A tale of two countries: The Finnish-Estonian Rapprochement (Scandinavian Review 4/99)

John O’Brien, an English travel writer, has the distinction of publishing the first post-Soviet travel guide to Estonia in English.

Brought out in 1993, just as Russian forces were finally — and belatedly — evacuating the former Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, Estonia: The Guidebook, has a number of blanks in it, especially when describing “forbidden zones,” i.e., the areas formerly inhabited by the Kremlin.

Of these, none had been more forbidden than Paldiski, the Baltic port which had been home to a large contingent of Soviet nuclear submarines. For fifty years, Paldiski, once a thriving port that prospered because of its close proximity to Finland, had been closed to foreigners and Estonians.

“Non-Existent Paldiski” is how this section of the book is entitled: “At press time, there were reports of Soviet soldiers smashing, burning, removing copper wires and chairs and light fittings, basically wrecking the place. This was heartening news, since it meant that the Red Army was moving out…”

Estonia, now on the fast track to European Union membership, has certainly come a long way in the six years since those words were written. Tallinn, the spiff ied-up, ancient capital, once dubbed “the wild East” because of its rampant crime and poverty, is being touted by travel agents as “the new Prague.” Even Tartu, near the southern EstonianRussian border, where the Soviet Air Force maintained a large base, is looking up.

But Paldiski, I must say, still looks pretty non-existent.

“Do you want to see what the Soviets did to the Baltic countries?” an official at the Finnish Ministry of Foreign Affairs advised me, before I set out on my most recent Baltic crossing, earlier this year. “Go to Paldiski.”

It was a good tip. I will not soon forget Paldiski: block after block of empty, denuded buildings, floor upon floor covered with broken glass and decomposing Soviet ephemera. And in the center of this 20-squaremile wasteland, rising above it all, is the Nuclear Object, the nuclear reactor that was used for training Red submariners.

Withal, a fitting monument to the Soviet rape of Estonia and the other two Baltic Republics, Latvia and Lithuania. Walking through the broken, haunted buildings one can still see and hear the exiting Soviets trashing the place.

Even more frightening, however, than what the Soviets left above ground is what they left below ground: vast pools of commercial oil, missile fuel, and other toxic waste that have thoroughly contaminated both the topsoil and upper aquifer, and make living in Paldiski a rather dicey proposition for its current population of 4,000.

And yet, seen from another perspective, Paldiski, for all its horrors, is also an active symbol of a very positive, and significant post-Soviet development, the historic rapprochement between Estonia and its northern neighbor, Finland.

Salvaging Natural Resources

In 1996 a team of Finnish scientists from the Helsinki University of Technology Water Engineering Department began working with another team of Estonian scientists from Tallinn Technical University to put together a comprehensive picture of the massive environmental problems at Pakri peninsula, where Paldiski is located. Their detailed, eye-opening report, which was funded by the Finnish Ministry of the Environment, was published last year. Needless to say, it makes for chilling reading. But now, at least, the Estonians know what they are dealing with.

The report also contains a remediation plan for liquidating Paldiski’s more noxious pollution problems, including erecting a proper container for the largest landfill at the former military base. Funding for the plan is forthcoming in the next fiscal year, I was assured by Finnish officials.

But now, thanks in large part to the new Finnish-Estonian relationship, there is hope at Paldiski and other former Soviet waste sites.

All told, Helsinki has since 1991 extended over $200 million in direct aid to Estonia towards various environmental cooperation projects (like the one at Paldiski), a not inconsiderable amount for a small nation like Finland.

To be sure, the nature-conscious Finns had attempted to help the Soviets clean up their environmental act both in their Baltic territories, as well as in contiguous Russia, before 1991, but with little success. “We didn’t know to whom to give the aid,” recalled Pekka Haavisto, the former Finnish environmental minister. “Now, at least, we know whom to deal with, at least on the Estonian side.”

And Haavisto’s Estonian counterparts have been all too happy to accept Finnish aid. “Finland has been helping us on every possible level,” confirmed Allan Grimov, director general of the environmental policy department in the Estonian Ministry of the Environment.

Bilateral environmental cooperation is but one dimension of the multifaceted, new Finnish-Estonian relationship. Thus, while Finnish scientists have been working with Estonians to recover and restore their nation’s natural resources, staff officers from the Finnish military and border guard have been busy training the small, but formidable new Estonian counterparts for the upcoming, extraordinary challenge of full EU membership, now expected by 2005. In the economic sphere, the two countries’ private sectors continue to fuse, as the Finnish business community invests heavily in Estonia’s future, the current Estonian Enterprise Register lists no less than 6000 enterprises with partial or full Finnish capital participation. Meanwhile, both Finland and Estonia have become each other’s biggest trading partners. In 1997, the most recent year for which statistics are available, Suomi exported a massive billion dollars’ worth of goods and services to its adopted neighbor, a tenfold increase since 1992, while Eesti exported a relatively hefty half billion dollars worth back to its largest benefactor.

In the cultural sphere, exciting new forms of artistic cooperation, such as the recently inaugurated Finnish-Estonian Symphony Orchestra, conducted by the dashing young Estonian, Anu Tali, have taken root, while translations of Estonian literature into Finnish, and vice versa, have been on the rise.

“A rainbow” is how Arno Linethan, first secretary at the Estonian embassy in Helsinki, describes what has taken place between Finland and Estonia over the past few years. “A rainbow of relationships has formed between our two countries, and the number of bands in that rainbow is constantly increasing.”

To be sure, the new Finnish-Estonian “rainbow” is a signal event in its own right, standing out in bold relief on a continent which, while making halting progress towards becoming a European superstate is, somewhat paradoxically, increasingly riven by separatist tensions and rivalries.

The New Hansa

At the same time, the new Finnish-Estonian rapprochement is crucial to understanding what is taking place in Europe’s northeastern Baltic region — which includes most of Scandinavia – which is coming together in a cohesive way not seen since the days of the medieval Hanseatic League. “In the 1990s, the Baltic region is going through a process of cultural, political, and economic unification,” writes Matti Klinge, the noted Finnish historian, in his authoritative history of the Baltic region, The Baltic World.

The Finnish-Estonian rapprochement has spearheaded this process, forming a model for symbiotic relationships that have formed between other Nordic and Baltic countries, as Sweden has “adopted” Latvia, Denmark has “adopted” Lithuania, and so forth.

Evidence of this “New Hansa,” as some are calling it, is everywhere around the Baltic region. Thus, to cite but one very concrete example, there are now direct flights between 36 cities in the Baltic basic, a nearly twofold increase since 1991, when the Iron Curtain fell. Clearly something big is happening in the Baltic.

Sweden has been just as alert to, and responsible for this historic coming together as Finland. As Elisabeth Crona, a correspondent for Svenska Dagbladet wrote in 1996:

Cooperation with its neighboring countries bordering the Baltic Sea is currently Sweden’s major foreign policy concern… Ties among the nations of the Baltic are being constantly strengthened, based on a thousand-year tradition of commercial exchange.

One salient example of Swedish initiative in this area is the Baltic literary center recently set up in Visby, on the island of Gotland, which has become a meeting place for writers form the Nordic countries and the Baltic Republics. Another is the college of economics the Swedish government has established in the Latvian capital of Riga. Denmark and Norway have also played significant roles in weaving the New Hanseatic net as well.

To be sure, Sweden has also been a signal friend of Estonia in the economic sphere. Indeed, as of mid-1998, Sweden was exporting more to Estonia than to Denmark, which is one of Latvia’s most important trade partners. Still, because of the extraordinary ethno-linguistic and historic ties binding Finns and Estonians, their relationship remains something of a world within a world, while serving as a pacesetter for the other members of the New Hansa.

“I’ve been posted around the world,” said Pekka Oinonen, Finland’s ambassador to Tallinn, “and I have never encountered a relationship like that between Finland and Estonia.”

Ties That Bind

To be sure, in order to fully understand why Finns and Estonians were preconditioned to re-unite as quickly as they have since 1991, we need to disentangle the complex helix of ethno-linguistic and historic ties which bind them, and which have traditionally bound them, up to and including the half-century-long Soviet winter, when the two peoples existed in completely different worlds.

First and foremost, there is the linguistic tie. Both Finnish and Estonian are close branches of the small, Indo-European Fenno-Ugric language family. Moreover, the difficult vowel-laden, ullatory Finnish and Estonian tongues are close enough that Finns and Estonians can readily understand each other.

According to ethnologists, this fundamental tie binding Finns to the north, and the Estonians on the south of the Gulf of Finland, is that centuries ago, probably close to the beginning of the first millennium, both tribes were part of one extended Fenno-Ugric clan inhabiting the southern shore. This helps account for the unique similarities between Finnish and Estonian folk cultures; both, for example, are the only known cultures in the world crooning lullabies to death. Too, once one ventures into the hazy territory of race, and racial similarities, there is no denying that Finns and Estonians look a lot like each other.

Clearly, at one point, long ago, Finns and Estonians were pretty tight. Not that they have necessarily had a lot to talk about since then. Indeed, for most of the modern era, the destinies of Finns and Estonians have been dramatically different, even while they were part of the same empires.

Generally, Estonians have come up with the shorter end of the stick, something that they – and the Finns — tend to remember.

The first Finnish-Estonian rapprochement of the modern era took place in 1581, following the four national Livonian Wars between Russia, Sweden, Denmark, and Poland, when Estonia – previously Danish — was absorbed into the expanding Swedish empire. The grateful Estonians flourished under the yellow-and-blue Swedish banner, as had and did the Finns who had been ruled by Stockholm since the 12th century.

However, because the Swedish legal, social, and religious, i.e., Protestant systems had had so much longer to take root in the Finnish peninsula, the two societies remained fundamentally different.

The Great Northern War between Sweden and Russia was a mutual apocalypse for both Finns and Estonians, but ultimately, once again, the Estonian fate was worse. Thus, in 1743 at the end of the Great Wrath, Moscow withdrew from Finland, content to take a slice of its eastern territory, while Estland remained under czarist rule. The dates are important: Finns and Estonians remember them. Indeed, in all of my reportorial experience, I have never encountered two peoples as conscious of their histories, including their shared histories, as the five million Finns and their one-and-half million Estonian cousins.

Finland reverted to Russian rule following the Swedo-Russian war of 1808-1809, which marked the end of the Swedish empire. However, while Finland became a privileged grand duchy, Estonia and adjacent Livonia (now Latvia) remained lowly provinces. Today, revealingly, a well-polished statue of Alexander 11 — to the Finns the most benevolent of the czars stands in the center of Helsinki’s Senate Square. No statues of any of Estonia’s long succession of Russian rulers — including the formidable one of Peter the Great which used to stand in Tallinn — remain today.

Shortlived Freedom

And yet, while 19th century Estonians continued to resent their Russian overlords as well as their privileged Finnish cousins and fellow subjects, they also, now, began to take heart from Suomi, as the latter underwent its National Awakening. The publication in 1835 of the Kalevala, the great Homeric-Finnish epic, which kindled Finnish nationalism, moved a group of equally restive Estonian intellectuals to create their own equivalent mythic tapestry Kalevipoeq they dubbed it: son of Kalevala.

Now that was something for Finns and Estonians to talk about; as was, after 1881, the intense russification policy of Alexander III, which brought both Baltic dominions to the brink of revolt. Russia’s misbegotten entry into World War I gave both Finnish and Estonian nationalists their chance. The Finns went first, declaring independence in December 1917, while their Estonian counterparts followed two months later. Thereupon followed a fratricidal Finnish civil war between the indigenous Red and Whites — and a war on newly independent Estonia by both Soviet Russia and the German Landswehr, which the Estonians, battling with the aid and assistance of 3,000 Finnish volunteers, won in 1920. The strange double helix of Finnish-Estonian history had come together again.

To be sure, in 1922, the new Republic of Estonia — one of the four Baltic rim republics to be carved out of the Russian imperial carcass, along with Latvia and Lithuania — exuberantly proposed a formal confederation with their Finnish comrades; the Finns, savoring their hardwon sovereignty, took a pass. Still, political, economic, and cultural ties between the two new democracies were close during this now sentimentalized interwar period. The union, or reunion, of the two peoples was symbolized by the marriage of the Estonian prime minister to a noted Finnish writer; a portrait of the two dominates the office of the Estonian ambassador to the Court of St. James.

It was, indeed, a beautiful time but it didn’t last for long. Unbeknownst to both the Finns and Estonians, their futures, and those of Latvia and Lithuania, had already been decided by Hitler and Stalin. A secret protocol to the 1939 Nazi-Soviet Non-Aggression pact gave Russia a free hand in the Baltic region, which it used first against Finland, which it invaded that November.

The result was Finland’s finest hour, the Winter War. For 103 days the West cheered (and dithered about aid to the Finns) as the outnumbered, outgunned Finns skied rings around Russian tanks before shoving “Molotov cocktails” down their turrets. Fighting alongside the Finns were 4,000 stout-hearted Estonian volunteers.

Inevitably, in March 1940, the Finns capitulated to the Soviets, and Stalin withdrew, taking with him most of Finnish Karelia; however, he had lost any desire he might have had to annex brave Suomi.

He had no such qualms about swallowing the other three Baltic countries whole, nor did they have the means to resist. And so, in October of that year, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania were simultaneously seized. One year later, in another familiar Baltic rite, the Germans pushed the Soviets out and became the new occupiers of the three nations.

Then, finally, in 1944, Russian tanks rolled back into Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania, and the three suppressed republics receded into the long, collectivized, terror-filled Soviet night, not to re-emerge into the sunlight of freedom for another 47 years.

Hardwon Status

Finland’s path, after 1944, was again conforming to historical pattern, a radically different one. Although Stalin might have annexed Suomi, he did not, preferring that it remain his window to the West. He did hand the beaten Finns an enormous $50 billion dollar reparations bill for their transgressions; it was to be paid off in ships and material, neither of which the Finns actually had. But this war debt turned out to be a boon. By 1955, when the bill was finally paid — in full and in kind — the hard-working Finns had, perforce, built a new industrial plant capable of servicing both the Soviets, who continued to be their best (and least demanding) customers, as well as other foreign clients. In a way, Finland, which was allowed to retain its democratic, capitalistic institutions, had reverted to its former status of grand duchy.

However, this special status — later to be disparaged as “Finlandization” came with certain caveats. Some, like the preclusion from joining NATO which remained engraved in the Finnish soul — and which explains why, to this day, Helsinki is still reluctant to join NATO — were codified in the 1948 Fenno-Soviet peace treaty Others, like the injunction from granting asylum to escaped Soviet citizens were tacitly understood. (I saw this enforced during my first visit to Finland in 1977, when two Soviet airplane hijackers were seized and delivered up to Moscow, which promptly executed them.)

One of the most discomfiting aspects of this status, to Finns, was Helsinki’s tacit recognition of Soviet legitimacy in kindred Estonia, as well as in the other Baltic countries. Helsinki never officially recognized Communist rule in Estonia, but it implicitly did so, actively downplaying Finnish-Estonian ties. “Estonia,” in the phraseology of the day, “did not exist.” Of course, as both Helsinki and Moscow were soon to learn, as the embers of Estonian nationalism began-to flare up, it did.

The Finnish media willingly played along with this charade. As noted in the recently-published book, The Silenced Media by Finnish journalist Esko Salminen, even the most sensational news from the other, Soviet side of the Gulf of Finland — including the violent 1980 anti-Russian riots that wracked Tallinn — was ignored by the Finnish print and broadcast media.

Estonians, on the other hand, were surprisingly savvy about conditions in Finland and the rest of the West because of a crack in the Baltic side of the Iron Curtain that the USSR could not shut down: Finnish television. The Communist authorities simply could not block Finnish TV, with its uncensored news reports and other capitalistic fare, from being received in the northern part of Estonia, where it was duly and avidly consumed by the subject populace. The subversive impact on the Estonian consciousness was enormous.

“Finnish TV had a tremendous effect on Estonia,” declared the Finnish historian Matti Klinge on a recent morning at his regal office at the University of Helsinki. “After all, people could see the workings of the Finnish parliament and trade union system. And, of course, they could also receive advertising.”

They could also get “Dallas,” with Finnish subtitles, which the Finnish-fluent Estonians could understand. “I remember, every Saturday I used to discuss with my school friends what Sue Ellen was up to now,” said Kari Juhasoo, the Estonian charge d’affaires in London as she recollected her Soviet childhood.

“We were always there, albeit unseen and unheard behind the Iron Curtain:’ Estonian president Lennart Meri has written. “We were like the crew of a sunken submarine with only the periscope showing. But voices came to us.”

Voices like Sue Ellen’s and J.R.’s, came direct from Hollywood, via Helsinki. And so, in the end the deceived Finns, who tended to take a partronizing attitude toward their repressed Estonian cousins during the Soviet years (as I could see during a 1991 visit to Tallinn) wound up making a real, albeit involuntary contribution to the Estonian revolution.

And then, suddenly — at least so it seemed to many Finns at the time in August, 1991, the long-submerged Estonian nation surfaced.

Rigors of Re-emergence

And almost immediately began to sink. Suddenly released from the grip, and embrace, of the Soviet command economy, the tiny, fledging Estonian market foundered.

In 1992 and 1993, the first two years of independence, double digit negative growth obtained; inflation reached 300 percent. Hunger was widespread, particularly amongst older Estonian pensioners, who suffered the most. Beggars could be seen in Tallinn.

There were other problems: the large, restive Russian-speaking minority, who chafed at their second-class treatment by their new Estonian-speaking governors; the worrisome presence of Russian troops, whom Boris Yeltsin obstinately refused to withdraw until 1993; and the seemingly omnipresent Russian mafia. Then, to top it all off, in September, 1994, just as Estonia seemed to be gaining headway, the maritime pride of the nation, the huge cruise ship “Estonia,” sank in a storm off Finland, taking with it over 900 lives, nearly halt of them Estonia — a huge blow.

But, with the aid of a strong Estonian currency, the kroon, which Tallinn wisely tied to the German mark; a rigorous commitment to privatization; Finnish aid; and strong spirits and hard work, Estonia survived and ultimately come to prosper.

Thus, by May, 1997, The Christian Science Monitor could report: “Estonia, a country of 1.5 million covering an area roughly twice the size of New Hampshire, has jumped from Marx to the market more successfully than any other state.”

Then, that same month — and after considerable behind-the-scenes lobbying by the Finns, who had voted to join the EU in 1995 — came word from Brussels that the Estonian application for EU membership had been tentatively approved. Estonia, it seemed had made it. Latvia and Lithuania, to their chagrin, had not.

In the meantime, the Finns, who of course had also been a part of the Soviet universe, had gone through their own parallel shaking. Indeed, at first, following the August 1991 coup, the Finns were no less lost than the Estonians. The abrupt loss of Soviet trade — which had accounted for as much as one quarter of Finnish exports — helped send the Finnish economy into a tailspin. By the end of 1993, 20 percent of the Finnish work force was unemployed, the highest percentage since the Depression. The country’s vaunted social security net frayed: For the first time in the memory of this wealthy Nordic nation there were breadlines in Helsinki.
Meanwhile, with the old Fenno-Soviet verities nullified, the government had difficulty enunciating a coherent foreign policy that would not antagonize Russia, now an uncertain quantity.

And yet one of the things Finns knew they had to do was to help their Estonian neighbors. And so the business community, followed closely by the Finnish government, acted. The Finnish electronics giants, Nokia and Elcoteq, were among the first companies to throw lifelines across the Baltic, establishing subcontracting operations within a few weeks following the normalization of Finnish-Estonian relations in September, 1991. The government wasn’t far behind, extending $200 million in direct foreign aid that year alone.

Essentially, of course, the Finns – who have to date extended nearly a billion dollars worth of direct grants and credits to their Estonian cousins — have acted out of self-interest, as do all nations. Clearly, the Finns realize that in the post-Soviet vacuum it is in their best interest to assist Estonia in every way they can.

And, clearly, it has been. Today Finland’s expanding trade with its southern Baltic neighbor has reached the point where it is approaching the trade it lost with the entire Soviet Union, a phenomenal achievement when one considers Estonia’s miniscule size, and one which speaks volumes about its growing economic might. Estonia, indeed, has become — under Finland’s sponsorship — the Baltic Mouse That Roared. Is it any wonder that the EU has welcomed its membership application?

The booming, and unprecedented Finnish trade with, and investment in, Estonia has, correspondingly, played a key role in helping it recover from its most recent recession. Doing business with Estonia has been good business for Finland.

But it is plain that the Finns have also acted out of a renewed sense of Fenno-Ugric kinship and of having been better off all those years under the Swedes, the Russians, and, yes, the Soviets, too.

Lending Strength to Military Defense One of the newer “bands” in the waxing Finnish-Estonian “rainbow” has been the one linking the Finnish and Estonian defense forces. At first, Helsinki was reluctant to extend military aid to Tallinn for fear of antagonizing Moscow. Old memories, and conditioned reflexes, die hard in a country which suffered nearly 100,000 casualties during its last extended confrontation with the Russian bear in the Second World War. What little aid in this sensitive area that the Finns proffered to the Estonians was artfully camouflaged.

However, over the last two years, the Finnish-Estonian military relationship has come out into the open, with Finnish officers pridefully appearing with their charges at several joint military exercises, such as the Baltic Challenge ’97 war games in which 2,000 troops and sailors from the Nordic and Baltic republics participated, along with a contingent from NATO. Fittingly, the games were held at Paldiski, which briefly reverted to its former military use for the occasion.

Today Finnish military experts work with their Estonian opposites on everything from officer instruction and artillery training to peace support operations. Essentially, although no one will come out and say so, the new 8,000 strong Estonian armed forces are a miniature clone of the Finnish defense forces (minus the Finnish air force). Thus far, over 100 Estonians have received direct training in Finland.

To be sure, this area of bilateral cooperation has not been without its mishaps. The official objective of the Finnish-Estonian military “Project,” has been to develop, on the Estonian side, “an independent military force with its own decision-making capability,” according to the literature that was given me. However, because of the residue of Soviet military ideology, which stressed that decisions ought to be made in the upper echelons of command, Finnish instructors have actually had difficulty teaching junior Estonian officers to make their own decisions.

“When you consider that we are starting from scratch — that Estonia has never really had its own military force, even during the interwar period — then I think you can call the project a qualified success, ” a Finnish staff officer involved with the “project” confided to me. “But too often the officer candidates we work with are afraid to move on their own. But I think this will change.”

Similarly, Ossi Vunikka, one of the two Finnish police “attaches” whose mission is to help rebuild — and re-educate — the Estonian police forces, offered a cautious assessment of his charges. “The mafia still has a hold on this country and they are difficult to uproot,” Vunikka, in plain clothes, told me over breakfast at the ultra-modern Hotel Olympia in Tallinn:

There are old ways to get rid off from the Soviet time, particularly bribery. But I am optimistic. I believe in Estonia. Most important, and this is not something I found when I was working in Moscow on a similar assignment, the Estonians want to do the right thing. And I think they will.

To be sure, Finland has “adopted” Estonia on so many different levels — environmental, military, security, European integration, et. al. — that it is probably not very much of an exaggeration to state that the two countries have formed a de facto confederation, within and below the EU, and one that approximates the merger proposed by Tallinn during the last Finnish-Estonian rapprochement during the 1920s.

Offering Resistance

However, even if Finland has adopted Estonia, that does not necessarily mean that Estonians are anxious to adopt all Finnish ways. For one, there is considerable resistance among Estonians, particularly among the emerging Estonian middle class, to adopting the Finnish welfare state.

As The Christian Science Monitor noted not long ago:

So while Finland and Estonia have established a profitable trading relationship, when it comes to organizing their society, the countries are very different. One has adopted the soft European welfare state. The other, just freed from Communism, sees itself as a lean, almost Hong Kong free style market dragon.

Consequently, the thousands of Finnish tourists who stream into Tallinn on the weekend are sometimes shocked by what they see on the street. The gap between the newly rich, who pay only a 25 percent flat tax on their earnings — compared to an average of 40 percent in Finland — and the relatively neglected poor, is a considerable one. You won’t find breadlines in Helsinki anymore, but you will find them in Tallinn.

To be sure, the two peoples still have mixed feelings about each other, especially among the older Finnish and Estonian generations. Older Finns, perhaps with a trace of imperial hubris, still tend to look down a bit on their upstart Estonian cousins. Estonians, for their part, still have something of a chip on their shoulder with regard to Finns.

But such feelings are, after all, to be expected between two such recently reunited peoples. And, anyway, it is my distinct impression, from having observed this extraordinary relationship up close for eight years, that they are dying out. The younger Finns of my acquaintance, particularly those in the business community, have nothing but respect, even awe for Estonia and for Estonian potential.

Something unusual, and unmistakably genuine, is taking place in the eastern Baltic between these two countries, and two peoples. And if you doubt me, all you need do is to attend one of the enthusiastic concerts of the Finnish-Estonian Symphony Orchestra as it spreads musical cheer, and balm, on both sides of the Gulf of Finland, or look at the growing Estonian literature department at the Academic Bookstore in Helsinki.

Or, better yet, go to Paldiski. If you look closely, you just might see a rainbow — a Baltic rainbow.

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