This poignant coming-of-age story shows the effect of the Stalinist terror visited on the Baltic countries in the 1950s from the point of view of a traumatized six-year-old Estonian girl, who sees her school principal mother arrested and taken away at gun-point.
She believes that her own mischievous behavior has caused her mother to leave. Although intelligent and inquisitive, little Leelo Tungal doesn't understand the political portents of the times. She sees the red-kerchiefed "young pioneers" who attend the provincial school where her father teaches and longs to join their ranks and sing the Soviet anthem with them.
She's puzzled by the way normal language has changed. "What's a comrade?" she asks her father, "It's a respected person, like Sir or Madam used to be," he replies. The Little Comrade is based on two autobiographical novels by Tungal, who is one of Estonia's most beloved writers.