Signing the peace treaty

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02. February 1920 time 00:45

On February 2, 1920, at 00.45 o'clock, the treaty between Estonia and Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic was signed. This ended the war between the two countries.

Soviet Russia acknowledged Estonia's independence, based on the nations right of self-determination, and vowed to relinquish all claims to Estonia that it ever had had. Estonia had no obligations to Russia, and all agreements made by Russia on Estonia's behalf were now void.

Both sides had to disband all foreign forces on their territories as a military guarantee, specifically Russian North-Eastern army by Estonians and the Estonian Red Guard squads by Russia. Also all the organizations that pursued the governing of the areas covered by the treaty had to be disbanded. Countries that were at war with one of the agreeing parties, were not allowed to use the territory of the opposing side to transport their military assets. Also, Russia was obligated to recognize Estonia's neutrality.

Both sides gave their people the chance to opt for citizenship of either nation, the peace treaty also demanded that prisoners of war and interned civilians are traded back. In 1920 - 1924 nearly 40,000 people used their right to acquire Estonian citizenship.

The Truce of Tartu was quickly ratified: Supreme Soviet of the Soviet Union did so on February 4, Estonian Constituent Assembly on February 13. Thus, the war that had lasted for 431 days ended with a truce, that the president of Estonia, Lennart Meri, called the birth of Estonian republic. The reaction of the Entente was rather sharp and the recognition of the republic of Estonia took several years.

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

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