How the Treaty of Tartu came to be

Noorsõdurite marssimine ümber maja Tartus, kus peeti rahukõnelusi. Tegu oli omamoodi psühholoogilise rünnakuga.

New recruits marched day and night around the building where the peace talks were held. It was a psychological tactic of sorts.

Historian Ago Pajur recalls the story of how the young soldiers were ordered to walk around the town. “The decision was probably taken after the peace talks had ground to a halt,” he muses. “Both sides refused to make concessions." The Estonians wanted to show the Russians that they had a formidable army, daunting them with their numbers. To do so, Commander of the 2nd Division Colonel Viktor Puskar gave the order to the Tartu Schoolboys' Battalion to march around the town so as to constantly pass by the conference building on Aia Street (now Vanemuine Street) and Veski Street, where the Russian delegation was staying. "The battalion consisted of 700-800 men, guns pressed to their shoulders, some even machine guns, all the while with a military band playing out in front – that must have been a sight to behold," says Pajur. They marched for three hours straight.

Storyteller: Ago Pajur
Used sources and references:

10 seika, kuidas sündis Tartu rahu. Õhtuleht, 02.02.2020.

Related objects

Site of the Treaty of Tartu

This building is situated at Vanemuise 35 in the centre of Tartu. It is of great importance in the history of Estonia: it was here that the Tartu Peace Treaty between Estonia and Russia was signed, ending the War of Independence.

The building was constructed in 1859 as the residence of one Baron Nolcken before being purchased by the Russian Ministry of War in the late 19th century. Among other things, the building accommodated the Red Army Latvian Riflemen. Following the declaration of independence it was acquired by the Supreme Court of Estonia, and the Treaty of Tartu was signed there on 2 February 1920. During the German occupation the building housed the local Sicherheitsdienst (Security Service) and Sicherheitspolizei (Security Police). The building was badly damaged during World War II, with only the outer walls and vaulted cellar surviving. After the war it was restored and turned into a vocational school; today an upper secondary school operates there.

The façade is adorned with a memorial tablet dedicated to the Treaty of Tartu in both Estonian and Russian.