Estonia: Identity and Independence

By Jean-Jacques Subrenat; David Cousins et al. | Go to book overview
Save to active project

Tunne Kelam


An Opinion

You were fortunate to be one of the participants in this unique era. As the saying goes, one swallow does not make spring: when did you begin to feel that independence might become possible?

During my university years (1954–59), I saw myself as more of a cosmopolitan than a nationalist. My instinctive desire was to acquire as much independent information as possible about world events. I was fascinated by world politics, philosophy, especially the Indian religions, art and literature; for me Estonia was relatively uninteresting. I independently studied English, German, French, Finnish and Polish; for decades my radio broadcast of choice was the English-language programme of the BBC World Service. These shaped in me a democratic and independent way of thinking; that alternative information permitted me independence from totalitarian propaganda, and when necessary simply to ignore it.

I followed world events with great interest, ever since the Korean War, during which, as a schoolboy, I would enter the movement of the front line on a self-made map. The UN forces' successful descent behind Communist lines and the aggressors' dramatic retreat offered the first ray of hope that the Soviet Empire was not invincible. I felt a particularly strong sympathy for the Hungarian Revolution of 1956. On the one hand the fact that Hungary declared its intention to withdraw from the Warsaw Pact and demanded the withdrawal of Soviet troops, and on the other the concentration of force that Moscow brought to bear and the brutality with which it maintained its domination gave the impression that the Communist system could not be permanent it was precisely the Hungarians' desperate nation-wide resistance that led to the conclusion that sooner or later new attempts to restore independence would be conceived. I had a look back at my journal of the dramatic BBC radio report of 5 November of that year by the defenders of Budapest: [In this building young people are preparing Molotov cocktails and hand grenades. We are calm, we are not afraid. Send our message to the world and say that they must condemn the aggressor.] That was also the first time I realised the tragedy caused by the two leading Western countries becoming entangled in the defence of their own interests in the matter of the Suez canal, which gave the Red Army a free hand to crush the Hungarian patriots' revolt.

-239-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Estonia: Identity and Independence
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 310

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?