Jaan Tõnisson

"The life of Jaan Tõnisson, a leading figure in Estonia's assertion of independence and one of its first prime ministers, sets an example of how national ideals can be striven for even in the most trying of circumstances." (Prime Minister of Estonia 2016 to 2021 Jüri Ratas)

Jaan Tõnisson, (born December 22, 1868, Viljandi, Estonia, Russian Empire — July 03, 1941 ?, Tallinn ?), Estonian statesman, lawyer, newspaper editor, and civic leader who opposed Russian (tsarist and communist) domination of his country. In 1905, after a revolution had broken out in Russia, Tõnisson founded the National Liberal Party in Estonia and in 1906 sat in the first Russian Duma (legislative assembly). Although he was expelled from Estonia by the Bolsheviks late in 1917, he took part in negotiations for Allied recognition of Estonian independence. During his term as prime minister (1919–20), Estonia, having repulsed the Red Army, obtained favourable peace terms from the Soviet Union. He later served Estonia as president (1927–28, 1933) and foreign minister (1931–32). Imprisoned by NKVD in December 1940 and according to some reports was shot in Tallinn jail in the following year.