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.


Location: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
Geographic coordinates: 59 00 N, 26 00 E
Population: 1,274,709 (July 2012 est.)
Age structure: 0-14 years: 15.1% (male 99,919/female 94,066)

15-64 years:  67.2% (male 410,132/female 451,736)

65 years and over: 17.7% (male 74,803/female 152,307) (2011 est.)

Country name: conventional long form: Republic of Estonia

conventional short form: Estonia

local long form: EestiVabariik

local short form: Eesti

former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic

Government type: parliamentary republic
Capital: 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

Telephones – main lines in use: 482,200 (2009)
Telephones – mobile cellular: 1.653 million (2009)
Airports: 18 (2012)
Airports – with paved runways: total: 13

over 3,047 m: 2

2,438 to 3,047 m: 8

1,524 to 2,437 m: 2

914 to 1,523 m: 1 (2012)

Military branches: Estonian Defence Forces (EestiKaitsevagi): Land Force (Maavagi), Navy (Merevagi), Air Force (Ohuvagi), Defence League (Kaitseliit) (2012)
Military service age and obligation: obligation for compulsory service ages 16-60, with conscription “likely” ages 18-27; service requirement 8-11 months (2009)


Estonia, a 2004 European Union entrant, has a modern market-based economy and one of the highest per capita income levels in Central Europe. 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. In 2007, however, a large current account deficit and rising inflation put pressure on Estonia’s currency, which is pegged to the euro, highlighting the need for growth in export-generating industries.

Transnational Issues:

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.