Government administration of the Estonian SSR

​After Estonia was re-conquered by the Soviet Union in 1944, the building up of the Soviet power structures resumed. It had started in 1940-1941 and was disrupted by the German occupation. The Soviet Estonian power structure was similar to that of the Soviet Union, where the leading position belonged to the Communist Party (CPSU). The Communist Party of Estonia was fully answerable to Moscow and followed instructions and directions from the centre. The leading organ was the Central Committee of the Estonian Communist Party. Party policies in towns, counties and rural communities were carried out by local party committees, partorgs (party organisers) on a lower level, and by the increasing network of party sub-organisations.

According to the decree of the Communist Party and the central authorities, the Soviet Estonian government consisted until 1946 of people’s commissariats and then of ministries and other central institutions (central governments, committees, etc). The main task of the Soviet Estonian government was to manage daily life in the republic on the basis of instructions from Moscow and the local Communist Party.

The highest legislative power in a Soviet republic was formally the Supreme Soviet of the SSR (the Supreme Presidium between sessions). The Supreme Soviet did not function as a parliamentary institution; its task was simply to confirm the decisions already taken on the party and executive level and approve the texts of the legislation. The Soviet elections were mere formalities, where people cast their vote for only one candidate. They were no more than a decoration for Soviet reality. The candidates were not professional members of parliament, and fulfilled their duties without leaving their main job, always voting for the prepared and approved decisions.

Another significant role in governing the republics belonged to the security organs (from 1954 the KGB), whose task was to constantly keep an eye on society and immediately nip in the bud any possible ‘anti-Soviet’ intentions and activities.

Moscow often employed extra means of control in the republics. Between 1944 and 1947, the Sovetisation of Estonia (and other conquered areas) was carried out via special collegiums or ‘bureaux’, which consisted of the representatives of Moscow and local authorities. The Moscow people were later transferred under the title of ‘Second Secretary’ to the Central Committees of the Communist Party in the republics. All-Soviet control was also implemented via the nomenklatura-system (candidates for major positions in the republics were appointed in Moscow), special reporting, and people informing on one another.

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