Uluots, Jüri

13 January 1890 Kirbla parish, Lääne county – 9 January 1945 Stockholm

The last lawful prime minister of the pre-Soviet occupation Republic of Estonia, bearer of Estonian legal continuity as prime minister in the duties of president, 1940-1945

Uluots graduated in 1916 from St Petersburg University as a lawyer. He worked for a long time at Tartu University, and founded the science of Estonian legal history.  From 1920 to 1940 and from 1942 to 1944 he lectured at Tartu, being from 1927 professor in ordinary, from 1924 to 1931 dean of the law faculty and from 1931 to 1934, deputy vice-chancellor.

He took an active part in political life, as a member of the right-wing agrarian party, the Union of Farmers. From 1919 to 1920 he was a member of the Estonian Constituent Assembly, and 1920-26 and 1929–32 a member of parliament.
During the so-called Silent Era he worked with Konstantin Päts; from 1937 to 1940 he was chairman of the central leadership of the only party, the Fatherland Union. He was one of the main authors of the draft constitution (1937) that legitimised Päts’s regime, and a designer of the authoritarian state order. From 1938 to 1940 he was a member of the lower house of parliament, and in 1938–39 its chairman. After the so-called Mutual Assistance Pact and the establishment of Soviet bases in autumn 1939 he was prime minister in the new government. In 1940–41 he was in hiding from the Soviet regime; as the last lawful prime minister after June 1940, the bearer of Estonian legal continuity as prime minister in the duties of president. The German occupying power did not recognise his status. Under German pressure, in February 1944 Uluots expressed his public support for the general mobilisation of those born between 1904 and 1923, thus helping this to succeed. On 18 September 1944 he appointed the government of the Republic of Estonia under the leadership of deputy prime minister Otto Tief. He escaped to Sweden, and died of gastric cancer. The Uluots-Tief government is part of the continuity of the Republic of Estonia.

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