By 1993, most of the "Russian" military units had left Saaremaa with technology. Their more than fifty years of presence are only reminiscent of broken barracks and bizarre reinforced concrete buildings. This ended the coexistence of the islanders and the Soviet power structure in a clearly overlot land.

Unfortunately, history and folk science are often confronted with the fact that a person tends to forget the events of the recent past. Often, oblivion falls into the manifestations and experiences of healthy long periods. That is why it is important to capture, at every possible opportunity, the events that seem to be at first sight.

The present article deals with the presence of Soviet troops in the western part of Saaremaa - mainly in the territory of the present Kihelkonna, Lümanda and Kärla municipalities - their activities and contacts with the civilian population. Bruno Pao and Endel Prooses have also dealt with the same topics, who have discussed the location of military parts in Saaremaa by type of force.

In this field of research, new and military source materials are far and relatively inaccessible. Thus, this letter is mainly based on the memories of the locals and former military personnel, mostly collected in 1997-1998. a. fieldwork. To a lesser extent, it is based on archival and other materials.

This subject approach is at risk of subjectivity, as the number of respondents remains scarce to draw statistical conclusions. It is to be hoped that the deficit will sometimes be compensated by very colorful events and that in future, the more detailed questionnaires will be found by the parties involved and by the researchers.


West Saaremaa is one of the few areas in Estonia that has received the Soviet war machine "taste". from the beginning to the end. Relatives had been acquainted with the Red Army before the war began. The "base agreement" of 1939 defined the coast here as a strategically important region and started the construction of coastal protection batteries and airports.

Thus, at the beginning of 1940, military personnel and techniques were seen moving on the roads. The battle equipment was assembled and installed by Soviet technicians under a great mystery. A local free labor force was also hired for building auxiliary buildings, paying a fairly good hourly fee. These local villagers could never guess that in the coming years this would be ...

In 1940, the first resettlement of families who had lost their bases also took place. 1939 According to the guidelines for the valuation of disposable equipment developed in April, the buildings, apple trees, berry bushes and the like were compensated for the departures. It seems that this system did not work - or it could not work properly. Even in the 1950s, many former owners or their heirs had cases against the army.

However, the habitual habits of the islanders remained largely irrelevant to the construction of Soviet Coast Guard batteries and the presence of military personnel. Therefore, attitudes with a political undertone were mostly absent, soldiers talked to talk, and attended military cinema sessions, although in some places there has been talk of a ban on such interaction and a threat of fines from the Republic of Estonia.

During the first summer of war, the troops went fast with their departure from Estonia. Most military equipment was introduced, but a number of consumable assets were left behind. Various apparatuses left by the villagers in Undo and many women received a number of signal flags for the skirt.
With the battery in the heath, the sailors burned anything that could not be taken along. The villagers who wanted to go back to the manor house to go to the army "armor", but are late - already burned.

There was a great war ahead and no one could think that the separation from the eastern neighbor's war machine was lousy and hardly lasting three years. By the end of 1944, Saaremaa was once again in the possession of the Red Army. After the transition of the front, he found himself in the middle of a large military camp. A large part of the front was left, but Kihelkonna, for example, was "full of soldiers"; Multi-colored dressers were "niggy onions". "Black" - Navy and "gray" - infantry were housed in different houses across the hamlet. Mostly, the apartment was either confiscated in houses or dwellings that were treated as a non-owner property - i.e. in the houses of the deportees and those who fled to the west. Often, a suitable dwelling was simply chosen and the residents were asked to vacate the rooms.

By that time, the attitude towards the soldiers had changed. There were more of them and they seemed no longer as guests. The 1941 deportation and war events made people cautious. In the hexagon, the girls didn't dare to cow alone on the pasture because they knew the rape of women by the front soldiers. After hearing about the rabies and thefts, the villagers began to lock in.

Among other things, the law of war and the superiority of the army was witnessed by the massive ceasefire and the air purification.

The construction of military facilities became more and more active. With the regulations of the Council of People's Commissars of the ESSR, large areas of land in the Undva, Kogula, Kärla, Jaagarahu and Papisaare ports and the entire island of Vilsandi are transferred to the Baltic Sea fleet. At the same time, the Jaagarahu mine retained the right to dispose of the railways and fishermen could visit the Vesiloo Island under Vilsandi.

These decisions were affected to varying degrees by local residents. The bitterest fate fell on families whose homes remained so-called. who were forced to leave. There were cases when the abandoned house did not receive compensation and was forced to find a new home for itself. How many houses went into the army or were broken down as "non-family property" (actually homes that were empty in the war squadron) can no longer be identified.

However, he still had to live in the new circumstances. The girls of Kihelkonna slowly began to visit the soldiers' dance festivals, because there was good music there. Of course, the local boys looked at it with obvious disdain. The secret was trading with a soldier's willow and equipment; there was a relationship on the personal surface.

The naval electric generator was the only power source in the small town. This led to a stream of military personnel and, if necessary, a dance floor. Local residents could visit the "butter-pipe" store (military trade), which was better equipped than the civilian store.

The first parts of the Border Guard troops arrived in Saaremaa at the turn of 1944 and 1945, but the Border Guard System was not yet in place, and the Special Infantry Division completed special infantry units. The situation began to change in the autumn of 1946. Regulation No. 58 the canonization of a single border guard organization on Estonian territory.

All the islands in the border zone included the Gulf of Finland and the Gulf of Riga and the coastal areas of mainland Estonia. The same document also defined the rules of residence and movement in the border zone. For example, only a passport issued by the militia authorities of the Ministry of the Interior with a local Coast Guard note and stamped with a special seal could move in the coastal zone. The local authorities were required, in cooperation with the Border Guard, to set up border zone markings on the beaches. People were forbidden to take temporary residents, etc., into the apartment. The fishermen had to register all the vessels, and the procedures set in the ports provided for permanent guarding and encircling the territory. Boats were locked and paddles were kept in a separate storage room.

The Decree of 18 December of the same year provided for the leasing of buildings in the Leningrad district border guard free of charge in Kõruse, Ranna and Pidula villages, Kihelkonna township and Vilsandi island. The construction of cordons and communication systems and regular patrol began. So a part of the western border of the Soviet Union was finally set up, which worked almost unchanged for the next forty years.

At the same time, the infantrymen who have performed the border guard task have been demobilized so far. Some of these soldiers and officers did not return to their homeland. Many found a suitable partner from Saaremaa; The previous profession of officer and command of the Russian language could also provide a leading position in civilian life.

By the beginning of the 1950s, the life of Westerners had begun to stabilize. Numerous military units in the end of the war had diminished considerably: either completed or retreated behind the boundaries of built bases. Life had acquired the norms of peacetime, accustomed to border guard and collective farm order. The activities of the military were no longer directly affected by solid life. The eye drew with the individual bypasses of military cars and the troublemakers moving in the small town. Crews bought milk and fish from the beach from the village. The sea was also lighted by powerful floodlights, which moved from the beach to the beach on a chart and created a white evening light.

It might have been worth mentioning the store at Kogula airport on landing at Vilsandi, on the Tagamõisa polygon, or at the foot and tank ditches in Undva. Although the latter severely disrupted local roads, the cost of repairing them, however, was abundantly paid to the village council by the army.

The new larger army and military bustle in the western part of Saaremaa began in 1951, when almost five years of railway construction began. During this relatively short period of time, quite a lot of working rail sections, railroad houses, station building and other buildings were completed.

Military builders were based in the village of Viki near Kihelkonna, and a large intersection of roads was also planned, from where the railway network is still observable. There was initially a problem with the accommodation of military personnel, and the families of the officers still had the scheme: "Take the lodging ...". This was the case in most of the farms around. The owners had always been against it, because the money was scarce and the rent gave a substantial extra income.

Such large-scale construction required a lot of technology and labor, and so the local roads were busy. Ready-made sleepers and constructional raw materials were transported through Roomassaare and Jaagarahu harbors. The building material needed was carried by a sawmill belonging to the military. On-site sleepers and guns were also mounted and then transported to the lines. The local boys liked to see the soldiers struggle and live with it. One of them fell down from the tip of the bulkhead and got a big mistake.

As usual, the Soviet army used less educated and non-native militants in construction. Even western islands have even talked about forced laborers who had worked in the Ironworks, Caucasians who had evaded the war, and even men who were "blood and wonders of blood". In any case, builders have been predominantly bullshit. There was no discipline, the construction troops were afraid, and that was the reason, because even in the neighborhood, an 80-year-old woman was raped.

In the same military town, there were also non-constructional troops, where discipline was prevalent and with whom it was very good. Farmers were hired to wash their laundry, soldiers helped with housework and so on. There was no particular shortage of anything contained in the military warehouse.

Relatives have a certain stranger to the southern appearance. The blood of the pullman and the stranger who speaks inconceivable language can cause discomfort, especially if it is supported by legends of soldiers who, "masks in the head", were pushing girls behind. This attitude lasted until recently, when "missiles" and border guards were distinguished in the same spirit. Border Guards, under the auspices of the KGB, mostly recruited nurseries with secondary education from metropolises and the Baltic republics, who were much more likely to be potential partners for communication.

Generally speaking, the great disorder of the railroad track was a big mess: sunburned, materials shipped away. There was also a train crash, where wagons that had landed on Taavi Hill killed a man and rolled out on their own.
The author has no information on how far the construction was achieved. However, wagons with wagons from the Jaagarahu harbor to Karujärvi were taken to stop work. The work was finished so unexpectedly that when the Undvas were still being built, the road was already collected in Sõrve.

The railway construction of that time may have been a bit of a benefit. All the houses in Kihelkonna township, which were built using ligers, are definitely long-lasting, not to mention the long straight hard-bottom sections that were built on the railways of that time.

In 1956, an infantry unit, formerly located in Karujärv, was located in the vacated railway buildings in the village of Viki. Despite the fact that conscripts stole from time to time, and the apple orchard was emptied, the villagers did well with them. They visited the military shop, went to the cinema and shared dance events. Even "Kihelkonna" girls even visited these "dances".

Mostly the soldiers were seen as a phenomenon "that is just", and this relationship seems to have been mostly positive. The thefts and jumps of young conscripts may have been comical. In Lümanda, the soldier came to the room during the evening, talked a little bit and then started to dance to the dance of a full-bellied. The man seemed suspicious, and when he went to the front he found another man who tried to let home beer in the shadow of noise. On the other hand, the "Russians" offered stolen lingerie from their own yard to exchange beer for the hostess. Homemade beer was a "head-on" drink that was found in many families, and what the soldiers would do there.

As military technology progressed and the Khrushchev melt arrived, the Soviet defense concept was reconsidered. The hand reached the missile age. The need for coastal defense batteries and local airports was thus lost in Saaremaa. The same trend had already been shown by the abandonment of the rail network. Gradually, the dedicated special areas were handed over to civilian authorities. The focus was on air and sea surveillance.

The overall military image of West Saaremaa in the 1960s was approximately the following. Karujärv remained the largest base, where some 300 tanks were estimated according to some estimates. When replacing tank T-34 with T-54, new machines from Kaliningrad were brought to the site. on your own foot. On the way through Lithuania and Latvia, most of them traveled along the seaside and near the coast, with the new tank modification capable of developing up to 80 km / h. From the mainland to Muhumaa, Virtsu was sailed across Kesselaiu along the seabed. There was also a missile force technical division in Karujärvi, where the ammunition of the missile units at Saaremaa was assembled and assembled.

In Undo, there was a locator trail that was responsible for monitoring airspace and communicating information to the Air Force. In the same village, in the area of ​​the current Estonian Border Guard cordon, there was also a 10-15-man observation point for the navy, which was supposed to check the seabed and the base on the western border.

A new complex of three land-to-air missiles was built by Kureverre, serviced by about 30-40 men. In addition to airplanes, these ships could also destroy ships sailing in nearby waters.

Border guards "nestled" on Kõruse, Kihelkonen and Austla. Walking and riding patrols moved around the clock. An overhead line (later underground cable) passed along the shore, through which regular reports were made to the steward of the military unit. The Vilsand Border Guard Unit was taken off the island after an unfortunate incident. The tragic events began with the birthplace of the local lighthouse, where a great deal of fire came and was probably used. In the post-party vineyard, the complicated love relationships between the men and women involved found a sad outcome. The Cordon commander fired a young woman out of her service weapon and also visited a lighthouse attendant. Then, probably already in a state of shock, he applied the horse to the sleigh and drove to Saaremaa. He was only served by military forces about ten kilometers away from Kihelkonen to Kuressaare.

Another assassination of the army servants occurred in the Tagala area, where Karujärvi, an Estonian-married military, killed two old men. Apparently, when studying the location of the fortune, he was terribly tortured (cut off limbs) and then burned with the house.

These two cases seem to be the only carbon black military-related events. It is worth noting that the Vilsandi border guard chief, Dobrodejev (translated as a charity), wrote a prayer letter, which apparently influenced the military tribunal so that the death penalty was replaced by a prison sentence.
The main motive for writing the letter was the Lieutenant's previous activity and good reputation among the islanders. The closed society and isolation of Vilsandi enabled a fairly trustworthy and close contact between military personnel and residents. Border guards were helpful in field work and supported transport both on land and at sea. Mutually visited the village. The same closeness to the small closed communities, and, of course, alcohol, was the keywords of the sadness described above. Today, only the buildings at the disposal of the National Park and two preserved observation towers remind us of the Vilsandi border guard unit.

The contacts of the parishioners were the closest to the border guards. After all, they had to report to the sea and going to the fish. They also met on the street and in the shop. There were few occasions when soldiers married local girls. It is no wonder, too, because you went to the cinema and dance festivals. The children in the military area were able to speak Russian well, thanks to their close interaction. For many years at the Kihelkonna School, the Border Guard Young Friends' Circle (PNS), whose activities included interesting events, went mutually in the village and attended Republican meetings of similar circles. Although the language of the works was Russian, the children took an active part in them. Reciprocal communication was also facilitated by the principle of recruiting the Border Guard as a conscript, the privilege to opt for a service mainly with secondary education and with good recommendations.

The basics of good engagement should also be sought from the methodology of the work of the National Security Committee (KGB). Only a loyal and friendly "aboriginal" could be the basis for successful work. It required moderate but not very close communication. Partly because of this, officers' missions lasted for only 3-4 years.

At the same time, a special department also worked with the population. For example, an Estonian-speaking stranger is remembered to talk to the store and explore the possibilities of escape from Sweden. But the questioner was so provocative that the men who took the beer were not taken seriously by him. There are also some recruitment attempts known to try to find out "those who own an unregistered rubber boat and learn English secretly".

At the same time, there was consistent documentary control in the coastal zone. The number of boats and people leaving the port was read in them. The initiator, who wanted to go to Vilsandi, had to apply for a permit at the home passport first, then register at Kuressaare Border Guard and finally at Kihelkonna Coroner. It was only after the permission of the ported port or port patrol was displayed that the island could go.

There was often a delay of several days in passing such a ticket. There were also cases when border guards had to regret over-vigilance. For example, a cow died on a small island because it was delayed by a local vet. However, in the course of further proceedings, the Border Guard was able to claim compensation from the Border Guard through the military prosecutor's office.

Sometimes it was enough to get to Vilsandi and break down the border guard bureaucracy just by calling the local party committee and finding the solution quickly.

In general, it seems that senior military and local party, collective and village councilors often interacted professionally and knew each other well. Often outside the office, for example, fish and hunting. The effectiveness of the passage depended first and foremost on the personality of the communicators. The saying "Great is the Lord's zoo ...!" there is everywhere in everyday life, but it seems that it was particularly appropriate for the soldiers who served in Saaremaa. It was a kind of "Siberian", in the sense of army geography, which sent both stupid and awkward self-minded men who despised and soldier. So some of the troops were much more active than others.

Since the 1960s, the number of people of working age in the western part of Saaremaa and elsewhere began to decline rapidly. To study and work in the cities of Mindi. There was a shortage of hands on the ground, and here too, good personal contact with the military commanders, who had the power to dispose of conscripts, often helped. Soldiers were engaged in haymaking and various auxiliary work. Remuneration took the form of a regular daily wage or a natural form of interest to the parties.

N.-. The "personal acquaintance with the military" ended the existence of a windmill on the crossroads at the bus stop in Undva. Namely Kalinini liked it. To the then manager of the collective farm sm. Once, when he was driving in the Undva Air Force, he'd run the spirits of the windmill accidentally into the car window. The next day he dropped a windmill with a tractor in order to stop something like this.

Above all, however, both parties combined mutual benefits. The army was like a richly loaded trolley, which had no sliding master on the load, and could, if necessary, be "put into the chimney" and refilled the spaces. Various smuggled army treasures found their place in domestic households. Often there was help from military technology and human power. Army helicopters and boats were often the only effective aids in an emergency.

We already talked about military goods shops, where we could also buy and order a deficit item. The shopkeeper may have been so familiar with the villageman that the lack of vines and the revival of the merchant that arose during the night sucking did not cause any problems.

It was in many cases that alcohol was the equivalent of value measurement. The spirits issued by the military soldiers were valuable means of payment for the officers outside the military. It was able to pay the master for the repair of the technique or replace it with the spare part needed. Probably the key personnel of the army also ran a larger scale business, although the author has failed to find a specific reference.

When the local men were talking to the conspirator about the vodka or beer, it was hoping for a lucrative business because the latter would not be directly responsible for the devastation and the bitter cakes would cost them. In this way, "military" defense-colored suit suits were dumped from the territory of the military units to tons of liquid fuel.

Prior to the withdrawal of Russian troops, trade with military property was picking up, but most of the time the sellers were already asking for dollars. In doing so, they tried to make everything non-transportable. This was especially the case for the non-ferrous metal that had already been sold in Estonia. He was diligently picking up a communication cable and the like. They also went on to sell fuel "untouched reserves". The trade before the departure of troops from Estonia went better with "black men with men, because the border guards once had in the house".

Getting started was quite fast and painless. When asked about parishioners, most of them say, "... and then they suddenly went."