Johannes Vares

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Johannes Vares
Johannes Vares portrait.jpg
Johannes Vares in 1931
Prime Minister of Estonia
In office
21 June 1940 – 25 August 1940
PresidentKonstantin Päts
Preceded byJüri Uluots
Succeeded byPosition abolished (de facto)
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR
In office
25 August 1940 – 29 November 1946
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byEduard Päll
Personal details
Born(1890-01-12)12 January 1890
Kiisa, Viljandi County, Estonia (then Russian Empire)
Died29 November 1946(1946-11-29) (aged 56)
Tallinn, Estonia (then Soviet Union)
Political partyCPSU
Other political
Communist Party of Estonia
Alma materUniversity of Kyiv
ProfessionPoet, writer, doctor, gynecologist

Johannes Vares (12 January 1890 [O.S. 31 December 1889] – 29 November 1946), also known professionally as Johannes Vares Barbarus, was an Estonian and Soviet poet, medical doctor, and politician.

Vares was born in a farmer family in the village of Kiisa, near Viljandi, Estonia (then part of Russian Empire). He received secondary education at Pärnu Gymnasium, and in 1910–1914 studied medicine at the University of Kyiv (present-day Ukraine).

Vares served as a military physician in World War I, and after that as a military physician for the Estonian Army during the Estonian War of Independence (1918–1920). He was awarded the Estonian Cross of Liberty for the participation.

In the 1920s, Vares started working as a medical doctor in Pärnu. He subsequently became a well-known poet as well as a radical socialist, using the pen name Johannes Barbarus.

When Soviet troops occupied Estonia in June 1940, Andrei Zhdanov forced president Konstantin Päts to appoint Vares as prime minister of a communist-dominated puppet government. Päts resigned in July 1940, and Vares formally took over most presidential duties under the title of "Prime Minister in duties of the President" for a few weeks. When the puppet government declared Estonia a "soviet socialist republic", Vares remained nominal head of state as chairman of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR. Vares headed the delegation to Moscow on August 6 1940 that petitioned the Stalinist government to incorporate Estonia into the Soviet Union — an act that has tainted him as a traitor to the majority of Estonian people.[1] On 12 September 1940, Vares became member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia, soon after the party had been merged into the All-Union Communist Party (bolsheviks) of the USSR.

Following the German invasion of Estonia in 1941, Vares fled to Soviet Russia, where he lived in exile[2] from 1941 to 1944, until the Soviets reconquered Estonia.

On 20 April 1944, the Electoral Committee of the Republic of Estonia (the institution specified in the Constitution for electing the Acting President of the Republic) held a clandestine meeting in Tallinn. The participants included Jüri Uluots, the last Prime Minister of Estonia before the Soviet occupation, the substitute for Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Johan Holberg, the chairman of the Chamber of Deputies Otto Pukk, the second deputy vice-chairman of the National Council Alfred Maurer, and State judge Mihkel Klaassen. The Committee declared Päts' appointment of Vares as Prime Minister had been illegal. Accordingly, it held that Uluots had assumed the President's duties from 21 June 1940 onwards.[3]

Since the end of the Soviet Union, Estonia has maintained that all laws passed by the Vares government were void, since the upper house of Parliament had been dissolved soon after the Soviet occupation and was never reconvened. The 1938 constitution required that all laws pass both chambers before being promulgated. This included the electoral law under which the blatantly rigged elections of 14–15 July 1940 were conducted. It was this election that produced the so-called "People's Riigikogu" which declared Estonia a Soviet republic and "requested" to join the Soviet Union.

After returning to Estonia, Vares came under investigation by the Soviet NKVD for his activities in the Estonian War of Independence (1918–1920). He committed suicide in presidential residence in Kadriorg, Tallinn, in November 1946.[4]

See also[edit]

Citations and references[edit]

  1. ^ Miljan 2004, p. 486.
  3. ^ L. Mälksoo, Professor Uluots, the Estonian Government in Exile and the Continuity of the Republic of Estonia in International Law, Nordic Journal of International Law, Volume 69, Number 3 / March, 2000
  4. ^ Duevel, Christian (28 June 1971). "Estonian Party Journal Reverts to "Un-Marxist" Terminology on Stalin's "Personality Cult"". Blinken Open Society Archives. Retrieved 8 September 2021.

Cited sources[edit]

  • Miljan, Toivo (2004). Historical Dictionary of Estonia. Maryland, USA: Scarecrow Press. ISBN 0-8108-4904-6.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Office created
Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR
Succeeded by