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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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