Bolshevik decision on the nationalization of estate land in Estonia

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24. November 1917

In November 1917, the Executive Committee of the Estonian Workers and Soldiers Soviet was formed as the highest authority in Estonia.

At first, also the local war- and revolutionary committees held a high position, but they ended their work by January 1918. Jaan Alvet (see image) became the head of the Executive Committee of Estonia.

In the committees, Bolsheviks continued to work together with left-winged Esers (members of the Socialist Revolutionary Party). In Estonia, the Estonian Red Guards defended the Bolshevik power, which by the end of 1918 had drafted up to 5,000 men.
The new government swiftly began to implement the Decree on Land, passed on the Second Congress.

On November 14 (December 7) 1917, all land previously belonging to private owners, military or church, was declared to be public property, in order to turn them into collective farms. With this, more that 2 million hectares of land came to state use. In some isolated cases, this takeover created conflicts, for example, three Tallinn Red Guards were killed in Püssi. Until the German occupation, 75% of private estate land was confiscated, worker's authority was established in 85% of them. As the Bolsheviks did not want to hand out the land, they lost the support of the farmers-without-land, an extremely important support group.

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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