Introduction :: Estonia


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 and many other countries – 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 the West. It joined both NATO and the EU in the spring of 2004, formally joined the OECD in late 2010, and adopted the euro as its official currency on 1 January 2011.

Geography :: Estonia


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

Geographic coordinates

59 00 N, 26 00 E

Map references



total: 45,228 sq km

land: 42,388 sq km

water: 2,840 sq km

note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea

Area – comparative

Area comparison map

Land boundaries

total: 657 km

border countries (2): Latvia 333 km, Russia 324 km


3,794 km

Maritime claims

territorial sea: 12 nm

exclusive economic zone: limits as agreed to by Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Sweden, and Russia


maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers


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


mean elevation: 61 m

lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m

highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m

Natural resources

oil shale, peat, rare earth elements, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud

Land use

agricultural land: 22.2% (2011 est.)

arable land: 14.9% (2011 est.) /** permanent crops:** 0.1% (2011 est.) /** permanent pasture:** 7.2% (2011 est.)

forest: 52.1% (2011 est.)

other: 25.7% (2011 est.)

Irrigated land

40 sq km (2012)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations

Natural hazards

sometimes flooding occurs in the spring

Environment – current issues

air polluted with sulfur dioxide from oil-shale burning power plants in northeast; however, the amounts of pollutants emitted to the air have fallen dramatically and the pollution load of wastewater at purification plants has decreased substantially due to improved technology and environmental monitoring; 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

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

Geography – note

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

People and Society :: Estonia


1,228,624 (July 2020 est.)


noun: Estonian(s)

adjective: Estonian

Ethnic groups

Estonian 68.7%, Russian 24.8%, Ukrainian 1.7%, Belarusian 1%, Finn 0.6%, other 1.6%, unspecified 1.6% (2011 est.)


Estonian (official) 68.5%, Russian 29.6%, Ukrainian 0.6%, other 1.2%, unspecified 0.1% (2011 est.)


Orthodox 16.2%, Lutheran 9.9%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 2.2%, other 0.9%, none 54.1%, unspecified 16.7% (2011 est.)

Age structure

population Pyramid

Dependency ratios

total dependency ratio: 58.4

youth dependency ratio: 26.1

elderly dependency ratio: 32.3

potential support ratio: 3.1 (2020 est.)

Median age

total: 43.7 years

male: 40.4 years

female: 47 years (2020 est.)

Population growth rate

-0.65% (2020 est.)

Birth rate

9.3 births/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Death rate

12.9 deaths/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Net migration rate

-3.1 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2020 est.)

Population distribution

a fairly even distribution throughout most of the country, with urban areas attracting larger and denser populations


urban population: 69.2% of total population (2020)

rate of urbanization: 0.01% annual rate of change (2015-20 est.)

Major urban areas – population

445,000 TALLINN (capital) (2020)

Sex ratio

at birth: 1.05 male(s)/female

0-14 years: 1.05 male(s)/female
15-24 years: 1.08 male(s)/female
25-54 years: 1.04 male(s)/female
55-64 years: 0.84 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.53 male(s)/female

total population: 0.88 male(s)/female (2020 est.)

Mother’s mean age at first birth

26.6 years (2014 est.)

Maternal mortality rate

9 deaths/100,000 live births (2017 est.)

Infant mortality rate

total: 3.7 deaths/1,000 live births

male: 3.6 deaths/1,000 live births

female: 3.8 deaths/1,000 live births (2020 est.)

Life expectancy at birth

total population: 77.4 years

male: 72.7 years

female: 82.3 years (2020 est.)

Total fertility rate

1.61 children born/woman (2020 est.)

Drinking water source

improved:** urban:** 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

Current Health Expenditure

6.4% (2017)

Physicians density

3.46 physicians/1,000 population (2017)

Hospital bed density

4.7 beds/1,000 population (2017)

Sanitation facility access

improved:** urban:** 100% of population

rural: 100% of population

total: 100% of population

unimproved:** urban:** 0% of population

rural: 0% of population

total: 0% of population (2017 est.)

HIV/AIDS – adult prevalence rate

0.9% (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – people living with HIV/AIDS

7,400 (2018 est.)

HIV/AIDS – deaths

<100 (2018 est.)

Major infectious diseases

degree of risk: intermediate (2020)

vectorborne diseases: tickborne encephalitis

Obesity – adult prevalence rate

21.2% (2016)

Education expenditures

5.2% of GDP (2016)


definition: age 15 and over can read and write

total population: 99.8%

male: 99.8%

female: 99.8% (2015)

School life expectancy (primary to tertiary education)

total: 16 years

male: 15 years

female: 17 years (2016)

Unemployment, youth ages 15-24

total: 11.8%

male: 12.3%

female: 11.4% (2018 est.)

Government :: Estonia

Country name

conventional long form: Republic of Estonia

conventional short form: Estonia

local long form: Eesti Vabariik

local short form: Eesti

former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic

etymology: the country name may derive from the Aesti, an ancient people who lived along the eastern Baltic Sea in the first centuries A.D.

Government type

parliamentary republic


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

etymology: the Estonian name is generally believed to be derived from “Taani-linn” (originally meaning “Danish castle”, now “Danish town”) after a stronghold built in the area by the Danes; it could also have come from “tali-linn” (“winter castle” or “winter town”) or “talu-linn” (“home castle” or “home town”)

Administrative divisions

15 urban municipalities (linnad, singular – linn), 64 rural municipalities (vallad, singular vald)

urban municipalities: Haapsalu, Keila, Kohtla-Jarve, Loksa, Maardu, Narva, Narva-Joesuu, Paide, Parnu, Rakvere, Sillamae, Tallinn, Tartu, Viljandi, Voru

rural municipalities: Alutaguse, Anija, Antsla, Elva, Haademeeste, Haljala, Harku, Hiiumaa, Jarva, Joelahtme, Jogeva, Johvi, Kadrina, Kambja, Kanepi, Kastre, Kehtna, Kihnu, Kiili, Kohila, Kose, Kuusalu, Laane-Harju, Laane-Nigula, Laaneranna, Luganuse, Luunja, Marjamaa, Muhu, Mulgi, Mustvee, Noo, Otepaa, Peipsiaare, Pohja-Parnumaa, Pohja-Sakala, Poltsamaa, Polva, Raasiku, Rae, Rakvere, Rpina, Rapla, Rouge, Ruhnu, Saarde, Saaremaa, Saku, Saue, Setomaa, Tapa, Tartu, Toila, Tori, Torva, Turi, Vaike-Maarja, Valga, Viimsi, Viljandi, Vinni, Viru-Nigula, Vormsi, Voru


24 February 1918 (from Soviet Russia); 20 August 1991 (declared from the Soviet Union); 6 September 1991 (recognized by the Soviet Union)

National holiday

Independence Day, 24 February (1918); note – 24 February 1918 was the date Estonia declared its independence from Soviet Russia and established its statehood; 20 August 1991 was the date it declared its independence from the Soviet Union restoring its statehood


history: several previous; latest adopted 28 June 1992

amendments: proposed by at least one-fifth of Parliament members or by the president of the republic; passage requires three readings of the proposed amendment and a simple majority vote in two successive memberships of Parliament; passage of amendments to the “General Provisions” and “Amendment of the Constitution” chapters requires at least three-fifths majority vote by Parliament to conduct a referendum and majority vote in a referendum; amended several times, last in 2015

Legal system

civil law system

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: no

citizenship by descent only: at least one parent must be a citizen of Estonia

dual citizenship recognized: no

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal; age 16 for local elections

Executive branch

chief of state: President Kersti KALJULAID (since 10 October 2016)

head of government: Juri RATAS (since 23 November 2016)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the prime minister, approved by Parliament

elections/appointments: president indirectly elected by Parliament for a 5-year term (eligible for a second term); if a candidate does not secure two-thirds of the votes after 3 rounds of balloting, then an electoral college consisting of Parliament members and local council members elects the president, choosing between the 2 candidates with the highest number of votes; election last held on 29-30 August 2016, but three rounds were inconclusive; two electoral college votes on 24 September 2016 were also indecisive, so the election passed back to Parliament; on 3 October the Parliament elected Kersti KALJULAID as president; prime minister nominated by the president and approved by Parliament
election results: Kersti KALJULAID elected president; Parliament vote – Kersti KALJULAID (independent) 81 of 98 votes; note – KALJULAID is Estonia’s first female president

Legislative branch

description: unicameral Parliament or Riigikogu (101 seats; members directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by proportional representation vote to serve 4-year terms)

elections: last held on 3 March 2019 (next to be held in March 2023)

election results: percent of vote by party – RE 28.9%, K 23.1%, EKRE 17.8%, Pro Patria 11.4%, SDE 9.8%, other 9%; seats by party – RE 34, K 26, EKRE 19, Pro Patria 12, SDE 10; composition – men 72, women 29, percent of women 28.7%

Judicial branch

highest courts: Supreme Court (consists of 19 justices, including the chief justice, and organized into civil, criminal, administrative, and constitutional review chambers)

judge selection and term of office: the chief justice is proposed by the president of the republic and appointed by the Riigikogu; other justices proposed by the chief justice and appointed by the Riigikogu; justices appointed for life

subordinate courts: circuit (appellate) courts; administrative, county, city, and specialized courts

Political parties and leaders

Center Party of Estonia (Keskerakond) or K [Juri RATAS]
Estonia 200 [Kristina KALLAS]
Estonian Conservative People’s Party (Konservatiivne Rahvaerakond) or EKRE [Mart HELME]
Estonian Reform Party (Reformierakond) or RE [Kaja KALLAS]
Free Party or EV [Andres HERKEL]
Pro Patria (Isamaa) [Helir-Valdor SEEDER]
Social Democratic Party or SDE [Jevgeni OSSINOVSKI]

International organization participation

Australia Group, BA, BIS, CBSS, CD, CE, EAPC, EBRD, ECB, EIB, EMU, ESA (cooperating state), EU, FAO, IAEA, IBRD, ICAO, ICC (national committees), ICCt, ICRM, IDA, IEA, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, IHO, ILO, IMF, IMO, Interpol, IOC, IOM, IPU, ISO, ITSO, ITU, ITUC (NGOs), MIGA, MINUSMA, NATO, NIB, NSG, OAS (observer), OECD, OIF (observer), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO

Diplomatic representation in the US

Ambassador Jonatan VSEVIOV (since 17 September 2018)
chancery: 2131 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: 1 588-0101

FAX: 1 588-0108
consulate(s) general: New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d’Affaires Brian RORAFF (since July 2019)

telephone: [372] 668-8100

embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn

mailing address: use embassy street address

FAX: [372] 668-8265

Flag description

three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white; various interpretations are linked to the flag colors; blue represents faith, loyalty, and devotion, while also reminiscent of the sky, sea, and lakes of the country; black symbolizes the soil of the country and the dark past and suffering endured by the Estonian people; white refers to the striving towards enlightenment and virtue, and is the color of birch bark and snow, as well as summer nights illuminated by the midnight sun

National symbol(s)

barn swallow, cornflower; national colors: blue, black, white

National anthem


Economy :: Estonia

Economy – overview

Estonia, a member of the EU since 2004 and the euro zone since 2011, has a modern market-based economy and one of the higher per capita income levels in Central Europe and the Baltic region, but its economy is highly dependent on trade, leaving it vulnerable to external shocks. Estonia’s successive governments have pursued a free market, pro-business economic agenda, and sound fiscal policies that have resulted in balanced budgets and the lowest debt-to-GDP ratio in the EU.

The economy benefits from strong electronics and telecommunications sectors and strong trade ties with Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Russia. The economys 4.9% GDP growth in 2017 was the fastest in the past six years, leaving the Estonian economy in its best position since the financial crisis 10 years ago. For the first time in many years, labor productivity increased faster than labor costs in 2017. Inflation also rose in 2017 to 3.5% alongside increased global prices for food and energy, which make up a large share of Estonias consumption.

Estonia is challenged by a shortage of labor, both skilled and unskilled, although the government has amended its immigration law to allow easier hiring of highly qualified foreign workers, and wage growth that outpaces productivity gains. The government is also pursuing efforts to boost productivity growth with a focus on innovations that emphasize technology start-ups and e-commerce.

GDP (purchasing power parity)

$41.65 billion (2017 est.)
$39.72 billion (2016 est.)
$38.92 billion (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

GDP (official exchange rate)

$25.97 billion (2017 est.)

GDP – real growth rate

4.9% (2017 est.)
2.1% (2016 est.)
1.7% (2015 est.)

GDP – per capita (PPP)

$31,700 (2017 est.)
$30,200 (2016 est.)
$29,600 (2015 est.)

note: data are in 2017 dollars

Gross national saving

27% of GDP (2017 est.)
24.6% of GDP (2016 est.)
25.8% of GDP (2015 est.)

GDP – composition, by end use

household consumption: 50.3% (2017 est.)

government consumption: 20.4% (2017 est.)

investment in fixed capital: 24% (2017 est.)

investment in inventories: 2.2% (2017 est.)

exports of goods and services: 77.2% (2017 est.)

imports of goods and services: -74% (2017 est.)

GDP – composition, by sector of origin

agriculture: 2.8% (2017 est.)

industry: 29.2% (2017 est.)

services: 68.1% (2017 est.)

Agriculture – products

grain, potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish


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

Industrial production growth rate

9.5% (2017 est.)

Labor force

670,200 (2017 est.)

Labor force – by occupation

agriculture: 2.7%

industry: 20.5%

services: 76.8% (2017 est.)

Unemployment rate

5.8% (2017 est.)
6.8% (2016 est.)

Population below poverty line

21.1% (2016 est.)

Household income or consumption by percentage share

lowest 10%: 2.3%
highest 10%: 25.6% (2015)


revenues: 10.37 billion (2017 est.)

expenditures: 10.44 billion (2017 est.)

Taxes and other revenues

39.9% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Budget surplus (+) or deficit (-)

-0.3% (of GDP) (2017 est.)

Public debt

9% of GDP (2017 est.)
9.4% of GDP (2016 est.)

note: data cover general government debt and include debt instruments issued (or owned) by government entities, including sub-sectors of central government, state government, local government, and social security funds

Fiscal year

calendar year

Inflation rate (consumer prices)

3.7% (2017 est.)
0.8% (2016 est.)

Current account balance

$809 million (2017 est.)
$443 million (2016 est.)


$13.44 billion (2017 est.)
$12.36 billion (2016 est.)

Exports – partners

Finland 16.2%, Sweden 13.5%, Latvia 9.2%, Russia 7.3%, Germany 6.9%, Lithuania 5.9% (2017)

Exports – commodities

machinery and electrical equipment 30%, food products and beverages 9%, mineral fuels 6%, wood and wood products 14%, articles of base metals 7%, furniture and bedding 11%, vehicles and parts 3%, chemicals 4% (2016 est.)


$14.42 billion (2017 est.)
$13.23 billion (2016 est.)

Imports – commodities

machinery and electrical equipment 28%, mineral fuels 11%, food and food products 10%, vehicles 9%, chemical products 8%, metals 8% (2015 est.)

Imports – partners

Finland 14%, Germany 10.7%, Lithuania 8.9%, Sweden 8.5%, Latvia 8.2%, Poland 7.2%, Russia 6.7%, Netherlands 5.9%, China 4.7% (2017)

Reserves of foreign exchange and gold

$345 million (31 December 2017 est.)
$352.2 million (31 December 2016 est.)

Debt – external

$19.05 billion (31 December 2016 est.)
$18.3 billion (31 December 2015 est.)

Exchange rates

euros (EUR) per US dollar –
0.92 (2017 est.)
0.9 (2016 est.)
0.9214 (2015 est.)
0.885 (2014 est.)
0.7634 (2013 est.)

Energy :: Estonia

Electricity access

electrification – total population: 100% (2016)

Electricity – production

11.55 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – consumption

8.795 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – exports

5.613 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – imports

3.577 billion kWh (2016 est.)

Electricity – installed generating capacity

2.578 million kW (2016 est.)

Electricity – from fossil fuels

72% of total installed capacity (2016 est.)

Electricity – from nuclear fuels

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from hydroelectric plants

0% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Electricity – from other renewable sources

28% of total installed capacity (2017 est.)

Crude oil – production

0 bbl/day (2018 est.)

Crude oil – exports

0 bbl/day (2015 est.)

Crude oil – imports

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Crude oil – proved reserves

0 bbl (1 January 2018 est.)

Refined petroleum products – production

0 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products – consumption

28,300 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products – exports

27,150 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Refined petroleum products – imports

35,520 bbl/day (2017 est.)

Natural gas – production

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – consumption

481.4 million cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – exports

0 cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – imports

481.4 million cu m (2017 est.)

Natural gas – proved reserves

0 cu m (2016 est.)

Carbon dioxide emissions from consumption of energy

5.306 million Mt (2017 est.)

Communications :: Estonia

Telephones – fixed lines

total subscriptions: 345,690

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 28 (2018 est.)

Telephones – mobile cellular

total subscriptions: 1,924,034

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 155 (2018 est.)

Telecommunication systems

general assessment: a range of regulatory measures, competition and foreign investment in the form of joint business ventures has greatly improved telephone service with a wide range of high-quality voice, data, and Internet services; one of the most advanced mobile markets in Europe; one of the highest broadband penetration in Europe; govt. commits 20 million euro to rural broadband program; regulator auctions spectrum in the 2.6GHz band for LTE and 5G services (2020)

domestic: 28 per 100 for fixed-line and 155 per 100 for mobile-cellular; 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 – in local and parliamentary elections – has climbed steadily since first being introduced in 2005; a large percent of Estonian households have broadband access (2018)

international: country code – 372; landing points for the EE-S-1, EESF-3, Baltic Sea Submarine Cable, FEC and EESF-2 fiber-optic submarine cables to other Estonia points, Finland, and Sweden; 2 international switches are located in Tallinn (2019)

note: the COVID-19 outbreak is negatively impacting telecommunications production and supply chains globally; consumer spending on telecom devices and services has also slowed due to the pandemic’s effect on economies worldwide; overall progress towards improvements in all facets of the telecom industry – mobile, fixed-line, broadband, submarine cable and satellite – has moderated

Broadcast media

the publicly owned broadcaster, Eesti Rahvusringhaaling (ERR), operates 3 TV channels and 5 radio networks; growing number of private commercial radio stations broadcasting nationally, regionally, and locally; fully transitioned to digital television in 2010; national private TV channels expanding service; a range of channels are aimed at Russian-speaking viewers; in 2016, there were 42 on-demand services available in Estonia, including 19 pay TVOD and SVOD services; roughly 85% of households accessed digital television services

Internet country code


Internet users

total: 1,111,896

percent of population: 89.36% (July 2018 est.)

Broadband – fixed subscriptions

total: 441,167

subscriptions per 100 inhabitants: 35 (2018 est.)

Military and Security :: Estonia

Military and security forces

Estonian Defense Forces: Land Forces, Navy, Air Force, Estonian Defence League (Reserves); Ministry of Interior: Border Guards (2019)

Military expenditures

2.14% of GDP (2019 est.)
2% of GDP (2018)
2.03% of GDP (2017)
2.07% of GDP (2016)
2.02% of GDP (2015)

Military and security service personnel strengths

the Estonian Defense Forces have approximately 6,000 active duty personnel (5,000 Army; 400 Navy; 500 Air Force); est. 15,000 Estonian Defense League (2020 est.)

Military equipment inventories and acquisitions

the Estonian Defense Forces have a limited inventory of Soviet-era and more modern Western weapons systems; France and the Netherlands are the leading suppliers of armaments to Estonia since 2010 (2019 est.)

Military deployments

approximately 100 Mali (Operation Barkhane/MINUSMA/EUTM) (2020)

Military service age and obligation

18-27 for compulsory military or governmental service, conscript service requirement 8-11 months depending on education; NCOs, reserve officers, and specialists serve 11 months (2016)

Transportation :: Estonia

National air transport system

number of registered air carriers: 3 (2020)

inventory of registered aircraft operated by air carriers: 14

annual passenger traffic on registered air carriers: 31,981 (2018)

Civil aircraft registration country code prefix

ES (2016)


18 (2013)

Airports – with paved runways

total: 13 (2017)

over 3,047 m: 2 (2017)

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8 (2017)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2 (2017)

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2017)

Airports – with unpaved runways

total: 5 (2013)

1,524 to 2,437 m: 1 (2013)

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2013)

under 914 m: 3 (2013)


1 (2012)


2360 km gas (2016)


total: 2,146 km (2016)

broad gauge: 2,146 km 1.520-m and 1.524-m gauge (132 km electrified) (2016)

note: includes 1,510 km public and 636 km non-public railway


total: 58,412 km (includes urban roads) (2011)

paved: 10,427 km (includes 115 km of expressways) (2011)

unpaved: 47,985 km (2011)


335 km (320 km are navigable year-round) (2011)

Merchant marine

total: 69

by type: general cargo 1, oil tanker 6, other 62 (2019)

Ports and terminals

major seaport(s): Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Parnu Reid, Sillamae, Tallinn

Transnational Issues :: Estonia

Disputes – international

Russia and Estonia in May 2005 signed a technical border agreement, but Russia in June 2005 recalled its signature after the Estonian parliament added to its domestic ratification act a historical preamble referencing the Soviet occupation and Estonia’s pre-war borders under the 1920 Treaty of Tartu; Russia contends that the preamble allows Estonia to make territorial claims on Russia in the future, while Estonian officials deny that the preamble has any legal impact on the treaty text; Russia demands better treatment of the Russian-speaking population in Estonia; as a member state that forms part of the EU’s external border, Estonia implements strict Schengen border rules with Russia

Refugees and internally displaced persons

stateless persons: 77,877 (2018); note – following independence in 1991, automatic citizenship was restricted to those who were Estonian citizens prior to the 1940 Soviet occupation and their descendants; thousands of ethnic Russians remained stateless when forced to choose between passing Estonian language and citizenship tests or applying for Russian citizenship; one reason for demurring on Estonian citizenship was to retain the right of visa-free travel to Russia; stateless residents can vote in local elections but not general elections; stateless parents who have been lawful residents of Estonia for at least five years can apply for citizenship for their children before they turn 15 years old

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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