The Provincial Assembly declared itself the highest authority in Estonia

to map

15. November 1917

Even though by November, majority of Estonia had peacefully gone under the lead of the Soviets, Estonian Provincial Assembly, similarly to several other zemstvo-governments, decided not to acknowledge it.

In a reply to this, on November 12 (25), the Executive Committee of the Estonian Soviets  decided to abolish Estonian Provincial Assembly, and announced the elections of the Estonian Provisional Government at the end of January, 1918.

Nonetheless, the Estonian nationalists decided to gather the Provisional Assembly, to discuss whether to declare themselves as the highest power in Estonia, or not. The Executive Committee was aware of this plan, however, they took no action, as they wished to abolish the Assembly after the meeting had started.

On November 15 (28), the Estonian Provincial Assembly met at 16.00, and in few minutes it passed the decision to gather the Estonian Provisional Government. The Provincial Assembly declared itself the highest authority in Estonia. All decisions about Estonia, passed without the acceptance of the Provincial Assembly, were declared negligible.

A permit was given to the board of the Provincial Assembly and the Committee of Elders, to pass urgent regulations and orders. Also, all Estonian servicemen were invited to defend their homeland from Bolshevik and German invasion.

At the same time, a number of workers and soldiers (see image) gathered in front of Toompea castle, and pressured the Assembly to finish the meeting early, which they did in 16:25. Departing delegates had to exit the castle through angry and abusive mob, that soon turned into a gauntlet. Even though the board of the Provincial Assembly and the Committee of Elders had received the mandate to declare the independence of Estonia, autonomy for Estonia was sought in federative Russia in December 1917.

Sources: Eesti ajalugu. VI, Vabadussõjast taasiseseisvumiseni. Tartu: Ilmamaa, 2005
Õie Elango, Ants Ruusmann ja Karl Siilivask. Eesti maast ja rahvast: Maailmasõjast maailmasõjani. Tallinn: Olion, 1998
Eesti ajalugu: kronoloogia. Tallinn: Olion, 2007
Eesti ajaloo atlas. Tallinn: Avita, 2006.

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