+372 is the dialing code for Estonia.
Estonia is the northernmost and smallest of the three Baltic states. In a short time, the country has been transformed from the Soviet Union’s planned economy to one of the EU’s and NATO’s most advanced IT societies, with strong ties to Finnish and Swedish business. What is perceived as a threat from Russia has cast a shadow over the country in recent years.
- Abbreviationfinder: Brief profiles of Estonia, including geography, history, politics, economics as well as common acronyms about this country.
Geography and climate
Estonia is the northernmost and smallest of the three Baltic states. Its area corresponds to Denmark or a tenth of Sweden’s.
The coast runs towards the Gulf of Finland in the north and towards the Baltic Sea in the west. Estonia has more than 1,500 islands and islets, of which Saaremaa (Ösel), Hiiumaa (Dagö), Muhu (Moon) and Vormsi (Ormsö) are the largest.
Peipsi Wolverine (Lake Peipus) and the Narva River form a border with Russia in the east. In the south, Estonia borders Latvia.
The country is mostly flat but there are hilly areas, mainly in the southeast. Almost half of the land area is wooded and a large part consists of marshlands. Estonia has over a thousand lakes and many small rivers and streams.
The climate is determined by Estonia’s location between the Euro-Asian land mass and the Baltic Sea. It is also affected by the proximity to the North Atlantic, which introduces mild air masses across the country.
|Cultivated land||22.2 %|
|Land area||45228 km 2|
Population and health
|Population development||-0.55 ‰|
|Urban population (Urbanization)||67.5 %|
|Death rate||12.4 per 1000 residents|
|Life expectancy: Women||81.53 years|
|Life expectancy: Men||71.64 years|
|Birth rate||10.51 births per 1000 residents|
|Infant mortality||3.85 deaths / 1000 births|
Population Graph Source: Countryaah.com
|Electricity, production||12440 million kWh|
|Energy consumption per resident||4475.8 kg. oil per resident|
|Natural gas, production||million cubic meters|
|Crude oil, production||million tons|
|Internet users||81.6 per 100 residents|
|Mobile subscriptions||162 per 100 residents|
|Passenger cars||476 per 1000 residents|
Business and economics
|Unemployment||6.2% of the workforce|
|GDP||28600 per resident|
|Primary occupations||4.2 %|
|Secondary profession||20.2 %|
|Tertiary professions||75.6 %|
Like Sweden, Estonia has a mix of coastal and inland climate with brighter winter weather the further away from the coast one comes.
Summers are relatively hot with temperatures around 20 degrees and exceptionally above 30 degrees. The proximity to the Baltic Sea provides moist air and plenty of wind. The rainfall is somewhat less than in Sweden, but there can often be occasional showers.
FACTS – GEOGRAPHY AND CLIMATE
45 227 km2 (2018)
Swedish + 1 hour
Adjacent country (s)
Capital with number of residents
Other major cities
Tartu 102 300, Narva 66 000, Kohtla-Järve 44 700, Pärnu 43 400 (estimate 2009)
Suur Munamägi (318 m asl)
Pärnu, Ema and Narva
Peipsi Wolverine (Lake Peipus)
Average Precipitation / year
Tallinn 560 mm (most rain falls Aug-Nov)
Average / day
Tallinn 16 °C (July), -3 °C (Jan)
Russian-language TV channel should counter Russian propaganda
Estonia’s state broadcaster is launching a Russian-language channel intended as an alternative to the Russian channels that the Russian-speaking minority population usually watches and which is considered to provide a one-sided propagandistic picture of Russian politics.
The abducted officer is exchanged for spy
Intelligence officer Eston Kohver is released by Russia a few days before Russian President Putin will speak at the UN in New York. He is exchanged against an Estonian citizen who was sentenced in the Russian homeland for espionage.
Tallinn’s mayor is charged with bribery
The state prosecutor’s office is prosecuting Tallinn’s mayor Edgar Savisaar for extensive bribery. He is accused of receiving bribes for own and other persons on the value of several hundred thousand euros during the years 2014–2015. Savisaar leads the Estonian Center Party, which is mainly supported by the Russian-speaking minority. He was the first Estonia’s first prime minister in 1991-1992.
Nordic-Baltic urging to Russia
The foreign ministers of the Nordic and Baltic countries jointly urge Russia to immediately release the imprisoned Estonian intelligence officer Eston Kohver (see August).
High-tech fencing is planned along the Russian border
The Estonian government announces plans to build a fence along the entire border with Russia with a planned start of work in 2018. The intention is to “secure the security of Estonia and the Schengen area” through high-tech border surveillance.
15 years in prison for the abducted officer
A Russian court sentenced Estonian intelligence officer Eston Kohver (see September 2014) to prison for 15 years for espionage, illegal weapons possession and for crossing the Russian border without permission. Estonian Foreign Minister Marina Kaljurand describes the abduction of Kohver from Estonian territory as a gross violation of international law. Similar criticism comes from EU Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini. She urges Russia to release Kohver immediately.
Russian investigation annoys the Balts
Estonia and its neighboring countries are responding with anger that the Russian Prosecutor’s Office has launched an investigation into whether the independence of the Baltic States is legal. The inquiry is being carried out at the request of two MPs for the United Russia Power Party, which describes the Soviet Union’s recognition of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania’s independence as treason. Baltic leaders say the measure is absurd but an example of the new imperialist attitude that characterizes today’s Russia.
The President wants NATO reinforcement
President Ilves appeals to NATO to send more soldiers to Estonia. The Defense Alliance’s only presence in Estonia is an American infantry company of 150 soldiers, and they are not permanently stationed in the country. The president’s appeal is based on increased Russian military activity at the Estonian border.
New coalition government is presented
Just over a month after the parliamentary elections, Prime Minister Rõivas presents a new government with seven Ministers from the Reform Party, four Social Democrats and four from the right-wing Alliance IRL, who thus return to the government. Estonia gets a female Foreign Minister in Keit Pentus-Rosimannus from the Reform Party, Defense Minister becomes Social Democrat Sven Mikser, while Sven Sects from IRL becomes Finance Minister.
Troubled government formation after elections
The reform party retains its position as the largest party after the parliamentary elections on March 1, but loses three seats. At the same time, the Social Democrat coalition partner loses four seats, causing the government so far to lose its majority. The Russian-friendly Center Party gets a seat more than in the last election, but Prime Minister Taavi Rõivas immediately excludes all opportunities to let the Center Party join a new government. Government formation is made more difficult by the fact that the new parliament gets only six parties against four. The newly formed market liberal Free Party and the right-wing populist Conservative Partygets into parliament. More than 64 percent of those entitled to vote participate in the election. The electoral movement has been characterized by the continuing economic problems for a large part of the population and many people’s feeling of increased threat from Russia.
Military parade in Narva sends signal across the border
Estonia celebrates its independence day on February 24 with a military parade in Narva on the Russian border. Hundreds of soldiers from other NATO countries are participating in the parade, where heavy military equipment from NATO is also on display. The parade is interpreted as a signal to Russia that the Western Alliance is ready to defend its eastern border against any Russian provocations.