Eesti Vabariigi valitsus eksiilis
Location of Estonia
|Prime Minister in duties of the President/Acting Prime Minister|
|Historical era||Cold War|
• The National Committee of the Republic of Estonia proclaimed itself the supreme power of the Republic of Estonia
|1 August 1944|
• Independence of Estonia recognized by the State Council of the Soviet Union
|6 September 1991|
• Lennart Meri sworn in as the President of Estonia
|6 October 1992|
|ISO 3166 code||EE|
The Estonian government-in-exilewas the formally declared governmental authority of the Republic of Estonia in exile, existing from 1944 until the reestablishment of Estonian sovereignty over Estonian territory in 1991–92. It traced its legitimacy through constitutional succession to the last Estonian government in power prior to the Soviet invasion of 1940. During its existence, it was the internationally recognized government of Estonia.
The Soviet occupation of the Baltic states covers the period from the Soviet–Baltic mutual assistance pacts in 1939, to their invasion and annexation in 1940, to the mass deportations of 1941.
The USSR illegally annexed Estonia on June 14, 1940. Soviet authorities arrested President Konstantin Päts and deported him to the USSR where he died in prison in 1956. Many members of the current and past governments were deported or executed, including eight former heads of state and 38 ministers. Those who survived went underground.
The President of the Republic of Estonia is the head of state of the Republic of Estonia. The current President is Kersti Kaljulaid, elected by Parliament on 3 October 2016, becoming the first woman and youngest person ever who holds the position.
Konstantin Päts was the most influential politician of interwar Estonia, and served five times as the country's head of government. He was one of the first Estonians to become active in politics and started an almost 40-year political rivalry with Jaan Tõnisson, first through journalism with his newspaper Teataja, later through politics. He was condemned to death during the 1905 Revolution, but managed to flee first to Switzerland, then to Finland, where he continued his literary work. He returned to Estonia, but had to spend time in prison in 1910–1911.
Jüri Uluots was the last constitutional prime minister at the time of Soviet occupation. With the loss of Päts, Uluots, as the head of the Estonian government in accordance with Section 46 the Estonian Constitution (Riigi Teataja 03.09.1937 No. 71 Art 590), which specified that in the case that the President vacated the office or was otherwise unable to execute his duties, those duties were to be assumed by the Prime Minister, who carries duties of the Prime Minister to the Acting Prime Minister, became acting head of State.
Jüri Uluots was an Estonian prime minister, journalist, prominent attorney and distinguished Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Law at the University of Tartu.
Uluots attempted to appoint a new Estonian government in July 1941, at the beginning of the German occupation, but German authorities refused to recognize Estonia as a sovereign state.
The National Committee of the Republic of Estonia was formed from individuals engaged in the Estonian government during the German occupation of Estonia. The Committee was led initially, from March 23, 1944, by Kaarel Liidak, then, from August 15 or 16, by Otto Tief. The Committee proclaimed itself the supreme power of the Republic of Estonia on August 1, 1944.
The National Committee of the Republic of Estonia was a self-styled resistance movement in German-occupied Estonia in March 1944. By April 1944 a large number of the committee members were arrested by the German security agencies.
After Nazi Germany invaded the Soviet Union on June 22, 1941, Army Group North reached Estonia in July. Initially the Germans were perceived by most Estonians as liberators from the USSR and its repressions, having arrived only a week after the first mass deportations from the Baltic States. Although hopes were raised for the restoration of the country's independence, it was soon realized that they were but another occupying power. The Germans pillaged the country for their war effort and unleashed The Holocaust in Estonia during which they and their collaborators murdered tens of thousands of people. For the duration of the occupation, Estonia was incorporated into the German province of Ostland.
Otto Tief was an Estonian politician, military commander, and a lawyer.
In June 1942 political leaders of Estonia who had survived Soviet repressions held a meeting hidden from the occupying powers in Estonia where the formation of an underground Estonian government and the options for preserving continuity of the republic were discussed.On January 6, 1943, a meeting was held at the Estonian foreign delegation in Stockholm. In order to preserve the legal continuation of the Republic of Estonia, it was decided that the last constitutional prime minister, Jüri Uluots, had to continue to fulfill his responsibilities as prime minister. On April 20, 1944, the Electoral Committee of the Republic of Estonia (Vabariigi Presidendi Asetäitja Valimiskogu, the institution specified in the Constitution for electing the Acting President of the Republic) held a clandestine meeting in Tallinn. The participants included:
Stockholm is the capital of Sweden and the most populous urban area in the Nordic countries; 960,031 people live in the municipality, approximately 1.5 million in the urban area, and 2.3 million in the metropolitan area. The city stretches across fourteen islands where Lake Mälaren flows into the Baltic Sea. Just outside the city and along the coast is the island chain of the Stockholm archipelago. The area has been settled since the Stone Age, in the 6th millennium BC, and was founded as a city in 1252 by Swedish statesman Birger Jarl. It is also the capital of Stockholm County.
Mihkel Klaassen was a justice of the Supreme Court of Estonia since 1924.
The Supreme Court of Estonia is the court of last resort in Estonia. It is both a court of cassation and a constitutional court. The courthouse is in Tartu.
The Committee determined that the Soviet-era appointment of Johannes Vares as Prime Minister by Konstantin Päts had been illegal and that Uluots had assumed the President's duties from June 21, 1940, onwards.On June 21, 1944, Jüri Uluots appointed Otto Tief as deputy prime minister. On September 18, 1944, Uluots, suffering from cancer, named Otto Tief the Acting Prime Minister and appointed a Government which consisted of 11 members. On September 20, 1944, Uluots, in failing health, departed for Sweden. Tief assumed office in accordance with the constitution and took the opportunity with the departure of the Germans to declare the legitimate Estonian government restored. Most of members of this government left from Tallinn on September 21 and Tief on September 22. As reported by the Royal Institute of International Affairs: on September 21 the Estonian national government was proclaimed, Estonian forces seized the government buildings in Toompea and ordered the German forces to leave. The flag of Germany was replaced with the Estonian tricolour in the Pikk Hermann flag tower. Tief's government, however, failed to keep control, as Estonian military units led by Johan Pitka clashed with both Germans and Soviets. On September 22 the Soviets took control of Tallinn and took the Estonian flag down.
The Tief government fled Tallinn. The last meeting was held in Põgari village on September 22. However, the boat which was to rendezvous to evacuate them across the Baltic developed engine trouble and failed to arrive in time. Most of the members and officials, including Tief, were caught, jailed, deported, or executed by the advancing Soviets. Tief managed to survive a decade in Siberia and died back in Estonia in 1976. Only Kaarel Liidak, Minister of Agriculture, died in hiding on January 16, 1945.
After Uluots died on January 9, 1945, August Rei, as the most senior surviving member of the government, assumed the role of acting head of state. Rei was supported by the surviving members of the Tief government in Sweden. Rei was the last Estonian envoy in Moscow before the Soviet annexation and had managed to escape from Moscow through Riga to Stockholm in June 1940.
Rei declared an official Estonian government in exile on January 12, 1953, in Oslo, Norway.(Oslo, not Stockholm, was chosen because Norway did not have bans on such political activity, while Sweden had.)
However, another group of Estonian politicians believed a president should be elected through some representative body. This group was led by Alfred Maurer, who had been second deputy chairman of the National Council of Estonia prior to 1940. Maurer was elected Acting President of the Republic (Vabariigi Presidendi Asetäitja) in exile on March 3, 1953, in Augustdorf, Germany. While Maurer's lineage had more support among the exile community, he never appointed any new government (stating that Tief's government is still in office and there is no need for a new government) and this line became extinct upon Maurer's death a year-and-a-half later, on September 20, 1954. This left the Rei government as the sole contestant to legitimacy.
The position of acting head of government continued to be assumed by succession following Rei's death in 1963. From 1953 to 1992, five governments in exile were formed.
Of the three Baltic states, only Estonia established a formal government in exile. In the cases of Latvia and Lithuania, sovereign authority had been vested in their diplomatic legations. Even with regard to Estonia, the legations were the primary instrument for the conduct of diplomacy and for administering the daily matters of state (such as issuing passports). Estonia's primary legation was the consulate in New York City.
Under the United States Stimson Doctrine, the legitimacy of the Soviet occupation of Baltic states was never recognized. As primary diplomatic authority was exercised by the Estonian consulate in New York City,the government in exile's role from Oslo was, to a great degree, symbolic in nature. The Estonian consulate in Ireland was in legal proceedings. Estonian ships were instructed to go to a Soviet port. Three Estonian ships ( Otto, Piret, and Mall) and two from Latvia (Rāmava and Everoja) chose a neutral port in Ireland instead. Ivan Maisky, the Soviet Union's ambassador to the United Kingdom, applied to the High Court in Dublin for possession of the ships. Their owners could not be contacted. John McEvoy honorary consul of Estonia successfully opposed the action. This was recalled by Toomas Hendrik Ilves, President of Estonia.
However, the Estonian government in exile did serve to carry the continuity of the Estonian state forward. The last prime minister in the duties of the president, Heinrich Mark, ended the work of the government in exile when he handed over his credentials to the incoming President Lennart Meri on October 8, 1992. Meri issued a statement thanking the Estonian government in exile for being the keepers of the legal continuity of the Estonian state.
This is the list of the Acting Prime Ministers (peaministri asetäitjad) of the Estonian government-in-exile:
"... we are thankful that Ireland never recognised the illegal annexation of Estonia by the Soviet Union after the Second World War. We will never forget John McEvoy, Estonia’s honorary consul in Dublin from 1938 to 1960. Among other things, one of his good deeds was helping to protect the interests of the Estonian shipowners ..."
Otto August Strandman was an Estonian politician, who served as Prime Minister (1919) and State Elder of Estonia (1929–1931). He was one of the leaders of the centre-left Estonian Labour Party, that saw its biggest support after the 1919 and 1920 elections. Strandman was a key figure in composing the radical land reform law and the 1920 Constitution. He also served as Minister of Agriculture (1918–1919), Minister of Justice, Minister of Finance (1924), Minister of Foreign Affairs and Minister of War (1919). While he was in the office of Minister of Finance, he stabilized the economy and managed to avoid hyperinflation. Strandman was also the speaker of both the Estonian Provincial Assembly (1917–1918) and Riigikogu (1921). He was a diplomat, serving as an envoy in Warsaw (1927–1929), when he made contacts with Polish politicians, and in Paris (1933–1939). During the Soviet Occupation in 1941, Strandman was ordered to show up to the NKVD headquarters. Already knowing about his fate, he committed suicide in his home in Kadrina.
The Battle of Narva was a military campaign between the German Army Detachment "Narwa" and the Soviet Leningrad Front fought for possession of the strategically important Narva Isthmus on 2 February – 10 August 1944 during World War II.
Johannes Vares, commonly known as Johannes Vares Barbarus, was an Estonian poet, medical doctor, and politician.
The Estonian resistance movement was an underground movement to resist the occupation of Estonia by Nazi Germany, 1941–1944 during World War II. Due to the unusually benign measures implemented in Estonia by the German occupation authorities, especially in contrast to the preceding harsh Soviet occupation of Estonia (1940–1941), the movement was slower to develop effective tactics on a wide scale than in other occupied countries.
August Rei VR III/1 was an Estonian Social Democratic politician.
Aleksander Warma VR I/3 was an Estonian navy officer, diplomat and painter.
Before the outbreak of the Second World War, Germany and the Soviet Union signed the German-Soviet Nonaggression Pact, concerning the partition and disposition of sovereign states, including Estonia, and in particular its Secret Additional Protocol of August 1939.
The Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, also known as Soviet Estonia or Estonia was an unrecognized republic of the Soviet Union, administered by a subordinate of the Soviet government. The ESSR was initially established on the territory of the Republic of Estonia on 21 July 1940, following the invasion of Soviet troops on 17 June 1940, and the installation of a puppet government backed by the Soviet Union, which declared Estonia a Soviet constituency. The Estonian SSR was subsequently incorporated into the Soviet state on 9 August 1940. The territory was occupied by Nazi Germany from 1941 to 1944 and administered as a part of Reichskommissariat Ostland.
The Soviet Union occupied most of the territory of the Baltic states in its 1944 Baltic Offensive during World War II. The Red Army regained control over the three Baltic capitals and encircled retreating Wehrmacht and Latvian forces in the Courland Pocket where they held out until the final German surrender at the end of the war. The German forces were deported and the leaders of Latvian collaborating forces were executed as traitors. After the war, the Soviet Union reestablished control over the Baltic territories in line with its forcible annexations as communist republics in 1940.
The Baltic Legations were the missions of the exiled Baltic diplomatic services from 1940 to 1991. After the Soviet occupation of the Baltic states in 1940, the Baltic states instructed their diplomats to maintain their countries' legations in several Western capitals. Members of the Estonian diplomatic service, the Latvian diplomatic service and the Lithuanian diplomatic service continued to be recognised as the diplomatic representatives of the independent pre-World War II states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, whose annexation by the Soviet Union was not recognised by the United States, the United Kingdom, or France. The legations provided consular services to exiled citizens of the Baltic states from 1940 to 1991.
Richard Övel was the Chancellor of Justice of Estonia from 1944 to 1949. He was appointed the position of Chancellor of Justice in September 1944 when Prime Minister Jüri Uluots appointed a new government headed by Otto Tief.