VIII plenary session of the Estonian Communist Party

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21. March 1950

In the beginning of 1950, Stalinist repressions hit the leadership of Estonian SSR and cultural elite. On February 20, the Central Committee of Communist Party had passed a secret decision on "Shortcomings and Mistakes in the Work of the Central Committee of the Estonian Communist Party", which severely criticized the work of current leadership and accused them of bourgeois nationalism.

On the VIII plenary session of the Estonian Communist Party (ECP), taking place from March 21-26, number of these accusations were made public and several speakers, put up by Moscow, especially Max Laosson, accused the majority of party's leadership of bourgeois nationalism, of sloppiness, carelessness and inactivity. Nikolai Karotamm, the leader of the party, was replaced with Ivan (Johannes) Käbin, a Russian Estonian, who stayed in that position until 1978. Majority of the leadership were not only dismissed, but also condemned of anti-Soviet actions and had to serve long prison sentences, which were annulled during Krushchev's "thaw".

The so called "June communists" and also people who had been sentenced during Estonia's first independence and republic, found themselves in prison again. In addition to the red activists, also intellectuals and other culture and education minded people were attacked, being blamed for not dedicating enough to the idealism of the social realism and using old, republic era styles and ideas in their work. Number of university teachers lost their jobs, for example about 200 lecturers in the University of Tartu were charged, and 100 students were expelled. With the March deportation and the March Plenary, Stalinist repressions had reached its peak.

Source: Eesti ajalugu: kronoloogia. 2007.

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