REVIEW – February 2012

Sovetization of Estonian medical societies


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In 1940 Soviet annexation abolished most existing Estonian public organisations, including professional societies of doctors, anti-tbc societies, etc. Strictly scientific societies survived but suffered rearrangements typical for a totalitarian system. Nonacceptance of any initiative „from below“ created new conditions for the emergence of medical societies created „rom above“. It meant that the founding charters, statutes, etc. were issued by all-Soviet authorities who also decided what medical branches should have a professional organisation. Societies were to be arranged according to a vertical principle: branch organisations and local societies were subjected to the authorities in the „entre“. The whole complex was controlled by the Scientific Board of the Ministery of Health. In such a way there were created 52 medical societies in Estonia between 1945 and 1962.

Despite the typically undemocratic character of the formation of the societies they proved to be vital and effective tools in organising the medical profession and in laying the foundation for the later medical school in Estonia.