The occupations detailed in the museum were those of Nazi Germany and then the Soviet Union. I watched some propaganda films of Estonians literally singing the praises of
Josef Stalin, yet he deported 87,000 Estonians to Siberia. These people were given a small wooden suitcase to pack their belongings in and then were shipped off, sometimes forever, to the Gulags.
Then, in one of those weird coincidences that happen sometimes, I saw that same type of Lenin ‘badge’ that I’d seen in The Grand Bazaar. However, this time the ‘badge’ had a ribbon attached to it and I suddenly realised that what I’d seen in Istanbul wasn’t a badge at all but an Order of Lenin, First Class, a medal awarded to precious few Soviet dignitaries.
‘I believe that the human face is the best document of time,’ says Birgit Püve. Since 2012, she has been capturing the humour and defiance, modernity and traditionalism in Estonia as the country forges ahead two decades after the last Soviet soldiers left