Estonia, a former Soviet Republic, the most northerly of the three Baltic states, borders the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. Was occupied by the USSR in 1939, and regained its independence with the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. Estonia was admitted to the European Union on 1 May 2004, and has become one of the most economically successful of the EU’s newer eastern European members.

Estonia is a democratic parliamentary republic divided into fifteen counties. Its capital and largest city is Tallinn. Its population – 1.3 million (68.7% – Estonians, 25.1% – Russians).