Riastas, Otto Iur’evich
(in Estonian, Otto Rästas). Born Feb. 21 (Mar. 5), 1890, in Revel District, now the village soviet of Kehtna, Rapla Raion, Estonian SSR; died Jan. 27, 1938. Figure in the Russian and Estonian revolutionary movements. Member of the Communist Party from 1912.
The son of a peasant, Riastas was employed as a worker in Revel (now Tallinn) from 1907. Harrassed by the police, he moved to Narva in 1913, where he worked on the editorial staff of the newspaper Kiir (Ray). Riastas was exiled to Ekaterinoslav (now Dnepropetrovsk), then to Kharkov, and in 1915 to Tsaritsyn (now Volgograd).
After the February Revolution of 1917, Riastas became a member of the first Executive Committee of the Tsaritsyn Soviet. In May 1917 he returned to Revel and helped prepare and carry out the October Revolution in Estonia. In 1919 he was a member of the government of the Estland Labor Commune. From 1920 to 1924 he conducted underground party work in bourgeois Estonia, and from 1920 to 1938 he was a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Estonia. From 1924 to 1926 he was executive secretary of the Secretariat of the Communist Parties of the Baltic Countries attached to the Executive Committee of the Comintern. In 1924, Riastas became secretary of the Estonian Section of the Central Committee of the ACP(B). In 1928 he also became secretary of the Estonian Section of the Comintern, and in 1935, executive editor of the Estonian newspaper Edasi, published in Leningrad. Riastas is the author of works on the history of the Estonian working-class movement.