Commune of the Working People of Estonia

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Estonian Workers' CommuneEesti Töörahva Kommuuna
Flag of Estonia Flag
Location of Estonia in northern Europe.Location of Estonia in northern Europe.
StatusState of Russian SFSR (until December 7th, 1918)
Common languagesEstonian
GovernmentSoviet republic
• 1918–1919 Jaan Anvelt
LegislatureSoviet council
• Established 29 November 1918
• Disestablished 5 June 1919
ISO 3166 codeEE
  1. Chairman (Esimees) of the Soviet of the Commune of the Working People of Estonia (Eesti Töörahva Kommuuni Nõukogu).

The Estonian Workers' Commune (Estonian: Eesti Töörahva Kommuun, initially Eesti Töörahwa Kommuuna; Russian: Эстляндская трудовая коммуна Estlyandskaya trudovaya kommuna, ЭТК or ETK, also Estonian Labour Commune and Commune of the Working People of Estonia) was a government claiming the Bolshevik-occupied parts of Republic of Estonia as its territories during the Estonian War of Independence and the Russian Civil War. It was recognised as an independent state only by Russian SFSR on December 7th, 1918.

Establishment and fall

The Commune was established in Narva on 29 November 1918 with the support of the Red Army. It was chaired by Jaan Anvelt for the duration of its existence. Within areas of their control, the Commune closed churches, nationalised industry and the banks and outlawed representatives of the Provisional Government.

The Communist offensive was initially successful and eventually reached as far as 34 kilometres from Tallinn. However, a counter-offensive begun on 7 January 1919 by the Estonian People's Force (Rahvavägi) under Commander-in-Chief Johan Laidoner eventually drove the Red Army out of Estonia, with international military aid primarily from the British Empire. The Commune was thus rendered defunct, claiming a government in exile in Pskov, then Luga and finally, from 17 May 1919, in Staraya Russa.


International recognition

The Russian Socialist Federative Soviet Republic (RSFSR) formally recognised the ETK on 7 December 1918 and remained the only government to do so. At that time, Soviet Russia was itself not internationally recognised. One of the first international treaties recognising Russia's Soviet government as legitimate was the Treaty of Tartu concluding the Estonian War of Independence in 1920.


Corpses of victims of the 1919 Tartu Credit Center Massacre, among them Estonian bishop Platon, killed by the winthdrawing Bolsheviks

The regime instituted a reign of terror from November 1918 to January 1919. A considerable number of people were arrested in Tartu in December 1918 and a number of German estate owners were executed on the frozen river on 9 January 1919. A concentration camp was also set up near Luga, in January 1919. Just before Tartu was seized, the Bolsheviks carried out the Tartu Credit Center Massacre executing clergymen and other prisoners in the basement of the town's bank, among the victims were Bishop Platon, the priest Sergei Florinski and the pastor Traugott Hahn. Around 500 people were killed in total.

Members of the Commune

Soviet authorities executed most of the members during the Great Purge.

See also


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a bЭстонский_флаг_эстонс/1HMWAQAAIAAJ
  3. ^ a b c Russia in Flames: War, Revolution, Civil War, 1914-1921. Oxford University Press. 22 January 2024. ISBN 978-0-19-979421-8.
  4. ^ Survival and Consolidation: The Foreign Policy of Soviet Russia, 1918-1921. McGill-Queen's Press - MQUP. 27 April 1992. ISBN 978-0-7735-6285-1.
  5. ^ Cultural Transformations After Communism: Central and Eastern Europe in Focus. Nordic Academic Press. 8 January 2011. ISBN 978-91-87121-83-8.
  6. ^ Arjakas, Küllo; Laur, Mati; Lukas, Tõnis; Mäesalu, Ain (1991). Eesti ajalugu (in Estonian). Tallinn: Koolibri. p. 261.
  7. ^ Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical Dictionary of Estonia. Scarecrow Press. p. 226. ISBN 9780810865716.
  8. ^ Brüggemann, Karsten (29 August 2008). ""Foreign Rule" during the Estonian War of Independence 1918–1920: The Bolshevik Experiment of the "Estonian Worker's Commune"". Journal of Baltic Studies. 37 (2). Routledge: 210–226. doi:10.1080/01629770608628880. S2CID 144738999.
  9. ^ Eesti ajalugu, a textbook for grade 11 by Küllo Arjakas, Mati Laur, Tõnis Lukas and Ain Mäesalu; Koolibri, Tallinn 1991; p. 263.
  10. ^ Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical Dictionary of Estonia. European Historical Dictionaries. Vol. 43. Scarecrow Press. p. 226. ISBN 0810849046.
  11. ^ a b c d Von Rauch, Georg (2006). The Baltic States – The Years of independence 1917 – 1940. Hurst & Company. pp. 58–59. ISBN 1850652333.
  12. ^ Ammela, Mari-Leen. "Estonian Workers' Commune". Archived from the original on 21 January 2020. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  13. ^ Tannberg, Tonu; Maesalu, Ain; Lukas, Tonis; Laur, Mati; Pajur, Ago (1997). History of Estonia (2nd ed.). Avita. p. 212. ISBN 9985206061.
  14. ^ Kaljuvee, Ardo (22 September 2007). "Hea kommunist on surnud kommunist" . Eesti Päevaleht (in Estonian). Archived from the original on 1 August 2012. Retrieved 7 March 2013.


External links