Moscow proposes the establishment of bases

to map

22. September 1939

Minister of Foreign Affairs Karl Selter went to Moscow, where he was supposed to sign an important treaty of foreign trade with the Soviet Union.

There, he discovered that Vjatcheslav Molotov has tied the trade treaty directly Estonia's agreement to allow Soviet bases to be built in Estonian territory, and all this was to be formalized as two sided pact of mutual aid.

Molotov argued, that Estonia's neutrality is threatening Soviet military- and trade navy in the Baltic Sea and the security of Leningrad (former St. Petersburg). These claims were backed up by Orzel's escape from Tallinn. In addition, he claimed that compared to the 1920s, Soviet Union has grown into a significant economic and military power, whose interests must be take into account.

On September 25-26, Soviet Union's demands were discussed in Estonian government and parliamentary commissions. It was decided to send a delegation to Moscow for further discussions; delegation included Karl Selter, August Rei, Jüri Uluots and Ants Piip. New meetings took place on September 27 and 28, Soviet Union acted arrogantly and presented its demands very resolutely.

To show off its military strength and obtain the most useful outcome from the negotiations, large forces had been rallied to Estonian border in September 1939: more than 136,000 Red Army soldiers, 1535 cannons, 1474 armored vehicles and about 600 planes, plus the navy. On September 26, commissar of defense, marshal Kliment Voloshilov, signed a order, according to which a powerful and swift advance into Estonia was to begin on September 29.

Soviet ships and planes violated Estonian air- and sea border. It was emphasized during the negotiations that Estonia was in an international isolation.

Nonetheless, the Soviet side promised no to break Estonia's sovereignty, state order, constitution or economic system, not to mention imposing a communist regime onto the state. Current government, parliament, army and fixed domestic- and foreign policy were to stay in place.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                  

Image source: http://www.hot.ee/vaikal/selter.jpg


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