Reestablishment of the Soviet rule in Estonia and Stalinism

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Rebuilding of the Soviet rule begun with the invasion of the Red Army in 1944. The high authorities of the Estonian SSR centered in Võru at first, as the Germans were still holding Tallinn. In the power hierarchy of the Estonian SSR, the highest position was held by the Secretary General of Estonian Communist Party, who, since 1941, had been Nikolai Karotamm.

In addition to the executions and deportations of 1940 and 1941, new mass arrests begun in 1944. Goal of the violence policy was to bring the whole society under its control. The policy was set by the party, and carried out by the security agency.

In 1944-45, the number of repressed was about 30,000 people. People considered to be disloyal to the Soviet rule were sent to prison or labor camps. High peak of the violence policy was on the night of March 26, 1949: 20,772 people were deported to Siberia. Majority of the deported were women and children, their destinations were mainly Karsnoyjarsk Krai and Novosibirsk Oblast.

For a long time, majority of the Estonians negated the Soviet rule, both passively and actively. This took the form of the partisan war in the forests of Estonia. Direct armed conflicts took place from 1944 to 1953. These "forest brothers" were people, who avoided mobilization into the Red Army, or had fled from the Soviet rule (about 30,000 people all together). All over Estonia, the groups of forest brothers waged guerrilla warfare against the Soviet rule. They killed Soviet activist, but also robbed stores and farms, adding to the feeling of fear and terror in the rural areas. This was a "war after war", bringing lots of casualties to both sides. This resistance, lasting for several years, showed that Estonia did not surrender without a fight.

In economy, the development of the industry was favoured. In Virumaa, oil-shale industry was widened; also machine- and metal industries were developed. Throughout the Soviet era, main emphasis was on the heavy industry, supporting the economic interests of the East, and not Estonia.

The Soviet land reform was mainly about the expropriation of land and its nationalization. From 1944 to 1947, 927,000 ha land was expropriated. This was followed by the establishment of collective farms. The mass-deportation of 1949 was organized to help this process along - to scare the people. National planned economy was put in place: the demand was set in Moscow and local areas had to try to fulfill it.

Stalin era was also about a strong ideological pressure. It reached its peak in 1950, when during the March Plenary of the ECP, hundreds of bourgeois nationalists were condemned. The leaders of the Estonian SSR were changed, Johannes Käbin became the Secretary General of the ECP, and held that position until 1978.

Source: M.Laur, A. Pajur, T. Tannberg "Eesti ajalugu II" Tallinn 1995 "Avita"



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