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Europe :: Estonia
page last updated on October 28, 2009
Flag of Estonia
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Location of Estonia
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Introduction ::Estonia
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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.
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Geography ::Estonia
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Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia
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59 00 N, 26 00 E
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total: 45,228 sq km
country comparison to the world: 132
land: 42,388 sq km
water: 2,840 sq km
note: includes 1,520 islands in the Baltic Sea
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slightly smaller than New Hampshire and Vermont combined
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total: 633 km
border countries: Latvia 343 km, Russia 290 km
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3,794 km
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territorial sea: 12 nm
exclusive economic zone: limits fixed in coordination with neighboring states
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maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers
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marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south
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lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Suur Munamagi 318 m
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oil shale, peat, phosphorite, clay, limestone, sand, dolomite, arable land, sea mud
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arable land: 12.05%
permanent crops: 0.35%
other: 87.6% (2005)
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40 sq km (2003)
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21.1 cu km (2005)
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total: 1.41 cu km/yr (56%/39%/5%)
per capita: 1,060 cu m/yr (2002)
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sometimes flooding occurs in the spring
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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
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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
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the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands
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People ::Estonia
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1,299,371 (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
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0-14 years: 14.9% (male 99,748/female 94,051)
15-64 years: 67.5% (male 417,816/female 459,246)
65 years and over: 17.6% (male 75,486/female 153,024) (2009 est.)
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total: 39.9 years
male: 36.5 years
female: 43.5 years (2009 est.)
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-0.632% (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 229
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10.37 births/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 188
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13.42 deaths/1,000 population (July 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 27
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-3.26 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 150
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urban population: 69% of total population (2008)
rate of urbanization: -0.3% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)
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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: 0.49 male(s)/female
total population: 0.84 male(s)/female (2009 est.)
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total: 7.32 deaths/1,000 live births
country comparison to the world: 167
male: 8.48 deaths/1,000 live births
female: 6.08 deaths/1,000 live births (2009 est.)
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total population: 72.82 years
country comparison to the world: 113
male: 67.45 years
female: 78.53 years (2009 est.)
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1.42 children born/woman (2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 190
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1.3% (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 47
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9,900 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 104
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fewer than 500 (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 96
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degree of risk: intermediate
food or waterborne diseases: bacterial diarrhea
vectorborne disease: tickborne encephalitis (2009)
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noun: Estonian(s)
adjective: Estonian
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Estonian 67.9%, Russian 25.6%, Ukrainian 2.1%, Belarusian 1.3%, Finn 0.9%, other 2.2% (2000 census)
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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)
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Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census)
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definition: age 15 and over can read and write
total population: 99.8%
male: 99.8%
female: 99.8% (2000 census)
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total: 16 years
male: 15 years
female: 17 years (2006)
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5.1% of GDP (2004)
country comparison to the world: 68
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Government ::Estonia
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conventional long form: Republic of Estonia
conventional short form: Estonia
local long form: Eesti Vabariik
local short form: Eesti
former: Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic
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parliamentary republic
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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
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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
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20 August 1991 (from the Soviet Union)
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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
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adopted 28 June 1992
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based on civil law system; accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations
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18 years of age; universal for all Estonian citizens
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chief of state: President Toomas Hendrik ILVES (since 9 October 2006)
head of government: Prime Minister Andrus ANSIP (since 12 April 2005)
cabinet: 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 councils) elects the president, choosing between the two candidates with the largest number 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
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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
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Supreme Court (chairman appointed for life by Parliament)
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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]
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Nochnoy Dozor/Night Watch anti-fascist movement (leader Alexander KOROBOV)
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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), OECD (accession state), OPCW, OSCE, PCA, Schengen Convention, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNHCR, UNITAR, UNTSO, UPU, WCO, WEU (associate partner), WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTO
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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
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chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d'Affaires Karen DECKER
embassy: Kentmanni 20, 15099 Tallinn
mailing address: use embassy street address
telephone: [372] 668-8100
FAX: [372] 668-8265
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pre-1940 flag restored by Supreme Soviet in May 1990 - three equal horizontal bands of blue (top), black, and white
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Economy ::Estonia
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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, pro-business economic agenda and have wavered little in their commitment to pro-market reforms. Tallinn's priority has been to sustain high growth rates - on average 8% per year from 2003 to 2007. 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, has 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 adopting the euro, but has repeatedly postponed its target date. Estonia's economy slowed down markedly and fell sharply into recession in mid-2008, primarily as a result of an investment and consumption slump following the bursting of the real estate market bubble.
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$27.41 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 110
$28.43 billion (2007 est.)
$26.74 billion (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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$23.23 billion (2008 est.)
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-3.6% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 215
6.3% (2007 est.)
10.4% (2006 est.)
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$21,000 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 58
$21,600 (2007 est.)
$20,200 (2006 est.)
note: data are in 2008 US dollars
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agriculture: 2.6%
industry: 29%
services: 68.4% (2008 est.)
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693,000 (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 144
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agriculture: 4.7%
industry: 33.7%
services: 61.6% (2007)
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5.7% (30 September 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 70
4.7% (2007 est.)
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5% (2003)
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lowest 10%: 2.7%
highest 10%: 27.7% (2004)
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34 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 91
37 (1999)
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28.4% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 29
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revenues: $8.798 billion
expenditures: $9.488 billion (2008 est.)
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4.8% of GDP (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 122
5.4% of GDP (2004 est.)
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10.4% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 152
6.6% (2007 est.)
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NA% (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 126
6.46% (31 December 2007)
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$6.106 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 60
$7.158 billion (31 December 2007)
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$5.473 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 88
$4.253 billion (31 December 2007)
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$22.02 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 71
$21.35 billion (31 December 2007)
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$1.951 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 81
$6.037 billion (31 December 2007)
$5.963 billion (31 December 2006)
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potatoes, vegetables; livestock and dairy products; fish
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engineering, electronics, wood and wood products, textiles; information technology, telecommunications
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-4.8% (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 166
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11.46 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 88
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7.686 billion kWh (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 93
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2.31 billion kWh (2008 est.)
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1.369 billion kWh (2008 est.)
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7,600 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 90
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29,000 bbl/day (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 114
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7,280 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 99
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30,590 bbl/day (2007 est.)
country comparison to the world: 100
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0 bbl (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 174
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0 cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 187
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1.51 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 83
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0 cu m (2008)
country comparison to the world: 63
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1.51 billion cu m (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 48
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0 cu m (1 January 2009 est.)
country comparison to the world: 185
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$-2.186 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 140
$-3.771 billion (2007 est.)
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$12.58 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 81
$11.08 billion (2007 est.)
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machinery and equipment 29%, wood and paper 13%, metals 10%, food products 8%, textiles 5%, chemical products (2007)
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Finland 18.3%, Sweden 13.8%, Russia 10.3%, Latvia 10%, Lithuania 5.7%, Germany 5.1%, US 4.8% (2008)
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$15.29 billion (2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 80
$14.75 billion (2007 est.)
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machinery and equipment 35%, textiles 19%, mineral fuels 19%, chemical products 9%, foodstuffs 6% (2001)
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Finland 14.2%, Germany 13.3%, Sweden 10%, Lithuania 8.9%, Latvia 8.9%, Russia 7.4%, Poland 4.6% (2008)
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$3.857 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 87
$3.27 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$26.82 billion (31 December 2008)
country comparison to the world: 65
$25.25 billion (31 December 2007)
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$18.62 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 64
$16.59 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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$6.856 billion (31 December 2008 est.)
country comparison to the world: 53
$5.873 billion (31 December 2007 est.)
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krooni (EEK) per US dollar - 10.7 (2008), 11.535 (2007), 12.473 (2006), 12.584 (2005), 12.596 (2004)
note: the krooni is pegged to the euro
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Communications ::Estonia
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498,100 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 96
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2.525 million (2008)
country comparison to the world: 115
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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 (2008)
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AM 0, FM 32, shortwave 0 (2007)
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4 (2007)
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.ee
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706,449 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 47
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888,100 (2008)
country comparison to the world: 94
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Transportation ::Estonia
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19 (2009)
country comparison to the world: 135
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total: 13
over 3,047 m: 2
2,438 to 3,047 m: 7
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 2 (2009)
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total: 6
1,524 to 2,437 m: 2
914 to 1,523 m: 1
under 914 m: 3 (2009)
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1 (2009)
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gas 859 km (2008)
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total: 919 km
country comparison to the world: 92
broad gauge: 919 km 1.520 m/1.524-m gauge (131 km electrified) (2008)
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total: 57,016 km
country comparison to the world: 77
paved: 12,926 km (includes 99 km of expressways)
unpaved: 44,090 km (2005)
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320 km (2008)
country comparison to the world: 92
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total: 29
country comparison to the world: 87
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)
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Kuivastu, Kunda, Muuga, Tallinn, Virtsu
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Military ::Estonia
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Estonian Defense Forces: Land Force, Navy, Air Force (Eesti Ohuvagi), Volunteer Defense League (Kaitseliit, KL) (2009)
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obligation for compulsory service ages 16-60, with conscription "likely" ages 18-27; service requirement 8-11 months (2009)
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males age 16-49: 306,273
females age 16-49: 317,852 (2008 est.)
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males age 16-49: 216,483
females age 16-49: 260,408 (2009 est.)
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male: 7,583
female: 7,111 (2009 est.)
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2% of GDP (2005 est.)
country comparison to the world: 79
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Transnational Issues ::Estonia
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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
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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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