|May the strong people of Kalev remain||Jää kestma Kalevite kange rahvas|
|And our homeland stand firm!||ja seisa kaljuna me kodumaa!|
|Never will our valour fade from suffering,||Ei vaibund kannatustes sinu vahvus,|
|Through the centuries you stand unbroken.||End läbi sajandite murdsid sa.|
In the ears of any foreigner these words would sound like praise for the brave struggle for freedom on the part of the Estonian people and could very well serve as a motto for, or even the title of, a book about Estonian identity. Every Estonian, however, will have a wry smile when reading these lines, since everyone knows that they come from the anthem of the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, and that the anthem continues: [… and will rise to be a flourishing Socialist state, so our dear sun may shine upon your days.] Yet even the worst proponents of Russification, and KGB officers would stand to attention on hearing these lyrics by Johannes Semper, once President of the Estonian PEN Club, with the music of Gustav Ernesaks, much loved by the Estonian people.
This paradox is a vivid reflection of the contradictions and cynical refinement of half a century of Soviet power in Estonia.
There is a prevalent view in the West that Russia occupied Estonia and that the Russians committed genocide in order to get the Estonians to assimilate, and to destroy their language and culture. This idea has been helped along for decades by the attitude of exile Estonian political organisations which would condemn all contacts with their native land, even between family members, as betrayals, and as an attempt to legitimise the occupation regime. Such attitudes are reflected in the way people were