Dedicated to the 100 million victims of communism worldwide.
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National Exhibit
National Exhibit
Johannes Vares

Vares (1890-1946) studied medicine and served as military doctor in the Russian army during the First World War and subsequently in the national forces during the Estonian War of Independence. During the 1920s and 1930s, Vares had his own medical practice in Pärnu. He wrote several collections of poetry under the pen-name Johannes Barbarus and became known as a vocal left-wing critic of the Päts regime.

When the Soviet military occupation of Estonia began in June 1940, Soviet Politburo member Andrei Zhdanov was dispatched to Tallinn to oversee the Sovietization of country. Zhdanov chose Vares to be the new prime minister of the pro-Soviet government that President Päts was forced to swear into office on 21 June 1940. Subsequently, Vares joined the Communist Party. After Estonia’s incorporation into the USSR in August, Vares was bumped upstairs to the largely ceremonial post of Chairman of the Presidium of the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian S.S.R. (equivalent to head of state.

With the Nazi German invasion in 1941, Vares evacuated to Russia where he was engaged in propaganda tasks during the duration of the war. He returned to Estonia in 1944 together with the Red Army and resumed his post. In 1946, he committed suicide in his official residence in Tallinn. His motive and the circumstances remain a matter of debate.

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Location:  Northeastern Europe
Capital:  Tallinn
Communist Rule:  1940-1941 / 1944-1991
Status:  Independence restored - 20.08.91
Victims of Communism: