Memorial plaque in Tallinn for the victims of the sunken ferry Estonia

Another major blow was the sinking of the Estonia ferry in 1994 , killing 852 people. Today the Katkenud Liin (Broken Line) memorial and plaque in Tallinn commemorate this. The broken line represents the journey of the Estonia from Tallinn to Stockholm , which was interrupted by the sinking on September 28, 1994. There are also other monuments to the ship disaster spread across Estonia.

Radical innovations point the way up

Estonia chose a path of radical innovation. In June 1992 it was the first of the three Baltic countries to adopt a new constitution. In the same month it became the first country in the entire former Soviet Union to abandon the ruble as its currency and introduce its own currency, the Estonian kroon. The new currency was pegged to the Deutsche Mark . In 1994 Estonia became the pan-European model by introducing a flat, uniform income tax rate of 26%. In the following years it was further reduced, currently (as of 2018) it is 20%. It was mainly Finnish and Swedish companies that made early investments in Estonia and contributed to economic reconstruction. To this day there are close economic ties with both countries. Even more than Latvia and Lithuania, Estonia has become the "Baltic tiger" .

The economic system is very capitalistic . This becomes understandable against the background that the Estonians were looking for a strict departure from the Soviet planned economy and, given the economically desolate situation in the early 1990s, a radical change of course appeared necessary. And the fact that Estonia's economy and standard of living have recovered very quickly and expanded increasingly seems to be the right choice. This economic character is clearly evident in civil law , an example of which is tenancy law. The five civil codes are based on the five books of the German Civil Code (BGB); Most of the standards were adopted word for word. The German Civil Code (BGB) paragraphs can also be found word for word in tenancy law, but Estonian tenancy law has not adopted the social provisions of German tenancy law .

E-Estonia - the tiger leap

Lennart Meri, President from 1992 to 2001

In 1991 not even half of all Estonians had a telephone connection. In addition, the administration, justice and communication systems had to be rebuilt in the again independent Estonia. In order to modernize the country and make it more attractive for foreign investors, digitization of the country was promoted from 1997. This was the starting shot of the so-called tiger leap (Tiigrihüppe), which turned the country into a modern state within a short time and led to a continuous increase in the general standard of living. Since 2000 every Estonian citizen has had the right to access the Internet. Former President Lennart Meri (1992–2001) is considered the father of modernization and economic growth.

In 2005, Estonia became the first country in the world to offer its citizens the opportunity to vote online.

Today administration and justice are largely digitized, as is the healthcare system. Citizens have 24/7 access to almost all government services. Even an OÜ (Osaühing), the Estonian equivalent of a German GmbH , can be set up online within a few hours. The key to this was the introduction of the digital signature . Only highly personal legal transactions are excluded from online services : marriage , divorce and property purchase.

In 2017 a public data exchange agency was set up between Estonia and Finland.

The way to the west

In 2004 the Baltic states joined both the EU and NATO .

Initially, large parts of the Estonian population were somewhat skeptical of the EU. After the experiences within the Soviet Union, they feared paternalism and the loss of their still young independence. Soon, however, a real euphoria developed and today Estonia is considered a European model boy. The country has been part of the European Monetary Union since January 1, 2011 , with the euro replacing the Estonian kroon. Although Estonia has benefited greatly from European support, joining the EU has not only brought the country benefits. The population is falling continuously, with young Estonians in particular taking the opportunity to leave the country. The main reasons for this are considered to be the wealth gap and better job opportunities in other European countries. The population decline has decreased in recent years, but it is still ongoing.

Accession to NATO was of particular importance for all Baltic states. In addition to membership in the European Union, the military alliance is intended to guarantee lasting independence. Because even after the liberation from the Soviet Union, relations with Russia have not normalized. Political tensions with the larger neighbor repeatedly spark fear of military action. The annexation of Crimea in March 2014 was observed with particular concern after the regional parliament there voted for annexation to Russia. In the Estonian district of Ida-Viru in the northeast of the country and on the border with Russia, Estonians of Russian ethnicity form the majority. Here too - according to the fear - a corresponding vote could lead to an annexation to Russia.

The Tallinn Bronze Soldier, Riots and Cyber ​​Attacks

April 2007 saw the worst unrest that independent Estonia has ever seen. Russian Estonians protested, sometimes violently, against the transfer of the statue of a bronze soldier from Tallinn . Until April 27, 2007, this statue was located at Tõnismäe in Tallinn in the immediate vicinity of the city center. She represented a Soviet soldier. Every year, numerous Estonians of Russian descent gathered on May 9th and September 22nd - on the one hand to celebrate the end of World War II and on the other hand to celebrate the repossession of Tallinn by the Red Army. For many Estonians, however, they were associated with memories of suffering and shame, as these dates also marked the beginning of renewed Soviet occupation and repression. The Russian celebrations in the heart of Tallinn were at the same time an affront to the Estonians. With this in mind, it was decided to move the statue from Tõnismäe to the fallen war cemetery and thus remove it from the center.

There was fierce resistance from the Russian Estonians, some of which were violently discharged in downtown Tallinn. One of the demonstrators was killed and more than 700 people were injured.

On the same day, April 27, there were hacker attacks on the Estonian Internet , which lasted for several weeks. They were directed primarily against government and administrative sides. If the Estonian government initially suspected the Russian state, in March 2009 Konstantin Goloskokow, a functionary of the Russian youth organization Naschi , claimed to be the mastermind behind the attacks.



The Finnish-Estonian writer Sofi Oksanen has dealt with the times of the Soviet and German occupations in her novels Purgatory (2008) and As the Doves Disappeared (2012).

See also

Portal: Estonia  - Overview of Wikipedia content on Estonia

Web links

Commons : History of Estonia  - collection of pictures, videos and audio files
Wikisource: Estonia  - Sources and full texts

Individual evidence

  1. Elmar Römpczyk: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania: past, present, identity . Dietz, Bonn 2016, p. 22nd f .
  2. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 29 ff .
  3. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 39 .
  4. ^ Tiina Kala: Lübeck Law and Tallinn . Tallinna Linnaarhiiv, Tallinn 1998, p. 13 .
  5. Mart Laar: Foray through Estonian history . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 14 .
  6. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 115 .
  7. ^ Nobert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 121 .
  8. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 122 .
  9. Mart Laar: Foray through Estonian history . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 17 .
  10. Elmar Römpczyk: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania: past, present, identity . Dietz, Bonn 2016, p. 32 f .
  11. Alexander Schmidt: History of the Baltic States . 3. Edition. Piper, Munich 1999, p. 91 .
  12. a b Alexander Schmidt: History of the Baltic States . 3. Edition. Piper, Munich 1999, p. 93 .
  13. a b c Karsten Brüggemann: Brief history of the Baltic states. Federal Agency for Civic Education, February 17, 2017, accessed on September 18, 2018 .
  14. a b Elmar Römpczyk: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania: past, present, identity . Dietz, Bonn 2016, p. 35 .
  15. a b c d e Notes from the visit to the Maarjamäe Museum of Estonian National History in Tallinn on September 10, 2018.
  16. Robert von Lucius: Three Baltic Ways . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2011, p. 98 .
  17. Mart Laar: Foray through Estonian history . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 21 .
  18. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 205 .
  19. Elmar Römpczyk: Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania: past, present, identity . Dietz, Bonn 2016, p. 36 .
  20. Alexander Schmidt: History of the Baltic States . 3. Edition. Piper, Munich 1999, p. 122 .
  21. ^ A b Mart Martin: The Almanac of Women and Minorities in World Politics. Westview Press Boulder, Colorado, 2000, p. 125.
  22. Helen biin, Anneli Albi: Suffrage and the Nation: Women's Vote in Estonia. In: Blanca Rodríguez-Ruiz, Ruth Rubio-Marín: The Struggle for Female Suffrage in Europe. Voting to Become Citizens. Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden and Boston 2012, ISBN 978-90-04-22425-4 , pp. 111-141, p. 120.
  23. Mart Laar: Foray through Estonian history . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 41 .
  24. a b c Alexander Schmidt: History of the Baltic States . 3. Edition. Piper, Munich 1999, p. 254 .
  25. Text in German translation at Eugen Maddisoo, Oskar Angelus (ed.): The Basic Law of the State of Estonia on 15 June 1920. Berlin: Heymann 1928 ( digitized , Tartu University Library )
  26. a b Alexander Schmidt: History of the Baltic States . 3. Edition. Piper, Munich 1999, p. 270 .
  27. ^ Notes from the visit to the Rocca al Mare Museum in Tallinn on September 6, 2018.
  28. Alexander Schmidt: History of the Baltic States . 3. Edition. Piper, Munich 1999, p. 259 .
  29. Mart Laar: Foray through Estonian history . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 44 .
  30. Robert von Lucius: Three Baltic Ways . Mitteldeutscher Verlag, Halle 2011, p. 110 .
  31. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 7 .
  32. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 8 .
  33. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 11 f .
  34. Mart Laar: The Red Terror: Reprisals of the Soviet Occupying Power in Estonia . Grenader, Tallinn 2005, p. 15 .
  35. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 17 .
  36. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 13 .
  37. ^ Estonian Embassy in Germany: Estonian Language and Culture Abroad
  38. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 22 .
  39. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 28 ff .
  40. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 25 .
  41. ^ Mart Laar: Estonia in World War II . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 37 .
  42. Tagesschau from November 13, 1989. Tagesschau vor ... (ARD) , November 13, 1989, accessed on October 22, 2016 .
  43. ^ Franz Preissler : Determining factors of foreign minority policy: Russia and the question of Russian speakers in the Baltic States, 1991-2004 . LIT Verlag Münster 2014. ISBN 978-3-643-12380-0 . (P. 191)
  44. Mart Laar: Foray through Estonian history . Grenader, Tallinn 2017, p. 62 ff .
  45. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 332 .
  46. ^ Norbert Angermann, Karsten Brüggemann: History of the Baltic countries . Reclam, Stuttgart 2018, p. 331 .
  47. Eesti.ee - official website of the Republic of Estonia: Income tax. Accessed on October 11, 2018 (English).
  48. Thomas Kunze, Thomas Vogel: The end of the empire: What became of the states of the Soviet Union . 2nd Edition. Ch.Links, Berlin 2015, p. 104 .
  49. ^ Kremlin youth profess to attack Estonia. Die Welt, March 11, 2009, accessed October 8, 2018 .