Eenpalu, Kaarel

(Einbund, Karl before the name was Estonianised in 1935)

28 May 1888 Vesneri parish, Tartu County – 27 or 28 January 1942 Kirov oblast

Estonian statesman, one of the essential people in establishing and developing the authoritarian regime of Konstantin Päts in the second half of the 1930s

From 1908 to 1914 he studied law at the University of Tartu, and graduated from Moscow university. In 1914–18 he was an artillery officer in WW I (1917–18 in the Estonian national armed forces). In 1918–19 he participated in the Estonian War of Independence, was head of the battalion of schoolboys in Tartu and later commander of the artillery battery (2nd lieutenant).

Already at school Eenpalu was active in various societies and in the press. From 1910 to 1912 and in 1915 he belonged to the editorial staff of the daily Postimees and in 1918 he edited the paper; in 1920 he was editor in chief of the Tallinna Teataja, and in 1924 of Kaja. He initially belonged to the People’s Party, but changed sides in 1923 and joined the right-wing Farmers’ Unions. He was involved in politics throughout the period of Estonian independence; in 1919-1940 he was a delegate of the Constituent Assembly and then belonged to all the subsequent parliaments. In the period 1926-1934 was intermittently the chairman of the Riigikogu.

In 1920, 1921–26 and 1934–38 Eenpalu was Minister of Internal Affairs, in which capacity he essentially founded the Estonian police. In 1932 he was briefly the State Elder, in 1934–38 Deputy Prime Minister, in 1938–39 Prime Minister.

From 1934 Eenpalu was the closest ally of Konstantin Päts and Johan Laidoner, one of the executors of the so-called Silent Era and an ideologue of national unity. After Estonia was forced to sign the pact on military bases with the Soviet Union in autumn 1939, Eenpalu’s government stepped down in favour of a new and broader government headed by Jüri Uluots. In 1939–40 he was director general of the state enterprise Estonian Phosphorite. After Estonia was occupied, he was arrested in July 1940, and died in Vjatka prison camp in Kirov oblast.

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