Estonian Salvation Committee

The Estonian Salvation Committee (Estonian: Eestimaa Päästekomitee, or Päästekomitee) was the executive body of the Estonian Provincial Assembly that issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence.[1]

The Salvation Committee was created on February 19, 1918 by the Provincial Assembly in a situation where Russian forces were retreating and forces of Imperial Germany were advancing in Estonia during World War I. The committee was granted full decision-making powers to ensure the continued activity of the Provincial Assembly. Members of Salvation Committee were Konstantin Päts, Jüri Vilms and Konstantin Konik. It drafted a declaration of independence that was approved by elders of the Provincial Assembly. The Salvation Committee publicly proclaimed Estonia an independent and democratic republic on February 24 in Tallinn. ESC appointed the Estonian Provisional Government on February 24, 1918.

See also


  1. ^ Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical Dictionary of Estonia. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 978-0-8108-4904-4.
1917 Estonian Provincial Assembly election

The Estonian Provincial Assembly (Estonian: Maapäev) was elected after the February Revolution in 1917 as the national diet of the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia in Russian Empire.

On November 28, 1917, after the October Revolution the Assembly declared itself the sovereign power on Estonia and called for the elections of the Estonian Constituent Assembly. On the eve of the German occupation of Estonia in World War I the council elected the Estonian Salvation Committee and issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence on February 24, 1918.

Anton Õunapuu

Anton Õunapuu VR II/3 (7 November 1887 - 2 April 1919) was an Estonian PE teacher and the founder of the Boy Scouts movement in Estonia.

Estonian Declaration of Independence

The Estonian Declaration of Independence, also known as the Manifesto to the Peoples of Estonia (Estonian: Manifest Eestimaa rahvastele), is the founding act of the Republic of Estonia from 1918. It is celebrated on 24 February, the National Day or Estonian Independence Day.

The declaration was drafted by the Salvation Committee elected by the elders of the Estonian Provincial Assembly. Originally intended to be proclaimed on 21 February 1918, the proclamation was delayed until the evening of 23 February, when the manifesto was printed and read out aloud publicly in Pärnu. On the next day, 24 February, the manifesto was printed and distributed in the capital, Tallinn.

Estonian Provisional Government

The Estonian Provisional Government (Estonian: Eesti Ajutine Valitsus) was formed on February 24, 1918, by the Salvation Committee appointed by Maapäev, the Estonian Province Assembly.

German occupation of Estonia during World War I

The occupation of Estonia by the German Empire occurred during the later stages of the First World War. On October 11–21, 1917, the Imperial German Army occupied the West Estonian archipelago (Moonsund archipelago), consisting of the islands of Saaremaa (Ösel), Hiiumaa (Dagö), and Muhu (Mühn).

Fighting ceased whilst negotiations over the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk took place. These broke down in February and to put pressure on the new Bolshevik regime of Soviet Russia to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk, the Germans landed on the mainland of Estonia on February 18, 1918 and marched on Haapsalu (Hapsal) on February 21, 1918. The Germans occupied Valga (Walk) on February 22, and Pärnu (Pernau), Viljandi (Fellin) and Tartu (Dorpat) on February 24. Tallinn (Revel), was occupied on February 25, 1918 and the rest of Estonia, the last town taken being Narva, on March 4, 1918, putting an end to both the republican regime which had declared Estonia's independence on February 24, 1918 at Tallinn, and the rule of local Russian-Estonian Red Guards. The last Red Guards escaped over the River Narva on March 5, 1918.

Lieutenant General Adolf von Seckendorff arrived in Tallinn on February 28, 1918. He had acted as Military Commander of Third Kommandatur at the head of the German military administration of the West Estonian archipelago. Later in 1918, with the signing of the Treaty of Brest-Litowsk, the Bolsheviks renounced all claims to Estonia and Germany was free to create Baltic client states. Estonia became part of the German Ober Ost military administration for Curonia, Estonia, Livonia, Ösel, and Riga.

Independence Day (Estonia)

Independence Day (Estonian: Eesti Vabariigi aastapäev) is a national holiday in Estonia marking the anniversary of the Estonian Declaration of Independence in 1918. It is commonly celebrated with fireworks, concerts, parades, and parties. It is the national day of Estonia.

Jüri Vilms

Jüri Vilms (13 March [O.S. 1 March] 1889, Arkma, now in Türi Parish, Järva County, Estonia – May 2, 1918, Hauho near Hämeenlinna, Finland, unconfirmed info) was a member of the Estonian Salvation Committee and the first Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Estonia. Empowered by Maapäev the Salvation Committee issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence on February 24, 1918 in the middle of a political power vacuum created by the retreating Russian and advancing German troops during World War I. The German forces taking over the country didn't recognize the independence of Estonia. The Salvation Committee went underground, Jüri Vilms volunteered to go to Finland to take funds and instructions to the Estonian missions working to get diplomatic recognition for the newly sovereign nation. According to an "official" version, he was captured on reaching the Finnish coast and executed by German troops in Helsinki. According to the latest research Jüri Vilms may have been executed by an unit of the Swedish Brigade in Hauho. Estonia gained its independence after the German troops were withdrawn from Estonia due to the German Revolution and following Estonian War of Independence ended with Peace Treaty of Tartu.

Jüri Vilms was born in Kabala, now in Türi Parish, Järva County. He studied at Pärnu Gymnasium where he qualified for free tuition due to a high grade point average. After graduating Vilms continued his studies at the University of Tartu Faculty of Law 1907-1911. At the University he became a member of the Estonian Students Association where he was chosen to the position of elected chairman. In 1911 Vilms started to practise as a lawyer, first as an associate, and later opening his own law firm. After the beginning of World War I Vilms became involved with the Estonian National Movement, publishing articles demanding autonomy for Estonia within the Russian Empire. He criticized the political concepts of Jaan Tõnisson who advocated the idea of cultural autonomy only and the ideas of Konstantin Päts who saw political opportunities in cooperating with Baltic Germans in Estonia. In 1917 Vilms founded a new political party in Estonia, the left-of-centre Eesti Tööerakond (Estonian Labour Party).

After the Russian February Revolution Jüri Vilms became a full-time politician. He was labelled as the advocate of the Estonian people by Aleksander Looring at the time. Together with Heinrich Koppel, Otto Strandman and Jaan Raamot the legal preparations for the administrative reforms establishing the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia were compiled. The documents became the basis for the decree of the Russian Provisional Government on 30 March [O.S. 12 April] 1917 establishing the autonomy for Estonia.Juri Vilms has been characterized by Jaan Kross in his historical novel Tabamatus, translated into Swedish Motstånd, Finnish Kuningasajatus and French Dans l’insaisissable.

Kuusela, Kari (2015), Jüri Vilmsin mysteeri. In: Nieminen, J. (ed.) Helsinki ensimmäisessä maailmansodassa, pp. 42–43, Helsinki: Gummerus Kustannus Oy, ISBN 978-951-24-0086-7

Konik (surname)

Konik is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Michael Konik, American author, television personality, jazz singer, improvisational comedian, blackjack player and poker player.

George Konik, American professional ice hockey player

Anna Konik (born 1974), Polish artist whose work includes installations, objects, video, photography and drawings

Konstantin Konik (1873–1936), Estonian politician and surgeon, member of the Estonian Salvation Committee

Konstantin Konik

Konstantin Konik (31 December [O.S. 19 December] 1873 – 3 August 1936) was an Estonian politician and surgeon, member of the Estonian Salvation CommitteeKonstantin Konik was born to a working-class family in Tartu; his father made living as a carter. After studying at the Governorate Gymnasium in Tartu, Konstantin Konik graduated from the faculty of Medicine of the University of Dorpat (now University of Tartu) in 1873, and made his doctorate degree at the Odessa University in 1903.On 8 March 1920 Konik made history at the University of Tartu by giving the first lecture ever made on medicine in Estonian language. The University of Tartu was established as an Estonian institution only in 1919, it had been the University of Dorpat, a Baltic German institution, before, where only German and since the 1880s–90s Russian language had been used.

Konstantin Päts

Konstantin Päts (Estonian pronunciation: [ˈkonsˈtɑnʲˑˈtinˑ ˈpætʲsˑ]; 23 February [O.S. 11 February] 1874 – 18 January 1956) was the most influential politician of interwar Estonia, and served five times as the country's head ned 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.

In 1917, Päts headed the provincial government of the Autonomous Governorate of Estonia, but was forced to go underground after the October Revolution. On 19 February 1918, Päts became one of the three members of the Estonian Salvation Committee that issued the Estonian Declaration of Independence on 24 February. Konstantin Päts headed the Estonian Provisional Government (1918–1919), although he was imprisoned during the second half of the German Occupation. In the provisional government, Päts also served as Minister of Internal Affairs (1918) and Minister of War (1918–1919) that left him organizing Estonian troops for the War of Independence.

During the 1920s and early 1930s, Päts led the most right-wing party of the major political parties of the time – the conservative Farmers' Assemblies that eventually merged with the Union of Settlers and Smallholders in 1932. Päts was the speaker of the Riigikogu (1922–1923) and served five times as State Elder, a post equivalent to that of president in Estonia's radically parliamentarian system (1921–1922, 1923–1924, 1931–1932, 1932–1933, and 1933–1934). During his last term as State Elder, he organized a coup d'etat to neutralise the right-wing populist Vaps Movement. He was supported by the army and the parliament. During the authoritarian regime ("Era of Silence"), many reforms were made and the economy grew, while he prolonged the return of constitutional order. Päts ruled as Prime Minister in duties of the State Elder (1934–1937) and President-Regent (1937–1938) until a new constitution was adopted in 1938, after which Päts became the first President of Estonia. During his presidency, the Soviet Union occupied Estonia in 1940. As President, he was forced to sign decrees for over a month, until he was finally arrested and deported to the Soviet Union, where he died in 1956.

List of heads of government of Estonia

This is a list of people, who have been heads of government of the Republic of Estonia from 1918, either as a Chairman of the Council of Elders (1918), Prime Minister (1918-1920; 1934-1940 and from 1990), State Elder (1920–1934) or President-Regent (1937–1938). The office of Prime Minister (Peaminister) first came into use soon after Estonia gained its independence in 1918. From 1918 to 1934, Estonia used a parliamentary political system, where the presidency and ministry were subject to parliamentary confidence, but instead of a presidential office, the government was headed by a Prime Minister and from 1920 to 1934, a similar office called State Elder (Riigivanem).

The 1934 constitution gave the State Elder the role of the president, with a separate head of government created, restoring the office of Prime Minister. The new system was obstructed by a 1934 coup d'état by head of government Konstantin Päts. During his authoritarian era (1934–1937), he ruled as both Prime Minister and State Elder. The latter office was entrusted to him briefly until the presidential elections. In 1937, the two offices were combined into the office of President-Regent (Riigihoidja), but the situation was again changed with the 1938 constitution, when Konstantin Päts gave up the office of Prime Minister to a new officeholder.

The Soviet occupation of Estonia in 1940 made Johannes Vares the new Prime Minister of Estonia, but his rule was later declared to have been illegal. According to the 1938 constitution, Prime Minister was to lead the presidency in case the President couldn't be elected, a move that was implemented for the Estonian Government in Exile. The interim government restored the office of Prime Minister in 1990.

Ministry of Defence (Estonia)

The Ministry of Defence of the Republic of Estonia (Estonian: Eesti Vabariigi Kaitseministeerium) and its head, the Minister of Defence, are responsible for organizing national defence.The mission of the Ministry of Defence is to deter attacks against Estonia and ensure that the country is capable of defending itself against external threats. Estonian national defence is based on initial self-defence capability as well as membership in NATO.

Operation Faustschlag

The Operation Faustschlag ("Operation Fist Punch"), also known as the Eleven Days' War, was a Central Powers offensive in World War I. It was the last major action on the Eastern Front.

Russian forces were unable to put up any serious resistance due to the turmoil of the Russian Revolution and subsequent Russian Civil War. The armies of the Central Powers therefore captured huge territories in the Baltics, Belarus, and Ukraine, forcing the Bolshevik government of Russia to sign the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk.

Timeline of the Estonian War of Independence

This article covers the timeline of the Estonian War of Independence (1918−1920) and a few key events in the prelude and aftermath of the war.

United Baltic Duchy

The United Baltic Duchy, (German: Vereinigtes Baltisches Herzogtum, Estonian: Balti Hertsogiriik, Latvian: Apvienotā Baltijas hercogiste) also known as the Grand Duchy of Livonia, was a state proposed by the Baltic German nobility and exiled Russian nobility after the Russian Revolution and German occupation of the Courland, Livonian, and Estonian governorates of the Russian Empire. It was proposed in April 1918, after Estonia and Latvia had formally declared independence.

The idea comprised the lands in Estonia and Latvia and included the creation of a Duchy of Courland and Semigallia and a Duchy of Estonia and Livonia that would be in personal union with the Crown of Prussia under the German Empire's occupied territory Ober Ost before the end of World War I covering the territories of the Medieval Livonia in what are now Latvia and Estonia.

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