Vassili Mölder

Poems Vassili Mölder


Vassili Mölder (pseudonym Proletarlane, 25/13 XII 1878 – 5 VII 1943) was a revolutionary poet.

Mölder was born in Saaremaa Island and attended Kahtla village and parish school for a short time. He made his living by doing odd jobs and participated in the revolutionary events of 1905 at Pöide. Of essential importance for Mölder was his contact with publisher Juhan Lilienbach to whose publications he contributed. Following Lilienbach’s advice, he worked for some time as a travelling bookseller. From 1913–1915, Mölder worked at the editorial office of the Kuressaare Hääl newspaper; thereafter he was a small landholder at Pöide. He had contacts with the local illegal group of the Communist Party of Estonia. In 1924, he was arrested and imprisoned for his revolutionary activities and was released in 1932. In 1940, he supported the Soviet rule in Estonia and left Estonia in 1941 with the withdrawing Soviet troops. In the Soviet Union, he contributed to the local Estonian-language press. He died of starvation in Verkhneuralsk where he was buried.

Mölder’s first attempts at poetry fall into the turn of the century and were published in the Saarlane newspaper. His poetry is simple in its essence; its main themes reflect the world vision of poorish rural people and the belief that a revolution might bring improvements. Mölder’s poetry reveals contacts with newer folk songs of Saaremaa. The best poems of his initial period were published in the collection Sõnajalad (‘Ferns’, 1910). Mölder has remained in Estonian poetry with his working-class poetry which stands out with its folksy and simple character.

A. K. (Translated by I. A.)

Books in Estonian

V. Proletarlane, Sõnajalad. Tallinn: Mõte, 1910, 126 lk.