Estonia (Geography), Population
At the 1989 census, there were 1.56 million of population in Estonia, of which
61.3% Estonians and 35.2% Slavic speakers (Russians, Belarusians and
Ukrainians). Five years later, the population had fallen by approximately 60,000 due
to eviction of Russians and birth deficit. In the period 1989-2000, the
population fell by 12.5%. Pr. 1.1.2005, the total population was approximately 25,000
lower than in 2000 and the trend is downward. The low birth rate and the high
death rate reflect that the population is old; 22% of the population are
pensioners (2005). The difference in life expectancy, but in part also the
consequences of World War II, is the cause of a large predominance of older
women. The Slavic-speaking residents live predominantly in the cities,
especially the larger industrial cities in NE-Estonia, where they make up a
majority in several places. The vast majority have come to Estonia after 1945 as
part of Soviet industrialization policy. According to
two thirds of the population live in
the six northernmost of the country's fifteen counties, and here three quarters
of industrial production takes place.
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Even before independence in 1991, a privatization of the business community
had begun, primarily of retail and crafts. Later, a number of industrial
enterprises have also been privatized, just as foreign companies have
established themselves or bought into existing companies.
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Industries accounts for approximately half of the production value and
employs approximately a quarter of the workforce (2004). Light industry and food
industry are dominant with the textile industry as the largest. The food
industry processes meat, dairy products and fish. Pärnu is home to a large part
of the Baltic Sea fishery, while the significant high seas fleet is based in
Tallinn. Wood processing and cellulose production are important with a
considerable export also to western markets. Estonia is the only Baltic country
to be self-sufficient in electricity thanks to large oil shale deposits in the
north-east of the country. Oil shale is also a raw material in the chemical
industry, the large fertilizer factory in Kohtla-Järve, and the ash from
the Narva power plants is recycled in the building materials industry. The oil
shale is not very deep and is easier and cheaper to break than coal. It is mined
both in open pits and in shaft mines. Although the shale has a lower calorific
value than coal, mining is profitable. But the environmental problems of the
quarry, the air pollution from burning at the power plants and the growing slag
mountains have given rise to major environmental debates, especially in the last
years of the Soviet era, when the Soviet authorities planned another large power
plant in Narva to secure Leningrad's (now St. Petersburg) electricity
supply. Electricity exports to Latvia and Russia have now almost ceased,
electricity production has been halved and the environmental debate has been
silenced in recognition of the necessity of production in the independent state.
The machinery industry contributes only one tenth of the industry's
production value, but it manufactures highly developed products in radio,
television, finer lathes, measuring instruments, etc. that can compete on the
world market. It is the country's largest export sector with a share of exports
of 27.5% in 2004.
Agriculture.Estonian agriculture is very much dependent on cattle
breeding and the cultivation of fodder for it. 3.4% of the labor force is
employed in agriculture (2004). Since the great forced collectivization in 1949,
the operation has been organized into large units, collective houses, with a
high degree of mechanization. After independence, privatization began, but as
the agricultural industry is particularly hard hit by the transition to a new
economic system, the number of private farmers is only slowly increasing. In
1939, there were 140,000 self-employed farms with an average. adjacent land of
22.7 ha. The owners of these farms and their descendants may reclaim the
land; at the end of 1993 there were 10,000 private farmers with a gnsntl. area
of 25.4 ha. In 2001, there were 69,000 private farms, but in 2003 the number
was reduced to 37,000 with an average farm size of 13 ha.
In addition to privatization, there has been a division of the very large
state and cooperative enterprises. The crisis in agriculture has manifested
by a sharp fall in the consumption of fertilizers and a subsequent fall in
hectare yields. Likewise, there has been a large decline in the cattle
population, more than a halving since independence.
Trade. Estonia was a fully integrated part of the Soviet planned
economy, and the majority of the country's imports and exports were trade with
other parts of the Soviet Union. Since 1991, the trade pattern has become more
westerly, with Finland, Sweden and Germany as the largest trading partners, but
Russia and other CIS countries remain important to the foreign economy,
especially as export markets, just as Tallinn remains an important transit port
for Russia. 80% of Estonian exports go to the enlarged EU (EU-25), from which
78% of the country's imports originate (2004).
The Estonian landscape is predominantly formed by last glacial glaciers and
meltwater. Most are lowlands below 100 m; Suur Munamägi in the SE, however,
reaches 318 m. approximately 20% of the country is wetlands, lakes, bogs and
streams. The large lake Peipsi Järv in the east is the border area common with
Russia. In many places, peat is still dug for fuel and fertilizer. The coastal
signs to the west are flat and swampy, while the north coast is characterized by
high sandstone and limestone cliffs, especially east of Kohtla-Järve.
Estonia lies on the border between temperate coastal climate and mainland
climate. The westerly winds from the Baltic Sea make the winter relatively mild
with gnsntl. temperature for January of -2 °C, but easterly winds can cause ice
winters, and the agricultural cultivation period is slightly shorter than in
Denmark. The precipitation is fairly evenly distributed over the year,
approximately 700 mm.
Plant and animal life
Estonia is located in the temperate deciduous forest belt close to the border
of the coniferous forest belt and the taiga and has very large and varied forest
areas. The rich wildlife includes both the deciduous forest and the taiga
species with bulls, birds of prey, flying squirrels, martens, beavers, snow
hares, fallow deer, red deer, moose, reindeer and an estimated 2000 lynx, 600
wolves and 800 brown bears. The wild boar population is so large that farmers
have to put up protective fences around potato fields in many places. The many
and nutrient-rich wetlands are the basis for a rich population of swimming and
wading birds; Among other things, Estonia has many storks. There has long been a
great deal of environmental and nature conservation attention, and many nature
areas are protected, a total of approximately 3% of the country's area. The small
island Vilsandi west of Saaremaa(Øsel) was protected as a bird sanctuary as
early as 1910, Matsalubugten in 1957, and in 1971 only 50 km east of Tallinn was
inaugurated the 650 km2 large national park Lahemaa, which has a
very varied nature and a rich animal and plant life.
Estonia - language
Estonian and Russianare the dominant languages in Estonia. During the
independence period 1918-40, Estonian was the official language of the country
and was spoken by approximately 92% of the population, while the Russian-speakers only
made up approximately 4.4%. During the Soviet era, conditions changed due to the
massive Russian immigration, so that in 1992 the distribution was 30% Russian-
and 62% Estonian-speaking. After independence, the proportion of
Russian-speakers has returned and returned to 26% in 2003, while the proportion
of Estonian-speakers had risen to 69%. However, the geographical distribution is
skewed, as Russian-speakers still make up the majority in the cities in the NE,
while, for example, virtually no one is on the islands in the West, where as
early as 1990 there were approximately 900 people left with Estonian Swedish as their
mother tongue. The minorities also include almost 30,000 Ukrainians and
approximately 11,000 finds. A language law from 1995 made Estonian the country's only
official language; however, a minority language may be used in the region where
that language is most prevalent. After independence, English has replaced
Russian as the first foreign language.
A fertility cult veg in 1100-1200-t. the place of Christianity, which,
however, did not immediately become dominant. The Lutheran Reformation gained
traction from the 1520's, and Estonia has largely remained evangelical to this
day. Lutheranism benefited from Swedish rule, since Russian tolerance, although
Russification ultimately created serious problems. The situation improved after
1918, but only to develop catastrophically after the Soviet takeover in 1944.
Persecution caused the Lutheran Church to shrink from 875,000 (1939) to 175,000,
of which only 50,000 were active (approximately 1980). Only the thaw in 1989 brought new
flowering. In the 1990's, the Church played an active role in Estonia's
spiritual-national reconstruction. There are also several smaller Protestant
communities and an Orthodox church.
Estonia - economy
In the post - war years, Estonia was integrated into the Soviet planned
economy, which meant tight control of all economic activity. Since independence
in 1991, the country has implemented a market economy reform program, whereby
prices and trade have been liberalized, as have a large proportion of
former state-owned enterprises. The private sector accounted for about 60% of
GDP in 1994.
Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Estonia chose to remain
outside the economic cooperation between the former Soviet republics, the CIS,
which led to deteriorating trade conditions for Estonia, with regard to
energy supplies from Russia. The consequence was partly a sharp rise in energy
prices and partly a collapse in production in industry.
Energy problems, declining export markets and declining domestic purchasing
power resulted in a severe decline in GDP in 1990-93. The economic downturn has
led to a large part of the banks' lending having been defaulted on, which
has resulted in major problems and a number of crashes in the financial sector.
The official unemployment rate was only around 2% at the end of 1994, but the
actual unemployment rate, which includes people on short-term work, unpaid
leave, etc., was estimated at the end of 1993 to be 10-12%. The inflation rate,
which in 1992 exceeded 1000%, has since come under control, as a result of
tight monetary and fiscal policies.
Estonia introduced in June 1992 as the first of the Baltic countries its own
currency, the kroon, which was pegged to a fixed ratio of D-mark of 8: 1; side
to the euro. Since its introduction, the Crown has been freely interchangeable,
which has fostered economic relations with other countries, on which Estonia is
heavily dependent and constantly seeks to improve.
Among other things. Estonia signed free trade agreements with the other
Baltic countries in 1994, and in 1995 it concluded an association agreement with
the EU, of which it became a full member in 2004; However, rising inflation has
delayed the country's changeover to the euro by 2008.
Estonia has received large foreign investments from Finland and Germany in
particular, and after a dive caused by the Russian crisis in 1998, Estonia has
for several years had Europe's highest growth rates in GDP of 5-10% per year.
The Estonian transition from the Soviet to the Western economy has been rapid
and harsh, as the extensive redundancies of the privatization program have had
social consequences that a tight public budget financed by ever lower and
non-progressive personal taxes has not been able to mitigate to any great
extent. Unemployment was estimated at 8% in 2005, and regional and income
inequalities are large under European conditions. Estonia has had a trade and
balance of payments deficit for a number of years.
The main trading partners in 2005 were Finland, Sweden and Germany, while
Russia was gradually displaced to fourth place. In 2005, Denmark's exports to
Estonia amounted to DKK 1307 million. DKK, while imports from Estonia amounted
to 1263 mill. Denmark exported machinery and equipment and imported
sub-supplies to industry.