The occupation of Estonia

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15. June 1940

Estonian-Soviet relations were stable until the spring of 1940. Then, after Germany had conquered France, Stalin decided to eliminate the independence of the Baltic states. On June 15, Estonia was faced with an ultimatum, which claimed that Estonia had violated the Pact of Mutual Assistance and was demanded to allow more military forces into its territory. If refused, Estonia would face a military invasion.

The Estonian government saw no other option but to yield to the Soviet demands. On June17, 90,000 members of the Red Army marched into Estonia and occupied the country by June 21. Then the extermination of Estonia's political independence began, emissary from Moscow, Andrei Ždanov, commanded for the assembly of a new „people's government", the leader of which became Johannes Vares-Barbarus, a poet and a doctor.

In July, new elections of the National Council took place, where only the candidates approved by Moscow participated. Initially, it was declared that nothing would change in Estonian governmental rule, and apparently, there were those on the top, who believed that Stalin would allow Estonia to preserve, at least, a formal independence. The turn of events, however, showed them that they were wrong.

Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005, стр. 92-97.

Seppo Zetterberg "Eesti Ajalugu"

Foto: Eesti Ajaloo Muuseum

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