1. Soviet Russia occupies Estonia


The infamous Molotov-Ribbendrop pact in Moscow on 24.08.1939. with its secret protocols gave Finland, Estonia and Latvia into the sphere of interests of the Soviet Union. Later also Lithuania was added to the list. As we know now, that was a Soviet masterstroke. While the Germans thought to secure their back for European campaigns, by this move the Russians with their long term plan of European conquest secured further platsd’arms for future expansion.

Although Estonia had declared neutrality in the ongoing war and did not want to join with any of the great powers, the Soviet Union presented the Estonian Government on 24.09.1939. an ultimatum for conclusion of a treaty of mutual assistance, which would give the USSR right for military bases on Estonian territory. This demand was reinforced by massed troops on the border ( 160 000 men, 700 guns, 600 tanks and 600 planes), the mastery of Estonian air space by Soviet air force and the Soviet Fleet beyond the territorial waters.

The Russians claimed that the security of their Country was at stake, while we could not prevent the Polish sub-marine Orzel escaping from internment. They also claimed, that one of their merchant ships, Metallist, was torpedoed and sunk in Gulf of Narva.(Later this ship was observed as wholly intact and seaworthy).

As our neighbours could or would not come to help, the Government had to give in and the Mutual Assistance treaty was concluded on 28.09.1939. Accordingly military bases in Western Estonia and on the islands were “leased” to Russian troops (limit 25000, which was never kept, our own defence force was about 16000). Soviet fleet could use the ports of Tallinn and Paldiski.

Military bases of the Soviet Union on the territory of the Rep. of Estonia 1939Solemn promises by the Soviet Government were given, never to impede our internal affairs and they would never try to impose soviet type of regime on Estonian people! Similar ultimatums were delivered to Latvian and Lithuanian governments. Also similar treaties were concluded on 05.10.39 with Latvia and on 10.10.39. with Lithuania. Finland rejected the Russian demands, who staged a border incident which started the so-called Winter War, which lasted from 30.11.39. to 13.03.40. Finland lost a lot of territory but retained limited independence under the Soviet control. About 400 000 Finns from the lost territories had to be resettled.


On 16.06.1940. the Foreign Minister of the USSR. V. Molotov, presented our ambassador in Moscow an ultimatum, which stipulated the massed entry of Russian troops into Estonia and the formation of a new and friendlier Government. This ultimatum was preceded:

a) On 05.06. The Deputy of the USSR War Commissar, Loktionov arrived in Tallinn, to visit and inspect the Russian Bases in Estonia and Latvia. In reality he was controlling the readiness of the Red Army for destruction of the Independence of the Baltic States.

b) On 09.06. The War Commissar of the USSR, marshal S. Timoshenko issued a directive to the Red Banner Baltic Fleet and the Military District of Leningrad to be prepared to occupy the three Baltic States. (see App.1)

c) On 14.06. Russian fighter planes shot down the Finnish commercial plane “Aero”, which perished with all passengers. A Russian sub-marine prevented local fishermen from rescue or salvage.

d) On 15.06. The Russian Fleet left Port of Tallinn for the high sea. Troops from the bases in Paldiski and Haapsalu moved towards Tallinn and took up battle positions. On the eastern border massive infantry and tank units were observed. One merchant ship was sunk and small coastal vessels were forced to sail to Paldiski.

e) Russian air force dominated Estonian sky with very frequent flights over Tallinn and other cities.
On 16.06. at 15.00 hours the Government and the Committee for Foreign affairs met with President Päts presiding. After a short session it was decided to avoid senseless blood letting and accept the ultimatum. Estonia was alone, isolated and surrounded by Soviet forces, which outstripped our defences many times. Situation was hopeless and any resistance would fail in a short time. While the war in Europe was going on, no help was available. Advice from Germans was: to accept Rusian demands. How the actual occupation was carried out, can be seen from Appendix 2.

Comparison of forces

To conquer the Balticum the Russians deployed the 8. Army. It contained 435000 men, 2601 planes, 8000 guns and mortars, 3000 tanks and 500 armoured cars.

The three Baltic States could muster 66946 men (ratio 1:6.5), 520 old planes (ratio 1:5), 1630 guns and mortars (ratio 1:5), 1065 tanks (mainly I World War models, ratio 1:2.8) and 150 armoured cars (ratio 1:3.3).

Against Estonia the Russians sent 136000 men, 1500 guns, 1300 tanks and 160 armoured cars. Their 65. Inf. Army corps, with 3 divisions and special troops, was already in Estonian bases. The Red Banner Baltic Fleet, partly in Tallinn and Paldiski with 200 ships and marine inf. troops and about 150 planes.

Estonian defence forces had: 1500 officers, 2400 non-com. officers and 12000 national servicemen, 16 tanks, 21 armoured cars, 40 planes and 242 guns. Our equipment consisted mainly I World War or even earlier guns, tanks and mostly training planes. Lets visualise our dozen or so old Renault tanks battling a Russian T34 brigade!

Further comments

At the time of conclusion of the Mutual Assistant Treaty both countries were members of the League of Nations. How could we assume, that one of them, even much larger and stronger, would conclude a sham treaty for easier conquest? Also our people thought that the Russians are not the same ones who burned, murdered and pillaged our country and people in 1918-1920 during our War of Independence.

What followed, was a horrible nightmare. Soon after the occupation was completed and even before the soviet regime installed, the Soviet secret police NKVD went to work. A massive terror and genocide begun with brutal violations of human rights, physical extermination of human life, and forcible deportations. The CO of Estonian Defence forces, general J.Laidoner arrested and deported to Russia on 18.07. and the President Konstantin Päts on 30.07. Most of the leading citizens i.e. government ministers, parliamentarians and senior officers of the Army were also arrested and either deported or executed. People begun to disappear without a trace.

Estonia had 30 generals and 2 admirals. 17 of them were on active duty, the rest was retired. The Russians arrested and executed 13 of them, 10 died in the Gulag, 3 escaped to the West, 2 died fighting and 4 enjoyed the natural death at home. Together 323 officers of various ranks were arrested, executed or sent to Gulag, where most of them perished The census on 1939 gave the Estonian population as 1 134 000 people. There were only 999 884 left in 1941. That gives a deficit of 134 116 people. If we take from that 19 660 Baltic Germans, who resettled to Germany, the reminder is still 114 456 loss to Estonian population

Below is a table of after the first occupation documented losses:

Estonian losses during first Russian occupation

Estonian losses during first Russian occupation

From the deported 24% were children under 15 and 6% elderly over 60 years. That leaves still a unexplained loss of nearly 55000 people, for the greater part of which the inheritor of the Soviet regime, the present Russian Government, should give a full account. But for that the archives of the KGB (NKVD) should be opened.

In Estonia, Moscow’s special emissary Andrei Zhdanov installed a puppet-government and, ignoring our constitution and laws, organized a soviet-style sham election for the Riigikogu (Lower House). The Upper House was not even elected. Only single candidates, nominated by Zhdanov, were permitted. Before the occupation Estonian communist party had about 150 members. Together with some stooges they supplied the members of the “New Government” and “New Parliament”. The rest of the Estonians had in this stage-managed affair no say. It did not matter what you placed in the voting box.

The existing Electoral Commission was dismissed and a new “trustworthy” members appointed. They made sure that no “enemy of the working people” could sneak in as a candidate. These so-called “elections” were strictly conducted under the supervision of the NKVD and Red Army officers, who made sure of no slip-ups.

Very high participation rates for the “election” were announced (over 80%), but in our electorate, it was an open secret, only a meagre 40% attended, even though force and intimidation was used to get people to cast their “vote”. Rumors that a soviet system would be introduced were emphatically denied by the communists in the daily press. Some people were even arrested for spreading such “treacherous” rumors. So there was no mandate from the electorate to change the form of government or lifestyle.

Yet this so-called Riigikogu, in the course of a few days, enacted very basic laws, which deeply affected people’s lives, but for which it had no mandate from the people, and it also had no legality, because the whole process was unconstitutional . It was only supported by Russian might. The “Riigikogu” approved a new soviet constitution, which was dictated by Zhdanov, it declared Estonia a Soviet Republic and asked Moscow to admit Estonia into the Soviet Union. It declared that all land belonged to the people (i.e. the State) and nationalized banks and industry.

All these decisions were made without debate, as directed by Zhdanov and under the watchful eyes of the soviet military and the commissars. A similar scenario was enacted at the same time in Latvia and Lithuania with the same results.

This horror-year of Russian occupation, before their war with Germany started, convinced Estonians that Russian communism was the biggest danger to the Estonian nation. Therefore, it is totally wrong to accuse Estonians and their soldiers, who tried to stop the Russian advance into Estonian in 1944, of being Nazi supporters.

They fought valiantly to save their country, but in vain. The Russians maintain that they liberated Estonia and other Baltic states, whereas they actually “liberated” after the war and in subsequent years of the occupation, a further 100 000 Estonian citizens either to the Gulag or through execution. In their place, the Russians imported into Estonian about 600 000 Soviet people. Putin is using them as a fifth column to support Russian demands.

The Russians again glorify the soviet era, when the soviets signed and nullified over one hundred various pacts and conventions, as mere convenience. They continued this practice recently, when Comrade Putin unilaterally nullified the Limitation of Conventional Forces in Europe pact and sent his strategic bombers to patrol the skies of the World. The bitter experience and fate of Estonian people should be a serious warning to the free World. If only they would listen!

Apart from the endless appetite for other lands and people there is another aspect to the annexation of Baltic States by the USSR.

Red Army ready for plan "GROZA"

Red Army ready for plan GROZA

As the Germans were preparing the invasion to England and had the bulk of their military might on the Atlantic coast, the Soviets implemented quietly their plan “Groza”, i.e. conquest of Europe. On their western border area they deployed 12 armies, 23. against Finland, 3.,4.,5.,6.,8.,10.,11. and 26. on German border, 12. and 18. on Hungarian border and 9. towards Rumania. This was the first line. On the second line were armies 13.,19.,20. and 21., 27. and 5 corps of air-borne troops, a total of 5 400 000 men, 23100 tanks and 24000 planes. The attack was to start on 6.7.1941.

But the German intelligence knew of the Russian preparations, and they dropped the plans to invade England, quickly redeployed their forces to the Russian border and pre-empted Russian plans by two weeks.

As all Russian forces were ready for attack but not for defence, they suffered tremendous losses, whole armies were annihilated and the Russian defence collapsed for some time. So the annexation of Baltic States did not help the grandiose Russian plans for conquest of Europe at all.

Hypothetically: If the Germans could not stop the Russians and were defeated, the already by Germans defeated Western European states could not stop them either. The Americans were not ready and most likely could not come to help and the Red Army would reach Atlantic coast in no time. Then the Iron Curtain could be seen from White Cliffs. The NKVD and KGB would have hay-day and unlimited supply of manpower for Gulag empire.

Raivo Kalamae

The plan of attack ratified on 15.05.41

The plan of attack ratified on 15.05.41