Saaremaa Uprising of 1919

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Saaremaa Uprising of 1919


an uprising of Estonian workers on the islands of Saaremaa and Muhu (Moon) in early 1919 after the fall of Soviet power in Estonia.

The uprising began in response to a mobilization of the army that was carried out by the Provisional Government of bourgeois Estonia for purposes of anti-Soviet intervention. Representatives of the draftees called on the people to revolt. On Feb. 16, 1919, in the village of Kuivastu on the island of Muhu an officer who was carrying out the mobilization and two government officials were killed. A peasant army of more than 1,000 persons was formed. The bourgeoisie retained power only in the district capital of Kuressaare (since 1952, Kingisepp).

The insurgents elected a staff to direct military operations. Working-people’s committees were organized in the volosti (small rural districts), and commandants (commissars) were appointed. Among the leaders of armed units were A. Koit, A. Sepp, and A. Ohak. There were no Communist organizations on the islands, and the uprising remained isolated. The main insurgent force besieged Kuressaare but could not take it. A punitive detachment landed on Muhu on February 18 and on Saaremaa on February 20. As many as 300 people were killed or tortured during the brutal suppression of the uprising, and more than 100 insurgents were sentenced to prison or hard labor.


Istoriia Estonskoi SSR, vol. 3. Tallinn, 1974.
Sunila, A. Saaremaa töörahva ülestôus 1919 a. Tallinn, 1954.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.