Teemant, Jaan

​24 September 1872, Vigala, Läänemaa County – July 1941 (day and place unknown)

One of the most prominent Estonian politicians in the 1920s and 1930s, twice held the office of State Elder

Teemant graduated in 1901 from the law department of St Petersburg University. He began taking an active part in political life in 1904, when he was elected to the Tallinn City Council. He participated in the 1905 revolution, supporting the nationalist-radical faction, and was forced to flee to Switzerland. He was sentenced to death by proxy, but returned to Estonia in 1908. The state of war ended, and the death sentence was not carried out. From 1908 to 1911 Teemant was in prison, and in 1911-1913 in exile in the Arkhangelsk province. After returning to Estonia, Teemant worked as a sworn advocate in Tallinn. He returned to politics in 1917. Between 1917 and 1918, he was a member of the Provincial Assembly and from 1919 to 1934, a member of the Constituent Assembly and Riigikogu; in 1925-27 and 1932 Jaan Teemant was the State Elder. He was a leader of the right-wing Farmers’ Union, but joined the opposition after his fellow unionist Konstantin Päts organised a coup d’état in 1934. He was one of the four former State Elders (besides Jaan Tõnisson, Ants Piip and Juhan Kukk) who compiled a memorandum, demanding that Päts’s authoritarian government restore democracy. Teemant was arrested in 1940 by the Soviet occupation powers and in 1941 he was sentenced to ten years of imprisonment and five years of exile, for „fighting against the revolutionary movement “. The circumstances of his death are not known.

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