Estonia is the northernmost of the three former Baltic republics of the Soviet Union, with a 2005 population of 1.32 million people. It is not a homogeneous country: While ethnic Estonians make up 67.5 percent of the overall population, Russians come in a strong second with 25.6 percent. Estonian is the official language, but Russian, Latvian, and Lithuanian are significant as well. Despite some ethnic issues, Estonia has enjoyed a relatively stable transition to democracy and a market economy. While political parties have yet to tap deep roots into society and some scandals have marred political life, Estonia is further on the way to a Western-style political and economic system than most of the former Soviet republics.

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