Report on the political and social situation in Petseri County in 1927
The issue of Petseri County is still an important element of national continuity. The Tartu Peace Treaty transferred the rural municipalities of the Petseri region, which had previously belonged to the Governorate of Pskov, to the administration of the Republic of Estonia. This severed relations with eastern regions from the period of the Russian Empire. This detour brought rapid impoverishment in some communities, giving rise to a series of social problems in the region such as unemployment, alcoholism, etc. That is why anti-state sentiments emerged in the interwar period, primarily in the eastern part of Petseri County, which was populated mainly by Russian citizens whose interests were more closely linked to Russia’s interior regions. Pro-Soviet political forces exploited such sentiments.
The published report is part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs archival collection (National Archives, RA, ERA.14.1.1395). It was drawn up in 1927 by Assistant Commissioner of the Political Police Nikolai Nuder at the request of Minister of Internal Affairs Jaan Hünerson. The reason for writing the report was the government’s aim to re-establish the position of Petseri County Commander, which had existed in the first years of independence, in order to supervise local institutions and to bind Petseri more closely with the Estonian state. S. Sommer’s comment on the report has been identified at the end of the publication. The value of the source lies in its relatively wide-ranging problematics, reflecting a clash of political and social, national and community interests in the region. In addition to the problems described, the report proposes possible solutions, yet without presenting more specific action plans. The document’s focus is on the eastern regions of Petseri County in particular, demonstrating the region’s weaker coherence with other Estonian territories. In addition to political and social aspects, the source also draws attention to man and the changing environment around him. In this case, rapid population growth and the paludification of areas along Lake Pskov led to a decrease in people’s living space in the region.