Naissaar islnd

Naissaar Island.

Naissaar 1917-1918 flag

The Naissaar Island Reububic's flage of 1917-1918.

The Soviet Republic of Soldiers and Fortress-Builders of Naissaar (also known by some as 'The Naissaar Island Republic ') was a revolutionary state that during the First World War controlled the Estonian island of Naissaar (Swedish: Nargö; German: Nargen) in 1917-1918 for a brief period after the October Revolution and prior to the Occupation of Estonia by German Empire. 18.6 km²

The Naissaare Nõukogude Vabariik (or Soviet Republic of Soldiers and Fortress-Builders of Naissaar in English.) was a communist state in northern Estonia that lasted between 1917 and 1918, on the 18.6 km² island of Naissaar and a few near-by islandetts and costal enclaves.

The Russians built a new fort during the First World War. Estonia acquired some autonomy in April 1917 by a decree of the Russian provisional government, though Estonia remained under the suzerainty of the Russian Empire. However, after the October Revolutions the Bolshevik rebels suspended Estonia's provisional government, The Maapäev.

In December 1917, a group of Russian sailors commandeered Naissaar and proclaimed an independent "socialist republic", known as the Soviet Republic of Soldiers and Fortress-Builders of Nargen, under the leadership of Stepan Petrichenko. The Russian sailors, numbering about 80-90 men, formed a government and levied taxes on the local population.

At this point the new Estonian government appealed to the German army for assistance. The "republic" ceased to exist two days later, on February 26, 1918, when German forces occupied the island, causing the Russians to flee. The sailors fled to Kronstadt, where Petrichenko came to play an important role in the Kronstadt Uprising. After the departure of the German troops the Estonian Provisional Government executed forty Bolshevik prisoners of war here in February 1919. The island then became part of the new Estonian Republic in 1920.


On November 5, 1917, the October Revolution spread from Estonia to Russia. 28 November (15 November) 1917 the Maapäev (Provincial Diet) refused to recognize the new Bolshevik rule and proclaimed itself the supreme legal authority in Estonia. At the time, the most important fortification system in the area, called Peter the Great's Naval Fortress, was located at the narrowest point of Gulf of Finland. It included heavy coastal artillery batteries in the area of Estonia's capital Tallinn (Reval) and the nearby island of Naissaar. At the time, anarcho-syndicalism Stepan Petrichenko was transferred to Tallinn. In December 1917, the revolutionary sailors of the Russian battleship Petropavlovsk of 1914 took power on the small island of Naissaar and proclaimed an independent Soviet republic there.

The Russian sailors, numbering about 80-90, formed the island's government. The Republic of Estonia formally declared independence on February 23, 1918, only to be forcibly occupied and annexed by the German Empire. Between February and November 1918, the Germans - who had already occupied the Estonian islands (Hiiumaa, Muhu and Saaremaa) in 1917 - also occupied Tallinn and the rest of Estonia, for the time being putting an end to both the Republican and the Soviet regimes.

On February 26, 1918, the government of Naissaar evacuated from the island. 450 people lived on the island during 1934, of whom 291 were Estonians, most of whom in turn were in the Estonian army. The population of Swedish fishermen preferred to migrate to Sweden in 1944 rather than to meet a second Soviet ockupation.

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