Estonia

 

Estonia Destinations Travel Guide

 

Language: Estonian

Currency: Estonian kroon (EEK)

Calling Code:  372

 

History of Estonia

 

Description of Estonia

Estonia, officially the Republic of Estonia, is a Baltic republic located in northern Europe. Since 2004, it has been part of the European Union (EU) and NATO. It is bordered on the south by Latvia, on the east by Russia, on the north by the Gulf of Finland and on the west by the Baltic Sea. The territory of Estonia comprises a continental region and a set of 2 222 islands and islets within the Baltic Sea, covering a total of 45 228 km2. It is divided politically into 15 counties, and the capital of the country is its largest city, Tallinn With a population of 1.3 million, Estonia is one of the least populated countries within the European Union. The Estonian people are ethnically and linguistically related to the Finnish and have historical and cultural ties with the Nordic countries as well as the other two Baltic countries, this despite the fact that the Nordic countries do not yet recognize their affiliation to this group, although they are negotiations to join the Nordic Council, being the member countries observers of the Nordic bloc. Estonia adopted the euro on January 1, 2011, replacing the Estonian crown.

 

Until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, Estonians called themselves maarahvas, which literally means “the people of the earth,” that is, engaged in agriculture. The term eestlane comes from Latin (Aesti). So called Tacitus in "Germany" the people inhabiting the far coast of the Baltic Sea. Ancient Scandinavian sagas contain a mention of a land called Eistland - so Estonia is still called in the Icelandic language, which is close to the Danish, German, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian versions of the name - Estland. Early Latin sources also contain versions of the name of the territory of Estia and Hestia (Estia and Hestia).

After independence in 1918, the country received the name "Estonia" (Esthonia), under this name it joined the League of Nations in 1921. After joining the USSR in 1940, the country was renamed the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic, and after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, it became known as the Republic of Estonia.

 

Travel Destinations in Estonia

Tallinn

 

North Estonia
Rakvere
Paldiski
Kunda
Tapa
Käsmu
Türi
Võsu
Aruküla
Kaberneeme
Laulasmaa
Lahemaa National Park
Paide Castle
Toolse Castle

 

East Estonia

Narva
Narva-Jõesuu
Jõhvi
Sillamäe

Mustvee
Toila
Kohtla-Järve
Kuremäe
Püssi

 

West Estonia and Islands
Pärnu
Haapsalu
Kuressaare
Kärdla
Kabli
Noarootsi
Valgeranna
Nõva
Saaremaa Island
Hiiumaa Island
Matsalu National Park
Vilsandi National Park

 

South Estonia

Tartu
Viljandi
Otepää
Valga
Võru
Obinitsa
Tõrva
Elva

Soomaa National Park
Laiuse Castle
Sangaste Manor
Taevaskoja Sandstone Cliffs

 

Etymology

Until the 18th-19th centuries, Estonians called themselves maarahvas, which literally means "people of the earth", that is, engaged in agriculture. The term eestlane comes from Latin (Aesti). This is how Tacitus called in "Germany" the people inhabiting the far shore of the Baltic Sea.

The ancient Scandinavian sagas contain a mention of a land called Eistland (Estland) - so Estonia is still called in Icelandic, which is close to the Danish, German, Dutch, Swedish and Norwegian version of the name - Estland (Estland). Early sources in Latin also contain versions of the name of the territory Estia and Hestia (Estia and Hestia).

After declaring independence in 1918, the country received the name "Estonia" (Esthonia), under this name it joined the League of Nations in 1921. According to the constitutions of 1920 and 1934, the country was called the Republic of Estonia. In 1940, with the accession to the USSR, the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic was formed, and after the collapse of the USSR in 1991, the pre-Soviet name was restored.

The toponym Estland/Eistland is associated with the Old Norse aust, austr, which means "east".

 

History

The first settlements arose in the territory where modern Estonia is located, in 9600-9500 BC. e. within the framework of the so-called Kund culture. By the 10th-13th centuries, an early feudal structure of society had developed, where elders and leaders of military squads were at the head of the lands.

In the XIII century, the crusaders, having suppressed the resistance of the Estonians, included their lands in the lands of the Livonian Order. Since that time, the Germans have occupied key positions in power structures, culture, economy and so on in Estonia for several centuries. In the 16th century, Estonia went through the era of the Reformation, since that time Protestantism has become the main religious denomination on its territory. In the same century, following the results of the Livonian War, northern Estonia became part of Sweden, and half a century later, southern Estonia was also included in Sweden.

Following the results of the Northern War between the Russian Empire and the Kingdom of Sweden, on August 30 (September 10), 1721, the Treaty of Nystadt was signed. Sweden recognized the annexation of Livonia, Estonia and other territories to Russia, and Russia undertook to pay compensation to Sweden in 2 million efimki (1.3 million rubles) for these lands. After the collapse of the Russian Empire, the southern part of the Livland province became part of Latvia, and the northern part became part of Estonia.

According to the 1897 census, 958,000 people lived in the Estland province, of which slightly more than 90% were Estonians, 4.5% Russians and 3.5% Germans.

After the collapse of the Russian Empire on February 24, 1918, the Republic of Estonia was proclaimed. Independence was achieved during the War of Independence. On February 2, 1920, the RSFSR and Estonia signed a peace treaty on mutual recognition.

On June 15, 1920, the constitution of the Republic of Estonia was adopted (entered into force on December 21). According to her, Estonia was a parliamentary republic. The Riigikogu (“National Assembly”) became the highest body of legislative power.

On September 22, 1921, Estonia became a member of the League of Nations.

In September 1939, the Mutual Assistance Pact was signed. On June 22, 1940, the State Duma of Estonia adopted the Declaration on joining the Soviet Union, and on August 6, Estonia was included in the USSR. In the period from July 7, 1941 to November 24, 1944, the territory of Estonia was occupied by Nazi Germany. After the Soviet troops occupied the territory of Estonia, the control of the USSR was restored on it, the USA and a number of other countries recognized the inclusion of Estonia in the USSR de facto and did not recognize it de jure. Most Western historians and political scientists, as well as a number of Russian ones, characterize the annexation process as occupation and annexation.

On May 8, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Estonian SSR adopted a law restoring the validity of the 1938 Constitution of the independent Republic of Estonia. On August 20, 1991, Estonia confirmed its independence, and on September 17 of the same year was admitted to the UN. On May 1, 2004, Estonia became a member of the European Union and NATO.

On December 9, 2010, Estonia became the first among the post-Soviet countries to become a member of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. On 1 January 2011, Estonia switched to the euro.

 

Geography

The area of ​​the country is 45,227 km2, the length from north to south is 240 km, and from west to east 350 km. Located in the northeastern part of Europe. It is washed from the north by the waters of the Gulf of Finland, from the west by the Baltic Sea and the Gulf of Riga, it borders on Latvia in the south and Russia in the east. Estonia has a land border with Latvia; the border with Russia runs along the Narva River, Lake Peipsi and Pskov and along the land section with the Pskov region. The length of the coastline is 3794 km. Estonia includes 2,355 islands in the Baltic Sea with a total area of ​​4.2 thousand km2. The largest of them are Saaremaa (2673 km2) and Hiiumaa (1023.26 km2), as well as Muhu (206 km2), Vormsi (93 km2), Kihnu (16.4 km2) and others. less than 5% of the country's population lives. The rivers of Estonia are small, but full-flowing enough. The climate of Estonia is transitional from temperate maritime to temperate continental with mild winters and cool summers. The climate is greatly influenced by Atlantic cyclones, the air is always humid due to the proximity of the sea.

Estonian lakes occupy about 5% of the country's territory, there are more than 1100 of them, almost all of them are of glacial origin. According to more accurate information, there are approximately 1200 natural lakes in Estonia (having an area of ​​​​more than one hectare, that is, 0.01 km²) and they occupy 4.7% of the country's area.

The 4 largest islands of the West Estonian archipelago have the status of a UNESCO biosphere reserve (high diversity of alvar habitats, support for the European mink population).

There are a total of 3,923 protected natural sites in Estonia, of which 231 nature reserves, 157 landscape reserves, 6 national parks, 59 areas with old or not updated protection procedures, 512 parks and forest stands, 319 nature reserves, 1,553 permanent habitats, 23 natural sites protected at the local level. municipalities and 1,066 separate protected natural objects, which together make up 23% of the country's territory.

 

Political system

According to the current constitution, adopted in 1992, Estonia is an independent democratic parliamentary republic in which the people are the supreme bearer of power.

Legislative power is vested in the Riigikogu, a unicameral parliament with 101 members elected by proportional representation in equal and direct elections. All able-bodied citizens of the country who have reached the age of 18 have the right to participate in the elections of the parliament, which is elected for 4 years. The last parliamentary elections took place in March 2019.

Any Estonian citizen who has reached the age of 21 and has the right to vote can run for office in the Riigikogu. Elections for the Riigikogu are held on the first Sunday in March of the fourth year after the previous ones. In some cases, by decision of the president, snap elections may be announced (there have never been held so far). The exact procedure for elections to the Riigikogu is established by the Riigikogu Election Act. Distribution of seats in the Riigikogu:
Reform Party: composition of the faction - 34 deputies;
Center Party: composition of the faction - 25 deputies;
Conservative People's Party of Estonia: composition of the faction - 19 deputies;
Party "Fatherland": composition of the faction - 12 deputies;
Estonian Social Democratic Party: composition of the faction - 10 deputies;
Deputies who are not members of factions - 1 deputy

The head of state is the president, who is elected for a term of 5 years, but not more than 2 terms, by members of the Riigikogu or an electoral college by secret ballot. The Electoral College consists of members of parliament and delegates from all local government councils and is convened when none of the presidential candidates manages to gain the required majority of votes in parliament (two-thirds of the constitutional composition). The Electoral College elects the President of the Republic by a majority vote. Each member of the Riigikogu or the Electoral College has 1 vote.

Executive power belongs to the government. The government is headed by the prime minister, who is the leader of the party that won the parliamentary elections, or the leader of the parliamentary coalition. The Cabinet of Ministers is approved by the President on the proposal of a candidate for Prime Minister who has received the approval of Parliament.

Supervision of compliance with the constitution and legislation by state bodies is carried out by the Chancellor of Justice - an independent official appointed by parliament on the proposal of the president. Economic control over the use of the state budget and property is carried out by another independent body - the State Control.

The highest court is the State Court, the courts of appeal are district courts, the courts of first instance are county courts, city and administrative courts, the prosecutor's office is the State Prosecutor's Office, district prosecutor's offices.

All issues of local life are decided by local governments, which act autonomously within the limits of the law, have their own budget and the right to establish some local taxes and fees (for example, tax on advertising, closing streets and roads, on pets, on entertainment establishments and events, fees for parking, etc.). The main body of local self-government is the council, elected for a four-year term by the permanent residents of the given municipality (unlike parliamentary elections, stateless persons and citizens of other countries with permanent resident status can also vote in local elections).

On January 26, 2021, Kaya Kallas became the first female Prime Minister of Estonia. It is noteworthy that out of 14 ministers in the Kallas government, half (7 ministers) are women, which is a record for the country, and until recently, a woman Kersti Kaljulaid was also the president of Estonia.

Political parties
According to the law, able-bodied Estonian citizens who have reached the age of 18 and citizens of other countries belonging to the European Union permanently residing in Estonia can be members of political parties. For official registration, a party must have at least 500 members. Members of political parties may not be members of the armed forces, judges, prosecutors, police officers and a number of senior state officials (Chancellor of Justice and his advisers, State Comptroller) who are in active service. The President of the Republic is obliged to suspend his membership in the party (if any) for the duration of his official duties.

Registered parties that participated in parliamentary elections and received at least 1% of the votes are eligible to receive funding from the state budget (the amount depends on the percentage of votes received).

According to 2009 data, 5.8% of Estonian residents are members of political parties.

Unions
The largest trade union center is the Central Organization of Trade Unions of Estonia.

 

Administrative division

15 counties (maakonds), headed by county elders (appointed for a period of 5 years by the government on the proposal of the Minister for Regional Affairs) and subdivided into 79 local governments, of which 15 are urban and 64 are rural.

Cities
In the country, 33 settlements have the status of cities. The capital Tallinn has about 400 thousand inhabitants (almost a third of the country's population). The second largest city (almost 100 thousand people) is Tartu, the third (more than 50 thousand people) is Narva. In the north-east of the country there is a polycentric agglomeration with a population of about 150 thousand people (the largest cities are Narva, Kohtla-Järve, Jõhvi, Sillamäe and Kiviõli), which is the second largest urban agglomeration in the country after the capital.

 

Economy

Among the post-communist countries, Estonia is one of the most developed. In terms of GDP per capita (nominal) - $ 27,100 (2nd place after Slovenia, 2021). In terms of GDP per capita (PPP) - $ 41,892 (3rd place after Slovenia and the Czech Republic, 2021).

The average salary in Estonia in December 2021 was 1756 €. As of December 2021, Estonia had the highest net average among all post-communist countries in the world (€1392.45); as of January 1, 2022 - the second net minimum wage after Slovenia (749.73 €, in Estonia - 604.37 €). The average wage (gross) in Estonia in December 2021 was 1756 € and (net, after taxes) 1392.45 €. The minimum gross wage in Estonia from January 1, 2022 is 654 €, the minimum net salary is 604.37 €.

Post-war level
One of the important areas of economic activity before the Second World War was agriculture, while agricultural products also accounted for a significant share of exports. A material-intensive and labor-intensive energy industry, civil maritime navigation and mechanical engineering developed.

In Estonia (as well as in other Baltic countries) there were the best starting conditions in the USSR for building a market economy. A vast innovative potential has been accumulated here. In the 1970s and 1980s, the Baltic states were the leaders in the USSR in terms of investment in fixed assets per capita.

period of independence
After the restoration of independence, the Estonian economy was restructured in accordance with market principles and reoriented towards Western Europe. On June 20, 1992, Estonia introduced its own national currency, the Estonian kroon, instead of the Soviet ruble. The Estonian kroon was pegged to the German mark (with an exchange rate of 8 kroons to 1 mark). The adoption of the national currency meant that the Bank of Estonia could issue money if the country had a foreign currency reserve equivalent to the value of the issued Estonian kroons. From January 1, 1999, the Estonian kroon was pegged to the euro, as Germany began to use the common European currency. On January 1, 2011, the euro is put into circulation, completely replacing the krone.

A positive role in the success of economic transformations in 1991-1993 was played by more than $ 285 million of foreign aid, loans and credits, as well as the fact that Estonia received more than $ 100 million from the funds of the pre-war republic, frozen in foreign banks in 1940 in connection with the accession countries to the USSR.

According to the HDI indicator, the UN ranked the country in the group of "developing" until 2000, while the formation of a market economy was taking place.

In 1999, Estonia joined the World Trade Organization. The main trading partners are Finland, Sweden, Germany and Russia. The negative trade balance remains the most serious problem. In 2004 Estonia joined the European Union.

GDP per capita (purchasing power parity): $32,130 (2017).

The average monthly salary in 2008 was 12,912 crowns (€825), in the third quarter of 2009 it was 11,770 crowns (€752). In the second quarter of 2013, the average salary in Estonia was € 976, in December 2020 - € 1604.

During the period 2000-2005, GDP grew by 60%. However, during the global economic crisis in 2008, it fell by 3.6%, and in the third quarter of 2009, the fall in GDP was 15.6% compared to the same period of the previous year. The period from the third quarter of 2009 to the fourth quarter of 2010 saw a consistent increase in GDP. Real exports in the fourth quarter of 2010 increased by 53%. In 2010, GDP growth was 3.1%. Thus, in 2010 the Estonian economy emerged from the crisis.

The unemployment rate fell from 12% in 2001 to 4.7% in 2007, but in the third quarter of 2009 it was already 14.6%, and in the first quarter of 2010 it rose to 19.8%. As of June 3, 2011, the registered unemployment rate in Estonia fell to 8.7% of the economically active population. According to Statistics Estonia, in the fourth quarter of 2010 the total number of unemployed fell to 93,000 and the unemployment rate to 13.6%. Estonia ranked 2nd in the EU in 2011 in terms of reducing the unemployment rate.

At the beginning of 2009, the country experienced an intensive decline in industrial production. In February 2009 it was 30% compared to February 2008, which was the largest decline in the EU. According to Eurostat, the growth of industrial production in Estonia in September 2010, compared to September 2009, amounted to 31.1% - thus, Estonia then ranked first in the European Union in this indicator. Estonia also has the lowest public debt and budget deficit of any EU country, and in 2010 it was one of only two EU countries (Malta being the other) to reduce its budget deficit.

 

On June 4, 2010, OECD Secretary General A. Gurria and Estonian Prime Minister A. Ansip signed an agreement in Tallinn on Estonia's accession to the organization.

The transition to the euro, in accordance with the plan of the Estonian government updated in June 2009, took place on January 1, 2011.

In 2017, Estonian GDP per capita reached 79% of the European Union average, which is a notable step forward. This means that for the first time Estonia has risen to a comparable level with some of the southern countries of the Eurozone - for example, with Portugal, much earlier than Estonia joined the European Union. In the 15 years that have passed since Estonia joined the EU - from 2004 to 2019 - the "net" average wage in the country has increased by more than 3.2 times, from € 363 to € 1162, and the minimum wage has increased by more than than 3.4 times, from €158.50 to €540. Estonian GDP at PPP doubled from 2004 to 2019, from $23.79 billion to $46.587 billion.

According to the forecasts of the Bank of Estonia, the average salary in 2019 will grow by 8.1% to €1415, and in 2020 by 6.4% to €1505. forecast by 2030 - € 2,364, by 2050 - € 5,166, and by 2070 - € 10,742.

The average monthly salary in Estonia in December 2021 was €1,756. The average salary in Estonia is higher than in Taiwan (NT$47,868, about €1,357), the poorest country of all four Asian tigers. From January 1, 2022, the minimum wage in Estonia is € 654.

Gender pay gap
As of 2020, the glass ceiling remains a serious problem in Estonia, in particular the gender pay gap, and it is observed in almost all areas of economic activity. According to statistics, in 2020, women's gross hourly wages were 15.6% lower than men's. In 2020, compared to 2019, the gender pay gap decreased by 1.5%, and compared to 2013, by 9.2%. In 2020, the average hourly gross hourly wage of working women was €7.70 and the average hourly gross hourly wage of working men was €9.13. The biggest pay gap between men and women in Estonia is found in financial and insurance activities (29.4%), mining and quarrying (26.1%) and information and communication (24.1%). As in 2019, in only one single economic activity – transportation and warehousing – did women earn more than men. In 2020, compared to 2019, the pay gap between men and women in Estonia decreased the most in the construction sector and increased the most in the catering and hospitality sectors.

The gender wage gap is calculated by subtracting the average gross hourly wage of women from the average gross hourly wage of men. The resulting value is divided by the average hourly gross salary of men and expressed as a percentage. The average hourly gross salary is calculated without taking into account irregular bonuses and additional payments.

Large companies
Over the 30 years of independence, 4 companies with a capitalization of more than $ 1 billion (unicorn companies) have appeared in Estonia: Skype, Bolt, TransferWise, Playtech. Having decided to invest in the development of e-services since independence, Estonia has carried out a number of reforms over the past 30 years. Also, due to an attractive business environment, a high level of education, a favorable environment for the dissemination of innovations and a developed e-services sector, Estonia has been able to become an attractive country for start-up companies. Statistics from the Estonian Tax and Customs Board for 2019 show that at the end of the second quarter of 2019, 4,848 people were employed by Estonian start-ups. A year ago, at the end of June 2018, the number of employees was 3369. This represents an annual growth of 44%. However, if you look at employees who have worked at Estonian startups for at least one day in the past six months, the number is even higher. According to Estonian statistics, during this period, 7421 people worked in Estonian startups. If we compare this with the entire economically active population of Estonia (695,700 people), we can see that every 93rd person in Estonia was somehow connected with start-ups.

Tallink is the largest passenger and cargo transportation company in the Baltic Sea region, as well as the largest civil maritime shipping company in the former USSR (9,756,611 passengers in 2018).
Bolt is an Estonian international transport network company founded and headquartered in Tallinn. The company has released a special mobile application for searching, calling and paying both taxis and private drivers. In February 2019, Bolt was active in 30 countries and 50 cities across Europe, Africa, Western Asia and Australia. More than 25 million users travel through the Bolt app, and more than 500,000 drivers use it to travel.
AS SEB Pank is the Estonian branch of the international financial group Skandinaviska Enskilda Banken.
Hansabank (since 2009 Swedbank) - as of December 31, 2007, the total assets of the financial group amounted to € 25.826 billion.
Port of Tallinn is the third largest port complex on the eastern coast of the Baltic Sea (41.3 million tons of cargo, 6.76 million passengers, 2006, 27.5 million tons of cargo, 8.84 million passengers, 2012).
Eesti Energia Kaevandused is an oil shale mining company in the northeast of Estonia, 17.2 million tons in 2015.
Narva power plants - over 10 billion kWh in 2006, export to Latvia - 1.5 billion kWh.
BLRT Grupp is a machine-building concern, consisting of 65 enterprises, owning ship repair and metalworking plants in Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia, Ukraine, Russia and Finland (turnover in the first half of 2008 - 2.9 billion kroons, 74% of products are exported - ships, mobile power plants, pontoons, etc.).
Viru Keemia Group JSC is a holding type concern, consisting of eight companies. Viru Keemia Grupp owns 100% of the shares of subsidiaries in this concern.

The TOP 10 Estonian industrial enterprises by average number of employees in 2015 are as follows:
AS Eesti Energia Kaevandused – oil shale mining – 2538;
JSC Ericsson Eesti - electrical industry - 1426;
JSC HKScan Estonia (merged in 2014 Rakvere Meat Plant and Tallinn Poultry Plant Talleg) - meat industry - 1284;
JSC "ABB" - mechanical engineering - 1057;
JSC "Norma" - production of auto parts - 856;
JSC PKC Eesti - production of auto parts - 766;
JSC Enics Eesti - electrical industry - 743;
JSC "Wendre" - textile mill - 667;
JSC "Eesti Energia Narva Elektrijaamad" - electricity generation - 644;
AS Stora Enso Eesti - woodworking industry - 620.

Banks in Estonia
Bank of Estonia - the central bank;
swedbank;
SEB;
BIGBANK;
Coop Pank;
LHV Bank;
Luminor Bank;
inbank;
Tallinna Ripank;
Versobank.

In addition to banks that are legal entities of the republic, representative offices of banks that are foreign legal entities operate in Estonia and, in particular, work with the population (individuals):
Citadele Banka AS (Latvia).

International institutions
Estonia hosts the management and information centers of several international and European organizations and institutions.

In November 2012, the headquarters of the IT agency of the European Union began its work in Tallinn, including those involved in supporting the second generation Schengen information system. The NATO Cybersecurity Center operates in Tallinn.

Population
The population of Estonia according to the 2021 census is 1,331,824 people.

By 1990, the population was about 40% higher than before the war (1570 thousand to 1122 thousand in 1940), while, along with migration from other Soviet republics, the Estonian population was also growing (951 thousand in 1940, 830 thousand in 1945, 966 thousand in 1991 - the maximum). From 1992 to 2009, there was a depopulation of the country, the cause of which was both mass emigration and negative natural growth. By 2008, the country's population had decreased by 14.5% compared to 1990, the Estonian population had fallen to 920,885 people (-4.69% compared to 1991).

In 2010, a positive population growth was achieved. In 2011, according to the CIA Book of Facts, the natural population decline was -0.641% (225th in the world).

National minorities, according to 2021 data, live mainly in Tallinn (46.7% of the non-Estonian population) and in the industrial area in the northeast, in the county of Ida-Virumaa (about 97% of the population in the city of Narva). Among national minorities, Russians are the largest ethnic group, followed by Ukrainians, Belarusians and others. Russians live in large cities and mostly dominate in the territories adjacent to the borders of Russia, in other regions of Estonia, including rural ones, - the complete dominance of Estonians. This is a distinctive feature of Estonia from other Baltic countries.

 

The official language is Estonian. The Russian language is also widely spoken.

As of 2021, the infection rate of the Estonian population with the human immunodeficiency virus per 100,000 population is 9.4.

The number of immigrants living in Estonia, according to UN estimates, decreased to 190,242 people (14.4% of the population) in 2019, compared to 381,997 people in 1995.

According to the 2021 Estonian census, 1,331,824 people lived in the country. Of these, the number of stateless people was 66,592 people, 1,128,433 people were citizens of Estonia, 81,695 people were citizens of Russia, 15,935 people were citizens of Ukraine, 5,038 people were citizens of Latvia, 4,677 people were citizens of Finland, 2,707 people were citizens of Belarus, 1 871 Lithuanian citizens, 1,796 German citizens, 1,317 Indian citizens, 1,300 French citizens, 1,267 Italian citizens, 1,124 British citizens, 1,094 Nigerian citizens, 689 unknown citizenship, 16,289 citizens other countries.

According to Eurostat, among the EU countries, Estonia and Slovenia recorded the highest increase in life expectancy.

Estonia has one of the lowest child and infant mortality rates in the world. According to the World Bank, as of 2019, among OECD countries, Estonia has the third (after Iceland and Slovenia) lowest infant mortality rate under the age of 5, at 2.4 per 1,000 live births, and the sixth lowest in the world. According to World Bank data for 2019, Estonia has the fifth lowest neonatal infant mortality rate in the world, at 1.1 per 1,000 live births. According to the World Bank for 2019, Estonia shares the sixth place in the world along with Finland in the lowest infant mortality rate under the age of 1 year, per 1000 live births (it is the same in both countries) - 1.9.

Russians and Russian-speaking population
According to the 2021 Estonian census, the permanent Russian population of Estonia is 23.67% of the country's population (315,252 people). Despite social, economic and political changes since the times of the USSR, as of 2022 in Estonia and neighboring Latvia, the Russian minority, in percentage terms, makes up the largest percentage of the population of any country in the world. According to the 2021 Estonian census, Russian is the native language of 379,210 people in the country. (28.47% of the Estonian population). Among them, in addition to Estonian citizens, there are Russian citizens (81,695 people) and stateless persons (66,592 people). Basically, these are the descendants of people who moved to Estonia in the period from 1914 to 1922 (the number of Russians in this period increased from 4 to 8.2%), as well as those who came to Estonia during the Soviet era from 1940 to 1991 (the number of Russians in this period increased from 8.2% to 30.3%) and their descendants.

The Russian population of Estonia according to the 2021 Estonian census was 315,252 people. (23.67% of the Estonian population).

In 2021, 149,883 people (47.54%) of Russians lived in Tallinn; Only 12,582 people (3.99%) of the total number of Russians in Estonia lived in Tartu.

According to the 2021 Estonian census, the number of stateless persons was 66,592. (5% of the Estonian population), of which 53,997 were ethnic Russians. (4.05% of the population of Estonia), the number of Russian citizens living in Estonia was 81,695 people. (6.13% of the Estonian population), of which 72,325 were ethnic Russians. (5.43% of the Estonian population).

In the Chudsky region (the cities of Kallaste and Mustvee, the parish of Peipsijärve), Russian Old Believers live, whose ancestors moved to the territory of Estonia in the 18th-19th centuries.

Social status
In Estonia, there are 3 types of benefits for pensioners - SKAIS (online system), KOPIS (funded pension) and KIRST (medical indications). For the unemployed, there are programs EMPIS (register of the unemployed) and STAR (Register of social services and benefits). For students there is an EHIS program.

Total pensioners - 422,941, unemployed - 38,768, employed - 629,945.

From April 1, 2022, the state pension index has increased in Estonia. According to the changes, the minimum monthly amount of the national pension (paid to persons who are not entitled to an old-age pension) is now € 275.34. The basic part of the pension has increased to €255.75 and the value of each year of service to €7.718. From April 1, 2021, the increase in the pension for raising children has increased by € 3.55 per child. In total, it affected about 203,300 people. In 2020, there were about 3,200 recipients of the national pension in Estonia. As of 2022, the average state old-age pension in Estonia is 595 euros per month. In 2022, the allowance for single pensioners is 200 euros per month. From January 1, 2023, pensioners in Estonia will be exempted from paying income tax in the amount of the average state pension in the country.

From April 1, 2021, the daily rate of disability benefit for total incapacity for work is € 15.13, and the amount of the benefit per month is € 453. For partial work ability, the benefit is 57% of the current daily rate, that is, an average of € 258 per month. The amount of the disability benefit is calculated by the Unemployment Insurance Fund for each calendar month.

The monthly child allowance as of 2019 is €60 for the first child, €60 for the second child and €100 for the third child and each subsequent child. The monthly allowance for a child as of July 2021, one of whose parents is in the military or alternative service, is € 900 per month for each child until the end of one of the parents in the military or alternative service.

From 2020, the allowance for a child with a moderate disability will be € 138, for a child with a severe disability - € 161. Children with a severe disability will start receiving benefits in the amount of € 241. About 13,000 children with disabilities live in Estonia. Compared to 2009, their number has almost doubled. In 2017, 5,000 children received benefits for children with moderate disabilities, 7,164 children received benefits for children with severe disabilities, and 732 children received benefits for children with severe disabilities.

Estonia has the longest 100% paid maternity leave in the world at 62 weeks. According to Estonian law, not only the mother, but also the father has the right to maternity leave. From July 1, 2020, 100% paid paternity leave is 30 days.

Since January 1, 2013, Tallinn's public transport has become free for all registered residents of the city. From 1 July 2018, passengers can use buses free of charge in 11 out of 15 Estonian counties.

 

Foreign policy

Since May 1, 2004, Estonia has been a member of the European Union, and since January 1, 2011, of the Eurozone. Thus, Estonia is one of the three former republics of the USSR integrated into the common European market and the Schengen area, as well as the first of the post-Soviet countries that switched to a single European currency and abandoned an independent monetary policy. Membership in the European Union also implies the priority of EU regulations over domestic legal regulations (in case of conflict with the latest acts of the European Union, all-Union regulations apply).

Since March 29, 2004, Estonia has also been a member of NATO. Participates in NATO military missions in Iraq and Afghanistan. On May 7, 2003, the Estonian Parliament authorized the deployment of troops to Iraq. On June 20, 2003, at the request of the American command, the first regular military personnel of the Estonian Defense Forces were sent to Iraq.

Since May 13, 1993 - Member of the Council of Europe.

Among other things, Estonia is a full member of the UN, OECD, OSCE and WTO.

Since May 1, 2004, when Estonia became a full member of the European Union, Estonian citizens can travel without a visa within the countries of the European Union and member states of the European Economic Area, as well as the Swiss Confederation. At the same time, they can cross borders both with a passport and with an ID-card.

As of April 3, 2020, Estonian citizens can visit a total of 179 states and territories without a visa, making the Estonian passport 13th in the world in terms of freedom of movement according to the Passport Index.

 

Culture

The Baltic-Finnish heritage is of great importance in the mentality and cultural traditions of Estonians.

Estonia is at the crossroads of different cultures. Culturally, they are related to the Latvians, Finns, Lithuanians, Russians of the north-west of Russia, Belarusians, Swedes and Germans.

The culture of Baltic Germans, Baltic Swedes and Russian Old Believers is also connected with the territory of Estonia.

After being captured by the crusaders in the second quarter of the 13th century, Estonia entered the sphere of direct influence of Western European culture.

In 1523, the Reformation movement reached Estonia. Lutheranism, which attached great importance to writing and literacy, laid the foundation for Estonian literature and the peasant school.

Restored in 1802, the university in Dorpat (now Tartu) became not only a conductor of Western culture, but also the cradle of national awakening. Newspapers in Estonian helped broaden the horizons and improve the literacy of the people. After the abolition of serfdom, along with economic life and the written language, a national culture (literature, musical creativity, art) was born. In 1869, the first singing festival took place in Dorpat; The song festival tradition is still an important part of Estonian culture and national identity.

As of 1897, the average literacy in the Estland province among Protestants was 83% (among all residents of Estland - 79.9%).

At the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, industrialization, modernization and the rapid development of cities had a strong influence on Estonian culture. In the first decade of the 20th century, the Baltic-German culture in Estonia had already faded into the background. In architecture, literature and music, along with following world trends, signs of a national style arose, artistically mature works appeared.

 

Sport

Estonia made its debut at the 1920 Olympic Games in Antwerp, three years later the country's Olympic Committee was created. In the 1920s and 1930s, Estonian athletes won 6 gold, 6 silver, 9 bronze medals - all the gold medals were won by wrestlers and weightlifters. Christian Palusalu at the 1936 Olympic Games won gold medals in both Greco-Roman and freestyle wrestling (one of only two wrestlers in history). Palusalu was recognized as the best athlete of the country of the 20th century.

In the 1930s, the country's chess team achieved significant success, and Paul Keres was one of the strongest players in the world in the middle of the 20th century.

At the 1952-1988 Olympic Games, Estonian athletes participated in the USSR national team. The sailing regatta of the 1980 Summer Olympics was held in Tallinn. Olympic gold medals were won by Ants Antson (skating), Johannes Kotkas (wrestling), Aavo Pikkuus, Erika Salumäe (both cycling), Tiit Sokk (basketball), Vilyar Loor (volleyball) , Ivar Stukolkin (swimming), Jaak Uudmäe (athletics).

In the post-Soviet period, Estonian athletes have won more than 20 medals at the Summer and Winter Olympics. The winners of the Summer Games were athletes Erki Nool (decathlon) and Gerd Kanter (discus throw), Jüri Jaanson (rowing), brothers Tõnu and Toomas Tõniste (sailing).

One of the world's winter sports centers is Otepää, which hosted the 2010 and 2015 European Biathlon Championships. Skiers Kristina Šmigun and Andrus Veerpalu were among the leaders in their sport in the 1990-2000s, Olympic champions.

Race car drivers Marco Martin and Ott Tänak won World Rally Championships.

 

Traditions

National symbols
Official
Limestone
In ancient times, there were large deposits of limestone in Estonia. The ancient Estonians built houses from it.

Cornflower
Cornflower grows in rye, and Estonians made bread from rye, which they greatly appreciated. Girls also wove wreaths from cornflowers.

barn swallow
The rustic swallow among the Estonians was associated with cleanliness and intelligence, because the swallows "predicted the weather." The swallow has the colors of the Estonian flag - black and white.

unofficial
Oak
Estonians associated oak with strength. The large coat of arms of Estonia is decorated with golden oak branches.

Holidays
Public holidays
January 1 New Year Uusaasta
24 February Independence Day (1918), anniversary of the Republic of Estonia Iseseisvuspäev, Eesti Vabariigi aastapäev
Good Friday Suur reede
First day of Easter Ülestõusmispühade 1. püha
May 1 Spring Festival Kevadpüha
Holy Trinity Day Nelipühade 1. püha
June 23 Victory Day (under Võnnu over the Landeswehr; 1919) Võidupüha
June 24 Midsummer Day Jaanipäev
August 20 Independence Restoration Day (1991) Taasiseseisvumispäev
24 December Christmas Eve Jõululaupäev
December 25, 26 Christmas Day 1. ja 2. Jõulupüha

State significant dates
January 6 Feast of the Three Kings (Epiphany) Kolmekuningapäev
February 2 Anniversary of the signing of the Tartu Peace Treaty Tartu rahulepingu aastapäev
March 14 Mother Tongue Day Emakeelepäev
Second Sunday in May Mother's Day Emadepäev
June 4 Estonian Flag Day Eesti lipu päev
June 14 Day of Mourning Leinapäev
August 23 Day of Remembrance for the Victims of Communism and Nazism Kommunismi ja natsismi ohvrite mälestuspäev
Second Sunday in September Grandparents' Day Vanavanemate päev
22 September Resistance Day Vastupanuvõitluse päev
Third Saturday in October Kindred Peoples' Day Hõimupäev
November 2 Memorial Day Hingedepäev
Second Sunday in November Father's Day Isadepäev
November 16 Taassünni päev Revival Day

Mass media
The Estonian media market is mainly controlled by two large concerns: Eesti Meedia and Ekspress Grupp.

Eesti Meedia owns several media in Estonia, including the largest Estonian newspaper Postimees and the second largest television channel Kanal 2. The owner of Eesti Meedia is the Norwegian company Schibsted Media Group, the chairman of the board is M. Kadastik, a friend of A. Ansip ( former prime minister of Estonia and chairman of the Estonian Reform Party).

The Ekspress Grupp concern, as of 2008, owns the companies Eesti Ekspressi Kirjastuse AS, AS Maaleht, AS Rahva Raamat, AS Printall, UAB Ekspress Leidyba, TeleTell Infoline SRL, OÜ Ekspress Internet", "AS Ekspress Hotline" and "AS Delfi". More than 60% of the Estonian population use the products of Ekspress Grupp. The largest shareholder of the Ekspress Grupp is the entrepreneur Hans H. Luik.

The Estonian Public Broadcasting Corporation (ERR) also operates in Estonia, funded from the state budget. ERR includes 2 Estonian television channels (ETV and ETV2, as well as the Russian-language channel ETV+), 5 Estonian radio channels and a number of Internet news portals. The chairman of the board of ERR is the ex-Minister of Culture of Estonia, a native of the Reform Party Margus Allikmaa.

TV
TV channels broadcasting in Estonian
In addition to the two public TV channels ETV (there is also an HD version) and ETV2, the commercial channel Kanal 2, the entertainment channel TV3, the Tallinn TV channel Tallinna TV, the international TV channel France 24 English, a test channel (TEST) are broadcast throughout Estonia. Besides:
TV6 - entertainment channel;
Kanal 11 - women's TV channel;
Kanal 12 - film channel, has its own test channel "TEST";
Neljas ("Fourth") - has programs of various genres;
Alo TV is a music channel of classical Estonian music;
Fox Life and Fox Crime Estonia are TV channels based on the American channels Fox Crime and Fox Life;
Sony and E!Entertaiment TV Estonia are TV channels based on the American channels Sony Entertainment and E!Entertaiment;
Tallinna TV - Tallinn TV channel, broadcast throughout Estonia, has its own HD version;
4 and 5 Multimania - children's TV channels from Latvia, broadcasting in Latvian, Lithuanian, Estonian and Russian;
Lolo TV - purely Estonian version of 4 and 5 Multimania, broadcasting in Estonian and Russian;
TV10 is a small Estonian sports channel;
TV1000 Eesti - created on the basis of the TV1000 channel and adapted for Estonia;
Seitse - music channel;
Musakanal - music channel, subsidiary of SEITSE;
Kinnisvara TV is a real estate channel.

 

TV channels broadcasting in Russian
ETV+ is a public legal TV channel of the Estonian Radio and Television Broadcasting (ERR), broadcasting in Russian. The TV channel began broadcasting on September 28, 2015. The main part of the morning and evening air is occupied by programs of our own production;
3+ Estonia is an entertainment channel owned by the Swedish media group Modern Times Group. The main part of the airtime is occupied by serials and programs of the Russian channels STS, TNT and TV-3;
PBK Estonia is a TV channel created on the basis of the Russian Channel One. The channel broadcasts both programs from Estonia and Russian programs;
Continent Europe is a TV channel for Russian-speaking residents of Europe. Most of the airtime is occupied by documentaries and Soviet cinema. The rest: programs from Estonia and some other European countries;
REN TV Estonia is a TV channel based on the Latvian TV channel REN TV Baltic, adapted for Estonia. The main content is programs from Russia;
Orsent TV - TV channel broadcasts mainly programs from Estonia and films of Soviet production. There is a special VTV program, where some programs are broadcast from Russia and Belarus;
TVN is a TV channel that broadcasts many programs of various genres from Estonia, as well as documentaries, concerts and Soviet cinema;
RTR-Planet Baltic is the Baltic version of the international TV channel RTR-Planet. Transfers only from Russia. Adapted for Estonia;
NTV Mir Estonia - the Estonian version of the NTV Mir channel;
CTC Estonia - the Estonian version of the CTC International TV channel;
LIFE TV is a family and Christian TV channel. Satellite Hot-Bird 13b, cable networks, IPTV, internet online. Broadcasting in Russian and Estonian.

radio stations
Radio stations broadcasting in Estonian
Estonian Radio is a structure that is a division of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Corporation and unites several radio channels:
Vikerraadio is the most popular Estonian radio station, in fact, the main radio station in Estonia;
Raadio 2 - news, music, etc.;
Klassikaraadio - classical music;
Raadio Tallinn is a Tallinn radio station broadcasting news releases, music programs, as well as rebroadcasting programs from foreign radio stations BBC, Deutsche Welle and RFI;
Kuku Raadio is one of the first commercial radio stations in Estonia;
Sky Plus - music, news, traffic information, radio quizzes;
Tartu Raadio is a radio station broadcasting in the city of Tartu;
Radio Mania - music, news, radio show, positions itself as a rock radio station;
Raadio 3 - news, music, etc.;
Raadio Elmar - music in the Adult Contemporary format;
Power Hiit Radio - TOP music;
Energy FM - TOP music;
Retro FM - Gold Retro music (70s, 80s, 90s, 00s);
Pärnu Raadio - radio station of the city of Pärnu (broadcasts only in the city of Pärnu and its environs);
Raadio Elmar - music, news, etc.;
Star FM - music, news, etc.;
Ring FM - music, news, etc.

Radio stations broadcasting in Russian
Rating data of radio stations broadcasting in Russian, according to TNS Gallup Media research

Radio 4 of Estonian Radio. The broadcasts of Radio 4 of the Estonian Radio can also be heard in Finland, Russia, Latvia and Sweden. The only Russian-language radio that focuses on conversational programs, as well as rebroadcasting programs from the foreign radio station Radio Liberty;
Russian radio;
SKY Radio;
People's Radio;
DFM;
Humor FM;
Wave;
Eli Family Radio/Voice of Hope/Transworld Radio.

Printed publications
in Estonian
"Eesti Päevaleht" - socio-political daily newspaper;
"Postimees" - socio-political daily newspaper, in Soviet times was the main newspaper of the city of Tartu and was published under the name "Edasi" (Forward);
"Õhtuleht" - a daily tabloid, in 2000-2008, after merging with the newspaper "Sõnumileht", it was published under the name "SL Õhtuleht";
Eesti Ekspress is a socio-political weekly published since 1989;
"Äripäev" - economic newspaper;
"Maaleht" - weekly, published since 1987;
Kesknädal is a regular newspaper associated with the Estonian Center Party;
Pealinn is a free newspaper published by the city of Tallinn.

In Russian
Delovye Vedomosti is a Russian-language economic newspaper published every two weeks. In addition to translated articles from Äripäev, the newspaper publishes original articles;
Komsomolskaya Pravda - Baltiya is the Baltic issue of the popular Russian newspaper Komsomolskaya Pravda. Published in a weekly format, except for Estonia, distributed in Latvia and Finland;
MK Estonia is the Estonian version of Moskovsky Komsomolets. The only all-republican weekly in Russian;
Stolitsa is a free newspaper published by the city of Tallinn.
The newspapers Postimees in Russian and Day by Day were officially closed in October 2016.

 

Bilingual (Russian and Estonian)
Linnaleht (City Newspaper) is a free weekly newspaper covering the news of the Estonian capital.
In other languages;
"The Baltic Times" (English);
"The Baltic Worldwide" (English);
"Baltische Rundschau" (German, English).

news sites
DELFI is a network of the largest online news portals in the Baltic States and Ukraine (until 2014). There are two DELFI portals in Estonia, in Estonian and in Russian, both of which are Estonia's leading news portals in terms of the number of visitors;
News portals ERR Uudised (in Estonian), Novosti ERR (in Russian) and ERR News (in English) of the Estonian Public Broadcasting Corporation;
Rus.postimees is the Internet portal of the Postimees newspaper. It has versions in Estonian, Russian and English;
Many Estonian newspapers have their own news websites;
"Southern Capital" - Russian-language information portal of the city of Tartu;
Sekundomer is a Russian-language online publication about sports in Estonia and sports events in Ida-Virumaa;
and others.

freedom of speech
According to the rating of the international organization Reporters Without Borders, in 2013 Estonia dropped from 3rd to 11th place in the world in terms of freedom of speech. A similar opinion about the high level of freedom of speech in Estonia is shared by the American non-governmental organization Freedom House.

In an article published in June 2010 by the Russian news agency REGNUM, a number of facts were presented that, according to the agency, testify to the constant pressure on journalists in Estonia.

In March 2011, the European Parliament adopted a resolution in which it expressed serious concern about the situation with media pluralism and freedom in a number of EU countries, including Estonia. In the same month, the Mayor of Tallinn, leader of the Estonian Center Party and former Estonian Prime Minister E. Savisaar (who signed a cooperation agreement with United Russia and was later on trial for corruption) issued a statement that the Estonian media were less free than Russian ones. According to Savisaar, A. Ansip, who at that time was the Prime Minister of Estonia, built a vertical of power, including in the information sphere, much tougher than Russian President V.V. Putin. In 2008, the Estonian Journalists' Union named Ansip as the main opponent of freedom of speech in Estonia.

Transport and communications
Since January 1, 2013, Tallinn's public transport has become free for all registered residents of the city. The right to travel free of charge is also granted to students under the age of 19, regardless of their place of residence, and is reserved for all groups of beneficiaries who previously had such a right. Also, from January 1, 2013, paper tickets were canceled and contactless plastic cards were introduced, which must be registered at the entrance to the transport through special registrars (validators). If you do not have a card, you must purchase a one-time ticket from the driver. Estonia became the first European country to introduce free public transport in almost the entire country. In 11 out of 15 counties, from July 1, 2018, passengers can use buses free of charge.

 

Electronic state (E-state)

Since 2000, the Estonian government has moved to paperless cabinet meetings using an electronic documentation network on the Internet. According to the results of the competition of the European Commission, the project for the transition of the public sector to electronic documents, as a result of which about 500 institutions have already joined the electronic document exchange, including all ministries, county governments and almost all departments and inspectorates, was recognized as the best in Europe.

Since 2000, it has been possible to file tax returns electronically in Estonia. In 2010, 92% of Estonian tax returns were submitted online. Through a single portal, a citizen can receive various public services via the Internet.

The Internet segment in Estonia is one of the most developed both in Europe and worldwide. In 2019, according to the ITU, there were 1,276,521 Internet users in the country, which was approximately 97.9% of the country's population, according to this indicator, Estonia ranked 1st in the EU. According to the tenth report of the Freedom House think tank, which analyzes the rights and freedoms of people in the public web space in 65 countries, which covers the period from June 2019 to June 2020: Estonia ranks second in the world in Internet freedom after Iceland Information Technology Estonia ranks 24th out of 142 countries of the world, and is confidently leading in the ranking of Internet openness. 71% of house and apartment owners, as well as all Estonian schools, have Internet access points. More than 1,100 free Wi-Fi zones have been created in the country. Since 2006, the construction of WiMAX wireless networks has begun in Estonia, which by 2013 cover almost the entire territory of the country.

As of January 2009, over 1,000,000 ID-card holders (90% of the total Estonian population) lived in Estonia. The ID-card is an identity document for all Estonian citizens over 15 years of age and permanent residents of Estonia who are in the country on the basis of a residence permit. With the help of an ID card, Estonian residents can verify their identity in both conventional and electronic ways, as well as use the card to obtain a digital signature, participate in elections, and even purchase public transport tickets.

In October 2005, online elections to local self-government bodies were held. Estonia became the first country in the world to implement internet voting as one of the means of voting. In 2007, Estonia became the first country in the world to provide its voters with the opportunity to vote via the Internet in parliamentary elections. A record 247,232 votes, 43.8% of the total, were cast online in the 2019 parliamentary elections in Estonia.

 

e-Residency

Electronic residence (e-Residency) is a program launched by the Estonian government on December 1, 2014, which allows people who are not Estonian citizens to have access to services from Estonia such as company formation, banking services, payment processing and tax payment. The program gives all its participants (so-called e-residents) smart cards, which they can use later to sign documents. The program is aimed at people from location-independent businesses such as software developers and writers.

British journalist Edward Lucas became the first virtual resident of Estonia.

Virtual residency is not related to citizenship and does not entitle you to physically visit or resettle in Estonia. Virtual residence does not affect the taxation of income of residents, does not oblige to pay income tax in Estonia and does not exempt from taxation of income in the country of residence (citizenship / nationality) of the resident. Virtual Residency allows you to use the following features: company registration, document signing, encrypted document exchange, online banking, tax filing, as well as managing medical services related to medical prescriptions. A smart card issued by the relevant authorities provides access to services. Registering a business in Estonia is “useful for online entrepreneurs in emerging markets who do not have access to online payment providers,” as well as for start-ups from countries such as Ukraine or Belarus that are subject to financial restrictions from their governments.

As of 2019, more than 60,000 people became e-residents of Estonia, in 2020 - more than 65,000 people, they created more than 10,100 companies. Over 5 years of operation, the program has brought more than 35 million euros of direct income to the Estonian economy, as well as indirect economic benefits. As of 2021, more than 80,000 people from 170 countries have become Estonian e-residents.