Strandman, Otto

​30 November 1875 Vandu village, Undla parish, Viru county – 5 February 1941 Kadrina, Viru county

Statesman and diplomat, one of the first heads of government of the Republic of Estonia (1919)

In 1903 he graduated from the law department at St Petersburg University and worked as a lawyer in Tallinn. He took an active part in the 1905 revolution, then lived as an exile in Switzerland and Russia. After the February revolution in 1917 he was elected a member of the Provincial Assembly, and became chairman. From November 1918 he was Foreign Minister at the Estonian Provisional Government, later Minister of Agriculture. As Prime Minister he formed the first regular government in the Republic of Estonia in May 1919. As head of the left-centrist Labour Party, he took part in the work of the Constituent Assembly and the four parliaments; he was also a minister in several governments. As Finance Minister in 1924 he initiated a new economic policy, which led to Estonian economic integration in Europe. In 1927 took up the post of Estonian Ambassador in Warsaw. In 1929–31 he was State Elder. After that he served eight years as ambassador in Paris. In 1939 he returned home and retired to his farm. In order to avoid KGB persecution he committed suicide.

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