>Pictured here: The “ex”-communist Prime Minister of Estonia Andrus Ansip.
Republic of Estonia
Constituent republic of USSR: August 6, 1940-August 20, 1991
Previous names: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic: July 21, 1940-May 8, 1990
Type of state: “Post”-communist “multiparty” state under covert control of restored/continuing CPSU
Neo-communist renewal: “Collapse of communism,” 1991
1) Estonian Reform Party (“ex”-CPSU founder), Estonian Centre Party (“ex”-CPSU leader), and People’s Union of Estonia (“ex”-CPSU founder/past leader): 2005-present
2) Estonian Reform Party (“ex”-CPSU founder), Res Publica, and People’s Union of Estonia (“ex”-CPSU founder/past leader): 2003-2005
3) Estonian Reform Party (“ex”-CPSU founder) and Estonian Centre Party (“ex”-CPSU leader): January 2002-2003
4) Estonian Reform Party (“ex”-CPSU founder), Pro Patria Union, and Moderates (known as Social Democratic Party since 2003): 1999-December 2001
5) Coalition (Estonian Coalition Party, “ex”-communist) and Rural People’s Party (as minority government): 1996-1999
6) Coalition (Estonian Coalition Party, “ex”-communist) and Rural People’s Party, and Estonian Reform Party (“ex”-CPSU founder): 1995-1996
7) Coalition (Estonian Coalition Party, “ex”-communist) and Rural People’s Party, and Estonian Centre Party (“ex”-CPSU leader): 1995
8) Provisional government under “nonpartisan” leadership of Prime Minister Andres Tarand: 1994-1995
9) National Coalition Party Pro Patria, Moderates, and Estonian National Independence Party: 1992-1994
10) Communist Party of Estonia and People’s Front of Estonia (front for Communist Party of Estonia): 1990-1992
11) Communist Party of Estonia (Estonian section of CPSU), sole legal party: 1940-1990
12) Commune of the Working People of Estonia, unrecognized government under leadership of Communist Party of Estonia, party chairman Jaan Anvelt, and Soviet military occupation: 1918-1919
Communist Bloc memberships: Community of Democratic Choice, European Union
Socialist International presence: Social Democratic Party
Ethnic Russian composition: 25.7%
Presidents of “post”-communist Estonia:
1) Toomas Hendrik Ilves (Social Democratic Party, raised in USA; no apparent link to old Soviet regime): October 9, 2006-present
2) Arnold Rüütel (“ex”-CPSU, People’s Union of Estonia): October 8, 2001-October 9, 2006
3) Lennart Meri (possible KGB-controlled dissident, Pro Patria Party): October 6, 1992-October 8, 2001
Prime ministers of “post”-communist Estonia:
1) Andrus Ansip (“ex”-CPSU, Estonian Reform Party): April 12, 2005-present
2) Juhan Parts (Res Publica): April 10, 2003-April 12, 2005
3) Siim Kallas (“ex”-CPSU, Estonian Reform Party): January 28, 2002-April 10, 2003
4) Mart Laar (Pro Patria Union): March 25, 1999-January 28, 2002
5) Mart Siimann (Estonian Coalition Party): March 17, 1997-March 25, 1999
6) Tiit Vähi (Estonian Coalition Party): April 17, 1995-March 17, 1997
7) Andres Tarand (“nonpartisan”): November 8, 1994-April 17, 1995
8) Mart Laar (Pro Patria Union): October 21, 1992-November 8, 1994
9) Tiit Vähi (“nonpartisan”): January 29-October 21, 1992 (acting)
10) Edgar Savisaar (“ex”-CPSU, People’s Front of Estonia): August 20, 1991-January 29, 1992
“Ex”-communists in current cabinet of “post”-communist Estonia:
1) Jaak Aab (Komsomol): Minister of Social Affairs
2) Rein Lang (Soviet lawyer): Minister of Justice
3) Kalle Laanet (Agent, Criminal Surveillance Group, Ministry of Interior, Estonian SSR): Minister of Internal Affairs
4) Jürgen Ligi (ex-Soviet apparatchik): Minister of Defense
5) Jaan Õunapuu (ex-Soviet apparatchik): Minister of Regional Affairs
6) Raivo Palmaru (“ex”-CPSU): Minister of Culture
7) Rein Randver (ex-Soviet apparatchik): Minister of Environment
8) Edgar Savisaar (“ex”-CPSU; Minister of Economic Affairs, Estonian SSR; Deputy Chairman/ Chairman, State Planning Committee, Council of Ministers, Estonian SSR): Minister of Economic Affairs and Communications
“Ex”-communist members of the Estonian State Assembly, with dates of CPSU membership and current party affiliation:
1) Olav Aarna: Res Publica, CPSU, 1964-1989
2) Rein Aidma: Estonian Reform Party, CPSU, 1988-1990
3) Toomas Alatalu: Estonian Centre Party, CPSU, 1966-1990
4) Jaak Allik: Estonian People’s Union, CPSU, 1971-1991
5) Arnold Kimber: Estonian Centre Party, CPSU, 1970-1990
6) Mait Klaassen: Estonian Reform Party, CPSU, 1986-1989
7) Mark Soosaar: Social Democratic Party, CPSU, 1976-1989
8) Andres Taimla: Estonian Reform Party, CPSU, 1976-1988
9) Vladimir Velman: Estonian Centre Party; Komsomol, 1967
Parliament of “post”-communist Estonia: Unicameral 101-seat State Assembly
Soviet-era parliament: Supreme Soviet (Council); provisional parliament until 1992
Communist parties of “post”-communist Estonia:
1) Anarcho-Communist Federation
2) Communist Party of Estonia-Communist Party of the Soviet Union (EKP-NLKP): Founded in 1990 by “hardliners” in the old Communist Party of Estonia, the EKP-NLKP, like other openly communist parties in the Baltic states, was “banned” after the August 1991 coup in Moscow. The EKP-NLKP first affiliated with the UCP-CPSU, then with the CPSU (Shenin, 2001). In 2005 the only known member of the EKP-NLKP is Juri Mishin, a leader of the ethnic Russian nationalists in Estonia. Banned to this day, the party apparently only exists in lists of both the European Left Party and CPSU (Shenin, 2001).
3) Estonian Anarcho-Communist Movement “Anti!”
Crypto-communist parties of “post”-communist Estonia:
1) Constitution Party: A small centre-left party that caters to the large ethnic Russian minority of Estonia.
2) Estonian Centre Party (EK): Founded on October 12, 1991 from leftist-populist elements of the People’s Front of Estonia (ER), the EK’s long-time leader has been Edgar Savisaar (“ex”-CPSU), who also co-founded the People’s Front. In December 2004 the EK entered into a protocol of cooperation with the crypto-communist United Russia party, which has probably contributed to the EK’s success within Estonia’s ethnic Russian electorate. The EK is currently the most electorally successful party in Estonia. — From 1980 to 1988, Savisaar worked in various departments of Estonia’s communist government that coordinated the country’s planned economy. In 1987 Savisaar and fellow communist Siim Kallas, then members of the EKP, co-authored the plan Economically Independent Estonia, which called for limited economic autonomy. Between 1988 and 1989, Savisaar was academic director of Mainor, a consultation company. In 1989 Savisaar became Vice-Chair of the Council of Ministers of the Estonian SSR and head of the State Planning Committee. In early 1990 he was Minister of Economy and on April 3 he was appointed Chair of the Council of Ministers. When Estonia declared its independence on August 20, 1991, he became the first prime minister of the “new” Republic of Estonia.
3) Estonian Coalition Party: This “ex”-communist leftist party was founded in 1991 by Jaak Tamm and Tiit Vähi, who also was among the organizers of the People’s Front of Estonia and led the front’s regional committee in Valga County. The Estonian Coalition Party was dissolved in 2001. Born in 1947, Vähi graduated from Tallinn Technical University with a degree in engineering. From his graduation to 1992 he served in several top managerial post with the Valga Trucking Company. In 1989 Vähi was appointed Minister for Transport and Communications, a post that he held until January 1992. Tamm has been the Minister of Industry in Edgar Savisaar’s government.
4) Estonian Left Party (EVP): The EVP traces its origin to the original Communist Party of Estonia (EKP), founded in 1920. In June 1988 CPSU General Secretary Mikhail Gorbachev appointed Vaino Väljas as chair of the EKP, a post that he held until March 1990. Väljas previously served as Soviet ambassador to Venezuela and Nicaragua in 1980 and 1986, respectively. He led the “reformist” majority in the EKP to found the “new” Communist Party of Estonia in 1990. In 1992 the EKP renamed itself as the Estonian Democratic Labor Party (EDLP). Väljas was chair of the EDLP from 1992 to 1995. In July 1995 the EDLP joined the New European Left Forum. In 1997 the party again renamed itself as the Estonian Social Democratic Labor Party (ESDTP). In 2004 ESDTP co-founded the Party of the European Left. The most recent party name change occurred in December 2004, when the ESDTP changed its name to the Estonian Left Party (EVP).
5) Estonian Reform Party: Founded in 1994 by Siim Kallas (“ex”-CPSU), Reform is a “free market” party that has been a member of the Liberal International since 1996. In 1987 Kallas and Edgar Savissar, then members of the Communist Party of Estonia, co-authored the plan Economically Independent Estonia, which called for limited economic autonomy. In 1989 both men became deputies in the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR.
6) People’s Front of Estonia (ER): Founded in 1989 by Edgar Savisaar (“ex”-CPSU, ex-Komsomol) and Marju Lauristin (“ex”-CPSU), the ER was the first national independence movement of its kind in the Soviet Union. During the late 1980s, “perestroika communists” founded national independence movements throughout the Soviet republics to agitate for the withdrawal of their respective country from the Soviet Union.
7) People’s Union of Estonia (ER): Founded on September 29, 1994, as the Estonian Country People’s Party, the populist agrarian ER adopted its current name in 1999. On June 10, 2000 the ER merged with the Estonian Country Union (EML) and the Estonian Party of Pensioners and Families (EPPE), becoming the largest political party in Estonia. Another merger with the New Estonia Party (EUE) in 2003 resulted in a total membership of 9,000. Despite its official nationalism, the party contains former Kolkhoz managers, “ex”-communist party officials, and farmers. In order to attract ethnic Russian voters, the ER established the Russian Association of the People’s Union in 2005. At the European level, the ER is a member of the Union for Europe of the Nations, but is not represented in the European Parliament. — The first chair of the ER was Arnold Rüütel (“ex”-CPSU), who held that post until 2000. Prior to the “collapse” of communism, Rüütel was chair of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR (April 1983-March 1990), chair of the Supreme Council (March-May 1990), as well as a member of the “post”-communist Constitutional Assembly (1991-1992) that drafted the constitution of the “new” Republic of Estonia. The current leader of the ER is Villu Reiljan.
8) Social Democratic Party (SDE): The SDE was formed as the Estonian Social Democratic Party (ESDP) in 1990 through a merger of the Estonian Democratic Labor Party (EDT), Estonian Social Democratic Independence Party (ESI), Russian Social Democratic Party in Estonia (VSPE), and Estonian Socialist Party’s Foreign Association (ESPVK). Founded in 1905, the last is the successor of the exiled Estonian Socialist Workers’ Party (ESTP). In 1996 the ESDP merged with the Estonian Rural Centre Party to form the “Moderates.” In 1999 the Moderates merged with the People’s Party to form the Moderate People’s Party. The People’s Party was a centre-right party formed in 1998 from the fusion of the Peasants’ Party and the People’s Party of Republicans and Conservatives, a group that defected from the Pro Patria Union in 1994. In 2003, the Moderate People’s Party adopted the current name, Social Democratic Party. — The first leader of the SDE (1990-1995) was Marju Lauristin (“ex”-CPSU) who, along with Edgar Savisaar (“ex”-CPSU) co-founded the People’s Front of Estonia in 1988. Marju is the daughter of Johannes Lauristin, also known under the pseudonym Johan Maderik, who in 1940 led the communist insurrection against the Estonian government. When the Soviet Army occupied Estonia in June of that year, Johannes Vares was appointed to head the puppet government as prime minister until August 1940, when Estonia was annexed by the Soviet Union. Karl Säre became first secretary of the Communist Party of Estonia on August 28 and, together with the elder Lauristin, president of the Council of Peoples Commissars (1940-1941), signed a number of new laws that communized Estonia along the lines of the Soviet Union.
Other parties of “post”-communist Estonia:
1) Estonian Christian People’s Party (EKR): The EKR is a Christian democratic party and a member of the European Christian Political Movement.
2) Estonian Independence Party (EI): The EI is a Eurosceptic party, opposing Estonia’s current membership in the European Union.
3) Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (IRPL): This conservative party was founded in 2006 by a merger of two other conservative parties, Pro Patria and Res Publica. The Pro Patria Union was founded on December 2, 1995 by merging the Estonian National Independence Party (ERSP) and the National Coalition Party “Pro Patria” (RKI). Most of the latter’s founding members had been political dissidents during the Soviet era and had participated actively in the movement for regaining national independence in the late 1980s and early 1990s. RKI was founded in September 1992 by the merger of four other parties: Christian Democratic Party, Christian Democratic Union, Conservative People’s Party, and Republicans’ Coalition Party. Res Publica was founded in 1989 as the Union for the Republic-Res Publica. At the European level, IRPL associates with the European People’s Party and the European Democratic Union, while in the European Parliament it associates with the European People’s Party-European Democrats.
Russian military presence: The Russian Armed Forces withdrew from Estonia on August 31, 1994. Estonia, Lithuania, and Latvia joined NATO on March 29, 2004.