The first border plan of Russia

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08. December 1919 time 23:15

In the end of the sitting, after a 15 min recess, the Russian delegation made their own proposal, as the initial plan of the Estonians was of course completely unacceptable. According to their information, it would encompass giving up more than 10,000 square kilometers of indigenous Russian territory in Jaama and Pihkva counties, and also moving the front line 15-25 kilometers eastwards.

According to Russian's plan, the border would have coursed through Virumaa in the north, from Kunda to Rannapungerja, and in south, it would run largely along the old governorate border. Also, neither side would be allowed to have any fortifications along a land strip, approximately 10 kilometers wide, running from the Gulf of Narva to Lake Peipsi. Armed boats on the Lake Peipsi were also forbade.

In the Finnish Gulf, the territorial waters were 10 kilometers wide strip. Estonia had 15 days to withdraw all forces from areas east of the border line. This utopian proposal was explained with a military strategy to prevent Estonia from assembling military units hostile to the Soviets. Krassin (see image) declared, that if sufficient security guarantees are provided, Russia would be willing to establish the border based on an ethnic foundation.

To push their own border plan forward, the Soviet board started using "cannon diplomacy", as on December 7, the Red Army had begun with an assault along the whole Viru front. Estonia managed to decisively repel all the assaults and therefor the the Soviet pressure in the negotiations subsided. Threats of force however, were not yet completely abandoned.

The Estonian delegation declared the first plan to be push for annexation and therefore is completely unacceptable: with it the city of Narva and the whole of North-Eastern Estonia along with its oil shale deposits and industrial potential, and also all of Setumaa would have gone to Russia. Ants Piip argued the plan with the data from the census of 1897, which proved that those areas are mainly inhabited by Estonians. This was followed by manipulations of statistical data by both sides, but no agreement was reached.

Source: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Eesti Vabadussõda, 1918-1920, 2. Tallinn: Mats, 1997                                                                               


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