The counterattacks of the Red Army

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16. June 1919

On June 16, 1919, the Red Army launched a new counterattack against the North-Western Army of the Russian White Movement in Petrograd, which was pushed to the Lauga River by July.

There the advance of Bolshevik army was halted by the Estonian forces stationed near Lauga River and Lakes of Ilmen. At the same time, tensions near Pihkva increased, as the Peoples Force was holding violent defensive battles there.

In the second half of August, Red Army's launched a large scale attack, goal was to seize Pihkva. The Estonian military command sent all its reserves to defend the city and with the help of the North-Western Army of the Russian White movement, the attacks were resisted for some time.

Because the general state of the war was complicated and Estonian soldiers did not want to fight on Russian soil, General Laidoner had the Peoples Force retreat to Izborsk on August 25. The North-Western army was shattered by inner conflicts and left unable to fight, Pihkva was left to the Bolsheviks on August 28. Bolsheviks continued to advance, until reaching the defensive line in Izborsk.

The halt of the Red Army was mostly due to the attempt of the Soviet Russia to initiate peace negotiations with Estonia. The first suggestion of peace was mentioned in the telegram by Comissioner Georgy Chicheryn on August 31, 1919.
Also, as a sign of looking a deal, the Estonian Red Army and the puppet Assembly of the Estonian Workers Community were dispersed. Estonia decided to wait for the opinions of the Triple Entente and other Baltic countries. Therefore, the Russian-Estonian negotiations that took place in Pihkva on September 17-18, were merely an exchange of information, where both sides only declared their wish for peace.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.                                                                                                    

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