Many Russians, especially Communist party members who had arrived in the area with the initial occupation and annexation, retreated; those who fell into the German hands were treated harshly, many were executed.After the war, Narva's inhabitants previously evacuated by the Germans were for the most part not permitted to return and were replaced by refugees and workers administratively mobilized from western Russia, Belarus and Ukraine.
The population of Russians in Estonia is estimated at 320,000, most of whom live in the urban areas of Harju and Ida-Viru counties.
Although Estonia has a 300-year old history of small-scale settlement by Russian Old Believers along Lake Peipus, more that 95% of present-day Russians in Estonia are first-generation migrants and their immediate descendants who arrived in violation of the international law during the Soviet occupation of Estonia between 19.
Orthodox churches and small communities of proto-Russian merchants and craftsmen remained in Livonian towns as did close trade links with the Novgorod Republic and the Pskov and Polotsk principalities.
In 1481, Ivan III of Russia laid siege to the castle of Fellin (Viljandi) and briefly captured several towns in eastern Livonia in response to a previous attack on Pskov.
In 1217, an allied Ugaunian-Novgorodian army defended the Ugaunian stronghold of Otepää from the German knights.
Novgorodian prince Vyachko died in 1224 with all his druzhina defending the fortress of Tarbatu together with his Ugaunian and Sackalian allies against the Livonian Order led by Albert of Riga.
During the era of Soviet occupation, the Soviet government maintained a program of replacing the indigenous Estonians with immigrants from the Soviet Union.
In the course of violent population transfers, thousands of Estonian citizens were deported to the interior parts of Russia (mostly Siberia), and huge numbers of Russian-speaking Soviet citizens were encouraged to settle in Estonia.
Between 15, Ivan IV of Russia captured much of mainland Livonia in the midst of the Livonian War but eventually the Russians were driven out by Lithuanian-Polish and Swedish armies.