Estonia - education
In the 1990's, education in Estonia was strongly influenced by an ideological
reorientation after the Soviet period; it has manifested itself in reforms
of the content of education, in the change of language of instruction from
Russian to Estonian, and in an incipient privatization of higher education in
particular. In 1993, Russian was abolished as a language of instruction in high
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There is nine years of compulsory schooling, which is fulfilled in primary
school, algkoolid, which is four years old, and in the lower secondary
school, põhikoolid, which is five years old. The upper tier of the
three-year secondary school, gümnaasiumid, is voluntary. The youth
educations include in addition to the high school, which is applied for by
approximately 60% of a cohort (1993), vocational schools receiving
approximately 30%. approximately 90% of a cohort continues in a youth education. For the
3-7-year-olds there are kindergartens.
Higher education is offered at 22 different educational institutions (1994),
several of which are private.
OFFICIAL NAME: Eesti (off. Eesti Vabariik, da. Republic of Estonia)
CAPITAL CITY: Tallinn
POPULATION: 1,317,000 (Source: COUNTRYaah)
AREA: 45,227 km²
OFFICIAL LANGUAGE (S): Estonian, Russian, Ukrainian, Finnish, Estonian-Swedish
RELIGION: Lutherans 20%, Orthodox 20%, other Christians 5%, others 55%
COIN: euro (EUR)
ENGLISH NAME: Estonia
POPULATION COMPOSITION: Estonians 65%, Russians 28%, Ukrainians 3%, Belarusians 2%, Finns 1%, others
GDP PER residents: $ 5866 (2007)
LIFE EXPECTANCY: men 66 years, women 77 years (2007)
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, HDI: 0.858
INDEX OF LIVING CONDITIONS, POSITION: 40
INTERNET DOMAIN NAME: .ee
Estonia, Baltic Republic. Estonia is the northernmost and smallest of the
three Baltic countries that regained independence in connection with the
dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. Estonia was considered the most modern
and prosperous of the Soviet republics, and Estonian goods were in demand in the
rest of the Soviet Union. After independence, the traditional markets have
become less important, and a difficult reorientation to the west has begun,
e.g. with support from the Nordic countries. The historical, cultural and
linguistic ties are particularly close to Finland. A special problem is the
very large Russian-speaking minority, which has difficult conditions under the
strong Estonian national feeling, and which makes up the majority of the
approximately 91,000 people (6.8% of the population) who are stateless (2015).
Estonia - Constitution
The Constitution entered into force on 3.7.1992 after being adopted by a
referendum five days earlier. It is explicitly based on the 1938
Constitution. Constitutional amendments require that two consecutive sitting
parliaments with at least, 3/5 majority, ie. 61 votes, adopts a proposal for a
constitutional amendment. Legislative power lies with the elected parliament, Riigikogu,
which has 101 members.
Estonia is divided into 12 constituencies, 3 of which are in
Tallinn. Ordinary parliamentary elections must be held every four years by
direct proportional representation with a 5% threshold. Eligible to vote are
Estonian nationals who have reached the age of 18, including those residing
abroad. Votes cast before election day can be cast electronically via the
Internet, while on election day itself they are cast in polling
stations. Following a constitutional amendment (2015), the voting age in
municipal elections has been reduced to 16 years, and in the municipal elections
in 2017, approximately 24,000 16- and 17-year-olds to have the right to vote.
The president must be born ester and turned 40 years old; he is elected by
Parliament for a term of five years and may hold office for a maximum of two
consecutive terms. The President appoints the Prime Minister, he is
Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces and may propose to Parliament to declare
the country at war. Parliament can declare the country a state of emergency.
Estonia - social conditions
Before independence, social conditions in Estonia were organized according to
the Soviet model, which meant work for all, free medical care and
pensions. Following independence in 1991, a liberal model was implemented, based
on a tax system with income tax, a VAT system and a social tax paid primarily by
companies; of the proceeds from here goes 2/3 for the
Social Insurance and 1/3 to a health insurance system.
In the labor market, legislation has been adopted based on the Nordic and
Western European models, but it is far from complete and the wage level is very
low. The retirement age in 1994 was 60 years for men and 55 years for women. The
national pension constitutes 85% of the minimum wage; 100% for the
disabled. After the privatization of the housing stock, some housing support can
It was estimated in 1992 that about 20% of the population lived on a
subsistence level and many others lived on a low economic level. Yet, in the
mid-1990's, social stability is beginning to emerge, and although a class of
so-called newcomers has also emerged, fewer social tensions are seen than in
many other former communist countries.
Estonia (Health conditions)
The birth rate has dropped below 15 ‰ in 1993, and mortality is rising. Life
expectancy is 74 years for women and 63 years for men. Child mortality is
significantly higher than in the Nordic countries: in 1993 it was 15.5 per. 1000
live births. The number of abortions increased and in 1993 amounted to 169
per. 100 births. Mortality due to cardiovascular disease is high and accounts
for 55% of all deaths. Cancer is responsible for 16% of mortality. Suicide,
homicide and accidents cause 14% of deaths, the proportion is increasing.
Estonia spent 4.4% of GDP on health care in 1993, and from 1994 the financing
is predominantly through public health insurance, which covers virtually
everyone. The country has two doctors, three nurses and ten hospital beds
per. 1000 residents The legislation aims at reducing the number of hospitals
and strengthening a health service near the citizens.
Estonia - legal system
Estonia reintroduced in 1991 the private law that existed before 1940, and
thus again introduced private property rights. A 1994 law on the general
principles of the Civil Code set out the framework for the forthcoming Civil
Code, which now contains a bond law, family law and inheritance law.
The Estonian Citizenship Act of 1995 stipulates, among other things, that a
foreigner can become an Estonian citizen if he or she has lived in Estonia for
five years before and stays there for one year after applying for
citizenship. In addition, the applicant must be familiar with the Estonian
language and the Estonian constitution, be loyal to the state and have a fixed
and legal income.
Estonia - mass media
The first newspapers were German-language and were published from 1689 in the
capital Tallinn. It was not until 1806 that newspapers were published in
Estonian, broadcast from the university city of Tartu. Until 1917, all
newspapers were subjected to strict censorship by the Russian Empire, yet the
often small Estonian newspapers meant a lot to the development and maintenance
of a modern Estonian written language. The Constitution of 1920 guaranteed the
freedom of the press in an independent Estonia, but as early as 1933,
exceptional laws put freedom of the press out of force, and during the Soviet
occupation, the Estonian press was subject to strict censorship.
As early as 1985, the Estonian newspapers became spearheads of a new
independence movement, initially built around the struggle for a better
environment and from the late 1980's openly around a struggle for an independent
Estonia. The radio (grdl. 1926) and the television (grdl. 1955) also had the
opportunity for a profiled program area around environmental issues.
After the independence in 1991, an explosion in the media supply followed,
first in the print media, from 1992 also in the electronic media with the
introduction of private radio and television stations. Since the mid-1990's,
however, there has been a sharp concentration of the growing Estonian press. In
2004, 13 officially registered dailies and 120 weekly newspapers were published.
Estonia - literature
The first book in Estonian is Luther's Little Catechism, printed in 1535. In
1739 came the first Bible translation. The national revival in the second half
of the 1800's. was reflected in intensive studies of the Estonian language and
folklore, and on this subject the physician Friedrich Reinhold
Kreutzwald composed the national heroic epic Kalevipoeg (1857-61, da.
The other great national romantic is Lydia Koidula (1843-86), whose poems
were put to music and enjoyed immense popularity at singing competitions.
Naturalism was initiated by Eduard Vilde (1865-1933) with the novel To
the Cold Land (1896), and together with August Kitzberg (1856-1927) he also
gained great importance for the development of Estonian drama.
From 1905, the modernist, Western Europe-oriented movement Noor-Eesti ('Young
Estonia') was leading the way. At the head were the poet Gustav Suits
(1883-1956), who was twice forced into exile, and Friedebert Tuglas (1886-1971),
prose writer and a pioneering literary critic.
During the period of independence, Anton Hansen Tammsaare was the leading
prose writer. Among the lyricists, Marie Under (1883-1980) took a special
position with her bold nature and love poetry. From 1944 she lived unnoticed in
Stockholm, which became the headquarters of exile literature, and from which new
impulses throughout the Soviet period illegally flowed to Estonia.
In its first phase, many writers were imprisoned or deported. A massive
ideologization set in, and oppositional literature was suppressed.
After the thaw, conditions became freer, and the 1960's were marked by
experiments in all genres. Since 1988, many writers were active in the popular
front movement, such as Lennart Meri, who in 1992 became president of the new,
independent Estonia, and the poet Paul Eerik Rummo (b. 1942), who became
Minister of Culture.
The most important author in recent times is Jaan Kross, whose historical
novels have contributed to a renewed international awareness of Estonian
Estonia - music
The oldest known music among the Finno-Ugric peoples is the Estonian runic
song, which can be traced to the millennium before the birth of
Christ. The runo songs are limited in melodic scope, but rich in
variations. There are a total of over 30,000 melodies and 133,000
variations. The genre was widespread among people in the countryside until the
mid-1800's, when it was slowly replaced by rhyming folk songs.
Around the same time, the first distinctly Estonian art music was created,
closely linked to the nascent national consciousness, which was especially
expressed at the national choral festivals. They have taken place every five
years since 1869 with up to 30,000 performers and 250,000 singing
listeners. After the incorporation into the Soviet Union in 1944, the Estonians
used the song festivals in Tallinn as a mark of their cultural identity.
Estonia's first professional composers were trained
in Skt. Petersburg towards the end of the 1800's; they especially wrote songs for
the choral movement. In the 1890's, Rudolf Tobias (1873-1918) composed the first
symphonic works in Estonia, and in 1900 the first symphony orchestra was founded
in Tartu. In 1870, opera houses were opened in Tallinn (Estonia) and
Tartu (Vanemuine), but it was not until 1906 that the full-time
ensembles were given ensembles.
After independence in 1918, conservatories were founded, around whose leaders
two different schools were formed. In Tallinn, Artur Kapp (1878-1952) and his
students sought classical clarity in vocal music; in Tartu, on the other hand,
Heino Eller (1887-1970) and his students sought a synthesis of Estonian
traditions and modern forms of expression.
The composers, who had remained in the country during the German occupation,
were pursued by the Stalinist authorities after the war. Several fled the terror
in 1944, including the country's leading symphonist Eduard Tubin (1905-82), who
settled in Sweden. Stalin's death meant a breakthrough for modernism in
Estonia; Among other things, Eino Tamberg's (1930-2010) Concerto grosso was premiered
in 1956. The composers of his generation, who from the 1950's were given more
leeway, also include Veljo Tormis (1930-2017) and Arvo Pärt (b. 1935), who
settled in 1980. with his family in Berlin following pressure from the Soviet
Arvo Pärt began with twelve-tone techniques, but reached a distinctive
minimalism, which was taken over by other composers. One of the most prominent
figures among the younger composers of the 1990's is Erkki-Sven Tüür (b. 1959).
In 1980, conductor Neeme Järvi emigrated to the United States. His colleague
Eri Klas (1939-2016) (also known as a boxer), on the other hand, chose to stay
at the Estonia Theater in Tallinn, from where he has engaged in the
political-cultural breakthrough of the 1990's; with a background in the choral
movement and its significance for the country's new independence, he has
characterized it as the singing revolution. Eri Klas was chief
conductor of the Aarhus Symphony Orchestra in 1991-96.