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Estonian Social Democratic Workers' Party: Wikis


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The Estonian Social Democratic Workers' Party (est. 1917) was a political party in Estonia. This party, founded on the platforms of patriotism, Estonian independence, and social justice, wrote the first Estonian constitution.


Estonian Social Democratic Workers Unity

Social democracy in Estonia was born at the beginning of the 20th century. Estonian social democracy was influenced by West-European ideas of social democracy and Russian ideals too. During 1905 revolution social democratic ideas spread and Estonian social democrats formed their party in summer 1905 in Tartu.

At this time, the party was named the Estonian Social Democratic Workers Unity (Eesti Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Tööliste Ühendus). Social democrats were most persecuted party during the czarist era. Their newspapers were closed, their politicians were forced to emigrate (Peeter Speek and Mihkel Martna) or prosecute in underground (August Rei).

Estonian Social Democratic Association

In 1917, when parties were again allowed, social democrats formed Estonian Social Democratic Association (Eesti Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Ühendus). Their views were patriotic and they fought for Estonian independence and social justice. They changed their name into Estonian Social Democratic Workers Party (Eesti Sotsiaaldemokraatlik Tööliste Partei) and they won the elections of Estonian constitutive body (1/3 votes and 41/120 mandates).

The Estonian Social Democratic Workers Party wrote the first Estonian constitution and solved the rural problem in the democratic way. Their Party changed their name again: Estonian Socialist Workers Party (Eesti Sotsialistlik Tööliste Partei) (below). They were in the power in 1924-1925 and 1928-1929. In 1925 they joined with Estonian Independent Socialist Workers Party (Eesti Isesisev Sotsialistlik Töölispartei) to form Estonian Socialist Workers' Party.

Estonian Socialist Workers' Party

They won the elections in 1926 (24/100) and in 1929 (25/100). The party was well known in Estonia, social democrats was one of the biggest parties in Estonia. They had contacts with other social democrats in Europe, the party was a member of the Labour and Socialist International. They made a cultural autonomy law and gave their chance of the promotions in cultural and educational life.

Party Split

The party split into three wings in 1934. Party's left wing young socialists Nigol Andresen and Maksim Unt were expelled out of party. The right wing, ahead August Rei and Oskar Gustavson, started co-operaring with Konstatin Päts's regime.

Centre wing under Johannes Mihkelson leadership tried to reconcile the party's wings, however these attempts failed.


The party was closed in 1935 because of the end of democratic era in Estonia. The Party's leadership however tried to operate semi-legally.

In 1940, the Party ceased to exist entirely. After the beginning of the Soviet occupation during World War II they escaped to Sweden and continued their work in emigration in Stockholm under the name of Estonian Socialist Party's Foreign Association (Eesti Sotsialistliku Partei Välismaakoondis).

See also



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