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He played an integral role in the Singing Revolution and was one of the father figures of the Estonian Song Festival tradition; one of his songs, set to Lydia Koidula's poem Mu isamaa on minu arm, became an unofficial national anthem during the years of Soviet occupation; ironically, he was also the composer of the Anthem of Estonian SSR used between 1945 and 1990.
A statue of him was erected in 2004 on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds.
Honours and awards
- This article incorporates information from the equivalent article on the Russian Wikipedia.
- Soviet Union
- Hero of Socialist Labour (1974)
- People's Artist of the USSR (1956)
- Stalin Prizes;
- 2nd class (1947)
- 3rd class (1951) – for the opera Tormide rand ("The Coast of Storms"; 1949)
- Lenin Prize (1970)
- Order of Lenin, three times (1974, 1951, 1967)
- Order of the October Revolution (1978)
- Order of the Red Banner of Labour (1946)
- Order of the Badge of Honour, twice (1965, 1988)
- Order of the Estonian Red Cross, 5th class (1938)
- Honoured Artist of the Estonian SSR (1942)
- People's Artist of the Estonian SSR (1947)
- State Prize of the Estonian SSR (1947, 1948, 1949, 1950, 1959, 1965)
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