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Other books and articles

How were deportations planned in Estonia? Who were the forest brothers? How did Soviet's propaganda work? The essay collection Fear behind us all – How Estonia lost its history and how to get it back - is edited by Sofi Oksanen and Imbi Paju and explores the reality behind the Iron Curtain.

Fear Behind Us All

The Berlin Wall, key symbol of the Cold War, fell 20 years ago and created an atmosphere of hope. A few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of Germany, the Soviet Union – one of the main actors of the Cold War – also collapsed. It was an opportunity for many former Soviet republics, including the Baltic States, to regain their independence.

Estonia is the subject matter of Fear Was Behind Everything, a new collection of essays edited by Sofi Oksanen and Imbi Paju. Estonia’s recent history has been defined by two occupations: The short occupation by Nazi Germany and the half-century-long occupation by the Soviet Union. Only during the last 20 years has Estonia had the opportunity to study its history using its own voice, without any ideological baggage. The collection’s subject matter is not limited to Estonia, however, but encompasses the means of oppression employed by a totalitarian state in general. The essay collection examines the Soviet occupation from many different perspectives: propaganda, the operation of the machinery of oppression, culture, art, environmental destruction, corruption and economic development. The essays also examine the post-occupation period, i.e. the decolonisation process, and make observations, for example, on how Estonia, Russia and Germany have dealt with crimes against human rights in recent history.

The experiences of the Gulag are a unifying factor for many nations that were victims of Soviet oppression. During their years of operation, as many as 20 million people – many of whom were political prisoners and dissidents – spent time in the camps located throughout the Soviet Union. The authors include Anne Applebaum, an American journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for her book on the Gulag and Jehanne M Gheith, an American researcher of the Gulag who has interviewed Russian Gulag veterans.

Fear Was Behind Everything includes articles by more than 30 writers. The authors include Finnish, Estonian, Russian, British and American writers, such as Professor Tauno Tiusanen, writer and journalist Jukka Rislakki, Russian/Estonian poet Igor Kotjuh, the Russian writer and Soviet-era dissident Vladimir Bukovski, Toomas Hiio who served as the secretary general of Estonia’s history commission, Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and the Estonian researcher Terje Anepaio.

The essay collection will be published on the 60th anniversary of the forced deportations carried out in Estonia on 25 March 1949. Forced deportations are included in the UN definition of genocide. After the end of World War II, there has been an extensive public debate on the crimes of the other major source of oppression in the 20th century, Nazi Germany. But the actions of the Soviet Union are much less known. Fear Was Behind Everything takes up this debate and enriches it with new perspectives.

Both of the editors also contributed articles to book.

Topping the charts of non-fiction Fear behind us all became a bestseller both in Finland and in Estonia and triggered intense debates.

""This book was wanted. This is a book worth rebelling for. This book put the author, Sofi Oksanen, right up in the face of all of Russia. And this book will be remembered for a long time."   Pekka Kylmäläinen, Aamulehti (Finland)

“This brick of a book edited by Sofi Oksanen and Imbi Paju is fearless stuff. It is an impressive and horrifying read, unfolding the entire spectrum of Soviet control over the Estonian people. There is no denying that it is an interesting and important work. It shows us what really happened to our neighbors, our brothers.” Seppo Paajanen, Etelä-Saimaa (Finland)


In Finnish:

Helsingin Sanomat 24.3.2009 Oula Silvennoinen
Etelä-Saimaa 15.4.1009 Seppo Paajanen
Kainuun Sanomat 15.4.2009 Seppo Turunen
Savon Sanomat 24.3.2009 Pekka Lilja

In Estonia:

Eesti Ekspress 12.2.2010 Kalev Kesküla
Õhtuleht 23.1.2010 Jaan Martinson

Rights sold to:

WSOY (Finland), EPL (Estonia).

Publishing information:


Kaiken takana oli pelko
Hardcover 2009
ISBN: 9789510351116
Publisher: WSOY


Kõige taga oli hirm
Hardcover 2010
ISBN-13: 9789949452453
Publisher: EPL


Buy Fear Behind Us All from (Finnish link)