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  Introduction Back To Top

After centuries of Danish, Swedish, German, and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Forcibly incorporated into the USSR in 1940 - an action never recognized by the US - it regained its freedom in 1991, with the collapse of the Soviet Union. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia has been free to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004.

  Geography Back To Top

Freshwater withdrawal (domestic/industrial/agricultural):
total: 1.41 cu km/yr (56%/39%/5%)
per capita: 1,060 cu m/yr (2002)

Total renewable water resources:
21.1 cu km (2005)

Land boundaries:
total: 633 km
border countries: Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km

Environment - international agreements:
party to: Air Pollution, Air Pollution-Nitrogen Oxides, Air Pollution-Persistent Organic Pollutants, Air Pollution-Sulfur 85, Air Pollution-Volatile Organic Compounds, Antarctic Treaty, Biodiversity, Climate Change, Climate Change-Kyoto Protocol, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Wetlands
signed, but not ratified: none of the selected agreements

maritime, wet, moderate winters, cool summers

Map references:

Geographic coordinates:
59 00 N, 26 00 E

Natural resources:
oil shale, peat, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m

marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south

Geography - note:
the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands

total: 45,226 sq km
land: 43,211 sq km
water: 2,015 sq km
note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea

Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia

3,794 km

Area - comparative:
slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined

Irrigated land:
40 sq km (2003)

Environment - current issues:
air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amount of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen steadily, the emissions of 2000 were 80% less than in 1980; the amount of unpurified wastewater discharged to water bodies in 2000 was one-20th the level of 1980; in connection with the start-up of new water purification plants, the pollution load of wastewater decreased; Estonia has more than 1,400 natural and manmade lakes, the smaller of which in agricultural areas need to be monitored; coastal seawater is polluted in certain locations

Maritime claims:
territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states

Natural hazards:
sometimes flooding occurs in the spring

Land use:
arable land: 12.05%
permanent crops: 0.35%
other: 87.6% (2005)

  People Back To Top

Total fertility rate:
1.42 children born/woman (2008 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.06 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.06 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.91 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.5 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:
1.1% (2001 est.)

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:
7,800 (2003 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 72.56 years
male: 67.16 years
female: 78.3 years (2008 est.)

Major infectious diseases:
degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea and hepatitis A
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2008)

definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2000 census)

Net migration rate:
-3.24 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Ethnic groups:
Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.3%, Finn 0.9%, other 2.2% (2000 census)

Median age:
total: 39.6 years
male: 36.2 years
female: 43.2 years (2008 est.)

1,307,605 (July 2008 est.)

Education expenditures:
5.1% of GDP (2004)

Population growth rate:
-0.632% (2008 est.)

Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)

Death rate:
13.35 deaths/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Infant mortality rate:
total: 7.45 deaths/1,000 live births
male: 8.62 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.21 deaths/1,000 live births (2008 est.)

HIV/AIDS - deaths:
fewer than 200 (2003 est.)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education):
total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2006)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 14.9% (male 100,143/female 94,450)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 420,896/female 462,072)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 76,171/female 153,873) (2008 est.)

Birth rate:
10.28 births/1,000 population (2008 est.)

Evangelical Lutheran 13.6%, Orthodox 12.8%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 1.4%, unaffiliated 34.1%, other and unspecified 32%, none 6.1% (2000 census)

noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian

  Government Back To Top

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Stanley Davis PHILLIPS
embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [372] 668-8100
FAX: [372] 668-8265

National holiday:
Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note - 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union

18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens

Government type:
parliamentary republic

Political pressure groups and leaders:
Nochnoy Dozor/Night Watch anti-fascist movement (leader Alexander KOROBOV)

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Vaino REINART
chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 588-0101
FAX: [1] (202) 588-0108
consulate(s) general: New York

International organization participation:
Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CE, EAPC, EBRD, EIB, EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO (correspondent), ITU, ITUC, MIGA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Legislative branch:
unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members are elected by popular vote to serve four-year terms)
elections: last held 4 March 2007 (next to be held in March 2011)
election results: percent of vote by party - Estonian Reform Party 27.8%, Center Party of Estonia 26.1%, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 17.9%, Social Democratic Party 10.6%, Estonian Greens 7.1%, Estonian People's Union 7.1%, other 5%; seats by party - Estonian Reform Party 31, Center Party 29, Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica 19, Social Democratic Party 10, Estonian Greens 6, Estonian People's Union 6

Legal system:
based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations

Flag description:
pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990 - three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white

20 August 1991 (from Soviet Union)

Country name (Goverment):
conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
conventional short form: Estonia
local long form: Eesti Vabariik
local short form: Eesti
former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic

Political parties and leaders:
Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) [Edgar SAVISAAR]; Estonian Greens (Rohelised) [Marek STRANDBERG]; Estonian People's Union (Rahvaliit) [Villu REILJAN]; Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) [Andrus ANSIP]; Social Democratic Party (formerly People's Party Moodukad or Moderates) [Ivari PADAR]; Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica (Isamaa je Res Publica Liit) [Mart LAAR]

name: Tallinn
geographic coordinates: 59 26 N, 24 43 E
time difference: UTC+2 (7 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)
daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

adopted 28 June 1992

Executive branch:
chief of state: President Toomas Hendrik ILVES (since 9 October 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
cabinet: Council of Ministers appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament
elections: president elected by Parliament for a five-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after three rounds of balloting in the Parliament, then an electoral assembly (made up of Parliament plus members of local governments) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest percentage of votes; election last held 23 September 2006 (next to be held in the fall of 2011); prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Toomas Hendrik ILVES elected president on 23 September 2006 by a 345-member electoral assembly; ILVES received 174 votes to incumbent Arnold RUUTEL's 162; remaining 9 ballots left blank or invalid

Administrative divisions:
15 counties (maakonnad, singular - maakond): Harjumaa (Tallinn), Hiiumaa (Kardla), Ida-Virumaa (Johvi), Jarvamaa (Paide), Jogevamaa (Jogeva), Laanemaa (Haapsalu), Laane-Virumaa (Rakvere), Parnumaa (Parnu), Polvamaa (Polva), Raplamaa (Rapla), Saaremaa (Kuressaare), Tartumaa (Tartu), Valgamaa (Valga), Viljandimaa (Viljandi), Vorumaa (Voru)
note: counties have the administrative center name following in parentheses

Judicial branch:
National Court (chairman appointed by Parliament for life)

  Economy Back To Top

Exports - partners:
Finland 17.9%, Sweden 13.2%, Latvia 11.4%, Russia 8.9%, Lithuania 5.8%, Germany 5.2%, US 4.1% (2007)

Electricity - consumption:
7.331 billion kWh (2006 est.)

Electricity - imports:
400 million kWh (2007 est.)

Current account balance:
-$3.037 billion (2008 est.)

Debt - external:
$29.5 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Unemployment rate:
5.1% (2008 est.)

Oil - exports:
7,000 bbl/day (2005)

GDP - per capita (PPP):
$21,900 (2008 est.)

Investment (gross fixed):
29.4% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of domestic credit:
$21.35 billion (31 December 2007)

GDP (purchasing power parity):
$28.6 billion (2008 est.)

GDP (official exchange rate):
$25.21 billion (2008 est.)

Distribution of family income - Gini index:
34 (2005)

Exchange rates:
krooni (EEK) per US dollar - 10.537 (2008 est.), 11.535 (2007), 12.473 (2006), 12.584 (2005), 12.596 (2004)
note: the krooni is pegged to the euro

GDP - real growth rate:
-1.5% (2008 est.)

Stock of money:
$7.158 billion (31 December 2007)

Labor force:
686,000 (2008 est.)

Imports - partners:
Finland 15.9%, Germany 12.8%, Sweden 10.1%, Russia 10%, Latvia 7.6%, Lithuania 6.9%, Poland 4.5% (2007)

Inflation rate (consumer prices):
10.5% (2008 est.)

GDP - composition by sector:
agriculture: 2.9%
industry: 32.3%
services: 64.8% (2008 est.)

Oil - imports:
28,170 bbl/day (2005)

$13.16 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Natural gas - consumption:
1.48 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Currency (code):
Estonian kroon (EEK)

Economy - overview:
Estonia, a 2004 European Union entrant, has a modern market-based economy and one of the highest per capita income levels in Central Europe. Estonia's successive governments have pursued a free market, probusiness economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to promarket reforms. Tallin's priority has been to sustain high growth rates - on average 8% over the last four years. The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, and Germany. The current government has pursued relatively sound fiscal policies, resulting in balanced budgets and low public debt. Rapid growth, however, had made it difficult to keep inflation and large current-account deficits from soaring, putting downward pressure on the country's currency. The government has not given up on joining the euro, but has repeatedly postponed its euro adoption target. Estonia's economy slowed down markedly and even fell into recession in mid-2008, primarily as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the real estate market bubble burst.

Natural gas - exports:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

Imports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 33.5%, chemical products 11.6%, textiles 10.3%, foodstuffs 9.4%, transportation equipment 8.9% (2001)

engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications

Electricity - exports:
3.179 billion kWh (2007 est.)

Population below poverty line:
5% (2003)

Commercial bank prime lending rate:
6.46% (31 December 2007)

Stock of quasi money:
$4.253 billion (31 December 2007)

Electricity - production:
9.158 billion kWh (2006 est.)

$16.23 billion f.o.b. (2008 est.)

Oil - proved reserves:
0 bbl (1 January 2006 est.)

Labor force - by occupation:
agriculture: 5.3%
industry: 34%
services: 60.7% (2005)

Natural gas - proved reserves:
0 cu m (1 January 2006 est.)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold:
$3.657 billion (31 December 2008 est.)

Oil - consumption:
30,440 bbl/day (2006 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - abroad:
$6.723 billion (2008 est.)

Public debt:
3.8% of GDP (2008 est.)

Stock of direct foreign investment - at home:
$18.94 billion (2008 est.)

Market value of publicly traded shares:
$6.037 billion (31 December 2007)

Currency code:

Household income or consumption by percentage share:
lowest 10%: 2.5%
highest 10%: 27.6% (2003)

Exports - commodities:
machinery and equipment 33%, wood and paper 15%, textiles 14%, food products 8%, furniture 7%, metals, chemical products (2001)

Economic aid - recipient:
$135.5 million (2004)

Electricity - production by source:
fossil fuel: 99.8%
hydro: 0.1%
nuclear: 0%
other: 0.2% (2001)

Natural gas - imports:
1.48 billion cu m (2007 est.)

Natural gas - production:
0 cu m (2007 est.)

revenues: $8.92 billion
expenditures: $9.091 billion (2008 est.)

Fiscal year:
calendar year

Oil - production:
7,430 bbl/day (2007 est.)

  Communications Back To Top

Internet users:
780,000 (2007)

Telephones - main lines in use:
495,500 (2007)

605,000 (1997)

Internet country code:

Radio broadcast stations:
AM 0, FM 98, shortwave 0 (2001)

1.01 million (1997)

Telephones - mobile cellular:
1.982 million (2007)

Television broadcast stations:
3 (2001)

Telephone system:
general assessment: foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures greatly improved telephone service; substantial fiber-optic cable systems carry telephone, TV, and radio traffic in the digital mode; Internet services are widely available; schools and libraries are connected to the Internet, a large percentage of the population files income-tax returns online, and online voting was used for the first time in the 2005 local elections
domestic: a wide range of high quality voice, data, and Internet services is available throughout the country
international: country code - 372; fiber-optic cables to Finland, Sweden, Latvia, and Russia provide worldwide packet-switched service; 2 international switches are located in Tallinn (2001)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs):
38 (2001)

Internet hosts:
645,495 (2008)

  Transportation Back To Top

320 km (2008)

gas 859 km (2007)

total: 816 km
broad gauge: 816 km 1.520 m/1.524-m gauge (131 km electrified) (2007)

Ports and terminals:
Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Tallinn, Virtsu

1 (2007)

Merchant marine:
total: 29
by type: cargo 5, passenger/cargo 21, petroleum tanker 2, chemical tanker 1
foreign-owned: 4 (Denmark 1, Germany 1, Norway 2)
registered in other countries: 85 (Antigua and Barbuda 23, Belize 6, Cyprus 5, Dominica 7, Finland 2, Latvia 2, Liberia 1, Malta 11, Norway 1, Panama 5, Saint Kitts and Nevis 3, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 16, Sweden 2, Vanuatu 1) (2008)

Airports - with paved runways:
total: 12
over 3,047 m: 1
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 1
914 to 1,523 m: 3 (2007)

total: 57,016 km
paved: 12,926 km (includes 99 km of expressways)
unpaved: 44,090 km (2005)

Airports - with unpaved runways:
total: 7
over 3,047 m: 1
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2007)

19 (2007)

  Military Back To Top

Military service age and obligation:
compulsory military service for men between 19 and 28; conscription lasts 11 months for junior NCOs and reserve platoon leaders; reserve officers and designated specialists have a different conscript service obligation; Estonia has committed to retaining conscription for men up to 2010 and, unlike Latvia and Lithuania, has no plan to transition to a contract armed forces; 17 years of age for volunteers; reserve commitment up to the age of 60 (2006)

Manpower available for military service:
males age 16-49: 306,273
females age 16-49: 317,852 (2008 est.)

Manpower fit for military service:
males age 16-49: 218,448
females age 16-49: 264,187 (2008 est.)

Military branches:
Estonian Defense Forces: Land Force, Navy, Air Force (Eesti Ohuvagi), Volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit, KL) (2008)

Manpower reaching militarily significant age annually:
male: 8,322
female: 7,846 (2008 est.)

Military expenditures:
2% of GDP (2005 est.)

  Transnational Issues Back To Top

Disputes - international:
Russia recalled its signature to the 1996 technical border agreement with Estonia in 2005, rather than concede to Estonia's appending prepared a unilateral declaration referencing Soviet occupation and territorial losses; Russia demands better accommodation of Russian-speaking population in Estonia; Estonian citizen groups continue to press for realignment of the boundary based on the 1920 Tartu Peace Treaty that would bring the now divided ethnic Setu people and parts of the Narva region within Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU's external border, Estonia must implement the strict Schengen border rules with Russia

Illicit drugs:
growing producer of synthetic drugs; increasingly important transshipment zone for cannabis, cocaine, opiates, and synthetic drugs since joining the European Union and the Schengen Accord; potential money laundering related to organized crime and drug trafficking is a concern, as is possible use of the gambling sector to launder funds; major use of opiates and ecstasy

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