Mart Laar
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Mart Laar
Mart Laar
Mart Laar.png
Mart Laar in 2011
9th and 13th
Prime Minister of Estonia

25 March 1999 - 28 January 2002
PresidentLennart Meri
Arnold Rüütel
Mart Siimann
Siim Kallas

21 October 1992 - 8 November 1994
PresidentLennart Meri
Tiit Vähi (acting)
Andres Tarand
Minister of Defence

6 April 2011 - 11 May 2012
Andrus Ansip
Jaak Aaviksoo
Urmas Reinsalu
Leader of the IRL

26 May 2007 - 28 January 2012
Urmas Reinsalu
Personal details
Born (1960-04-22) 22 April 1960 (age 60)
Viljandi, Estonia
Political partyPro Patria
Alma materUniversity of Tartu

Mart Laar (born 22 April 1960) is an Estonian politician and historian. He served as the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1992 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002.[1] Laar is credited with having helped bring about Estonia's rapid economic development during the 1990s.[2] He is a member of the centre-right Isamaa party.[3]

In April 2011, Mart Laar became Minister of Defence in the cabinet of Prime Minister Andrus Ansip[4] and served until his resignation for reasons of health in May 2012.

In April 2013, Riigikogu appointed Laar as chairman of the supervisory board of the Bank of Estonia, his term beginning on 12 June 2013.[5]


Mart Laar was born in Viljandi. He studied history at the University of Tartu, graduating in 1983; he received his master's degree in philosophy and his doctorate in history in 2005. Laar taught history in Tallinn, and served as president of the Council of Historians of the Foundation of the Estonia Inheritance, the Society for the Preservation of Estonian History, and the Estonian Students' Society. Laar has written many books on Estonian and Soviet history, among them War in the Woods: Estonia's Struggle for Survival, 1944-1956, a book about the Forest Brothers anti-Soviet resistance movement.

Laar's political career began when he became a member of the conservative Pro Patria Union party (which later merged with the more technocratic Res Publica Party in 2006). He was elected prime minister by the Riigikogu on 21 October 1992.

In barely two years, from 1992 to 1994, the radical reforming Estonian government of Mart Laar was the first in Europe to introduce the flat tax, privatized most national industry in transparent public tenders, abolished tariffs and subsidies, stabilized the economy and balanced the budget.[6]

Laar claims the only book on economics he had read before becoming prime minister at the age of 32 was Free to Choose by Milton Friedman.[7]

Due to several scandals, Laar was defeated in 1994 by no-confidence vote, when some members of the coalition withdrew their support.[8] Reasons for the vote were publicized details of arms deal with Israel and so called "Ruble scandal" - the sale of 2.3 billion Soviet rubles,[9] withdrawn from circulation during the Estonian monetary reform of 1992, to breakaway Chechen Republic of Ichkeria, carried out by Laar's associates at an Estonian private company, Maag, without consulting Parliament.[10][11][12][13]

Five years later, in 1999, Laar returned to the post, with his main policy goals being to pull the economy out of a slump and lead the country toward the European Union. He remained in the post until he stepped down in 2002.

On 18 May 1999 while Prime Minister, Mart Laar with security advisor Jaan Tross, Võru County head Robert Lepikson and Government Office coordination director Eerik-Niiles Kross used a shotgun to shoot at a photo of Edgar Savisaar, leader of opposition party Keskerakond.[14][15][16] Later he explained that during shooting he acted as a private person, not as the Prime Minister.[17][18] Mart Laar apologized for this event as Prime Minister and army officer.[19][20]


Laar has multiple Orders from Estonia and other countries.[21][22][23]

The results of the radical reforms have been recognized by Cato Institute, which awarded Laar the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty in 2006.[24]

The Acton Institute awarded Dr. Laar their Faith & Freedom Award on 24 October 2007.[25]

Mart Laar is member of Honorary Board of the European Association of History Educators (EUROCLIO).[26] He is also a member of the international advisory council of the Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.[27]

The House of Terror Museum in Hungary awarded Mart Laar the Pet?fi Prize in 2011 for his contributions to investigating the crimes of communism.[28]

Recent activities

Laar during an EPP summit in September 2010

Together with Václav Havel, Filip Dimitrov, Árpád Göncz, Petr Pithart, Vytautas Landsbergis, Patricio Aylwin and other transition leaders, he participates in the International Committee for Democracy in Cuba.[29]

Laar and Mikheil Saakashvili at the European People's Party summit in 2010

Laar is a member of the International Council of the New York-based Human Rights Foundation[30] and a founding member of the Unitas Foundation.[31]

Minister of finance of Finland Jyrki Katainen, Mart Laar and the chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel in the EPP Summit of 2010

In 2003, Laar received the Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Award brought about the development of electronic systems in Estonia to upgrade the country's infrastructure.[32]

After the Rose Revolution in Georgia, Laar became advisor to the country's President Mikheil Saakashvili and on 2010 received Order of St. George.[33]

In September 2006, Laar announced that he will come out of political retirement to run for the candidacy for Prime Minister of the new Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica party.

Mart Laar was Mont Pelerin Society member.[34]

On 26 May 2007 he was elected a Chairman of the Union of Pro Patria and Res Publica.

On 18 February 2012 Mart Laar suffered from a stroke[35] and stepped down as Defence Minister three months later.[36] Until October 2012 Laar had still been staying out of the public eye, but was reportedly recovering.[37]

In 2012, the Estonian National Audit Office declassified a 1995 audit about arms deal which caused newspaper Eesti Ekspress to publish a critical article about Laar.[38]

Relationship with the media

In 1994, the Estonian Newspaper Association declared Laar the Year's Press Friend. This was the first time this award was given; since that, it has been a yearly occurrence.[39] In 2001, Laar was given the complementary award of Year's Press Enemy.[40]

In January 2012, Laar became a meme, when in the heat of the ACTA discussion in Estonia, he explained the disappearance of ACTA-related posts from his Facebook page with "lack of space" in Facebook.[41][42][43] Later he clarified that posts were deleted by his page's moderator without his approval and that ACTA requires further discussion.[44]

Published works

  • How Estonia is setting the bar for 'smart defense (The Baltic Times, 2012) (in English)
  • The Power of Freedom: Central and Eastern Europe after 1945 (Centre for European Studies, 2009) ISBN 978-9949-18-858-1 (in English)
  • Eesti Leegion sõnas ja pildis - The Estonian Legion in words and pictures. Grenader. 2008. ISBN 9949-422-61-2.
  • "Stalinism Was Just as Bad as Nazism" (The Wall Street Journal, 2008)
  • September 1944: Otto Tiefi valitsus (Varrak, 2007) ISBN 9985-3-1390-9 (in Estonian)
  • Estonia's Way (Pegasus, 2006) ISBN 9949-425-43-3 (in English)
  • Sinimäed 1944 (Tallinn, 2006) ISBN 9985-3-1117-5 (in Estonian)
  • Lähiajalugu: gümnaasiumile (Avita, 2006) ISBN 9985-2-1173-1 (in Estonian)
  • Esto?ski cud (Arwil, 2006) ISBN 83-60533-00-8 (in Polish)
  • The Forgotten War (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-75-0 (in English)
  • Der vergessene Krieg (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-76-9 (in German)
  • Der rote Terror (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-82-3 (in German)
  • Sarkanais terors (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-78-5 (in Latvian)
  • Aizmirstais kar? (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-72-6 (in Latvian)
  • Unohdettu sota (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-73-4 (in Finnish)
  • Eestlase raha läbi aegade (Eesti Ekspressi Kirjastus, 2006) ISBN 9985-9625-6-7 (in Estonian)
  • Igaunija otraja pasaules kara (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-90-4 (in Latvian)
  • Estonia in World War II (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-93-9 (in English)
  • Viron lyhyt historia' (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-85-8 (in Finnish)
  • Streifzug durch die estnische Geschichte (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-88-2 (in German)
  • Äratajad (Tartu, 2005) ISBN 9985-858-43-3 (in Estonian)
  • Igaunijas vestures konspektivs parskats (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 978-9949-411-84-9 (in Latvian)
  • Linnulennul Eesti ajaloost (Grenader, 2005) ISBN 9949-411-83-1 (in Estonian)
  • Estonia: A Land of Human Dimensions (Uniprint AS, 2004) ISBN 9949-10-270-7 (in English)
  • Emajõgi 1944 (Tallinn, 2005) ISBN 9985-3-1183-3 (in Estonian)
  • Das estnische Wirtschaftwunder (Tallinn, 2002) ISBN 978-9985-62-078-6 (in German)
  • Estonia: Little Country that Could (London, 2002) ISBN 0-948027-40-1 (in English)
  • Eesti uus algus (Tallinn, 2002) ISBN 9985-62-079-8 (in Estonian)
  • Vissza a jöv?be (Budapest, 2002) ISBN 963-9406-96-1 (in Hungarian)
  • Back to the future. 10 years of freedom in Central Europe (Tallinn, 2001) (in English)
  • Észtország története (BDTF, 1999) ISBN 963-9017-70-1 (in Hungarian)
  • Estonoj tra tempoj (Eesti Esperanto Liit, 1998) ISBN 9985-9130-3-5 (in Esperanto)
  • Eesti Vabadussõda ja Suurbritannia 1918-1920 (Tallinn, 1998) (in Estonian)
  • Ajalugu 5. klassile (Avita, 1997) ISBN 978-9985-2-0025-4 (in Estonian)
  • Isamaa ilu hoieldes (Välis-Eesti & EMP, 1997) (in Estonian)
  • Teine Eesti: Eesti iseseisvuse taassünd 1986-1991 (Tallinn, 1996) ISBN 9985-854-03-9 (in Estonian)
  • Punane terror (Välis-Eesti & EMP, 1996) ISBN 978-91-86116-72-9 (in Estonian)
  • Raamat Jakob Hurdast (Tartu. 1995) (in Estonian)
  • Suurim armastus (Välis-Eesti & EMP, 1994) (in Estonian)
  • The Challenge for Europe (London, 1994) ISBN 1-897969-23-6 (in English)
  • Metsavennad (Tallinn, 1993) ISBN 9985-821-44-0 (in Estonian)
  • Unohdettu sota (FinnEpos, 1993) ISBN 952-9523-18-1 (in Finnish)
  • War in the Woods (Howells House, 1992) ISBN 0-929590-08-2 (in English)
  • 14 juuni 1941.a: mälestusi ja dokumente (Tallinn, 1990) (in Estonian)
  • Kodu lugu (Tallinn, 1989) (in Estonian)


  1. ^ Europe Review 2003/04: The Economic and Business Report - Google Boeken. Retrieved .
  2. ^ Braithwaite, Rodric (2008). "Misreading Russia". Survival. Routledge. 50 (4): 169-176. doi:10.1080/00396330802329097.
  3. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2017-04-29. Retrieved .CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. ^ "Mart Laar becomes Estonia's new Defense Minister". Archived from the original on 2013-05-09. Retrieved .
  5. ^ Riigikogu nimetas Laari keskpanga nõukogu esimeheks Archived 2013-11-07 at the Wayback Machine,, 23 April 2013.
  6. ^ [1][dead link]
  7. ^ "Walking on Water: How to Do It". The Brussels Journal. Retrieved .
  8. ^ Hare, P. G; Judy Batt; Saul Estrin (1999). Reconstituting the Market. Routledge. p. 205. ISBN 90-5702-329-6.
  9. ^ Smith, David James (2002). The Baltic States. Routledge. p. 91. ISBN 0-415-28580-1.
  10. ^ Allah's Mountains: The Battle for Chechnya, New Edition - Sebastian Smith - Google Boeken. Retrieved .
  11. ^ "Baltic Voices". Baltic Voices. Archived from the original on 2012-07-23. Retrieved .
  12. ^ "Archive | No. 1 (3) 2001". The Baltic Course. Retrieved .
  13. ^ "Eesti Päevaleht". Retrieved .
  14. ^ "Mart Laar 50: kaksteist kaadrit kahekordsest peaministrist - Arvamus". Retrieved .
  15. ^ "“Mart Laar vassis ja valetas”. | Õhtuleht". Retrieved .
  16. ^ "". Retrieved .
  17. ^ DELFI. "Laar: ma olin pilti tulistades eraisik - Eesti Päevaleht". Retrieved .
  18. ^ Deevision Webgraphics. "<< Saarlane >> - Eesti uudised: Laar väidab, et peaministrina polegi ta kogu aeg peaminister". Archived from the original on 2016-01-10. Retrieved .
  19. ^ DELFI. "Mart Laari pihtimus - Eesti Päevaleht". Retrieved .
  20. ^ "Uus raamat «". Archived from the original on 2013-02-13. Retrieved .
  21. ^ "Eesti Vabariigi President 1992-2001 - Ametitegevus - Teenetemärgid - Riigivapp". Retrieved .
  22. ^ "". Retrieved .
  23. ^ "Riigikogu". 1960-04-22. Retrieved .
  24. ^ Lindsey, Brink (2006-05-18). "Mart Laar, Friedman Prize Winner | Cato @ Liberty". Retrieved .
  25. ^ "Mart Laar to Receive Acton Institute's Faith & Freedom Award | Acton Institute". Retrieved .
  26. ^ [2][dead link]
  27. ^ "International Advisory Council". Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation. Archived from the original on 2011-06-10. Retrieved .
  28. ^ Teesalu, Ingrid (2011-12-15). "Laar Receives Award for Shedding Light on Communist Crimes". ERR. Retrieved 2011.
  29. ^ "ICDC: International Committee for Democracy in Cuba". Retrieved .
  30. ^ "Human Rights Foundation - International Council". Archived from the original on 2013-05-14. Retrieved .
  31. ^ "Home". Unitas Foundation. Archived from the original on 25 April 2012. Retrieved 2012.
  32. ^ "Wharton Infosys Business Transformation Awards 2003 Honor Innovative Users of Technology; Fujitsu Siemens, ING Direct, Imperial Sugar Company Among the Winners. - Free Online Library". Retrieved .
  33. ^ "The President of Georgia awarded Mart Laar with the Order of St. George". Retrieved .
  34. ^ "The Mont Pelerin Society | RNH". Retrieved .
  35. ^ "Mart Laar Leaves Intensive Care | IRL". 2012-04-26. Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved .
  36. ^ "Mart Laar tendered his resignation to the Prime Minister | IRL". Archived from the original on 2013-10-17. Retrieved .
  37. ^ "Mart Laar astub pärast kaheksakuulist vahepausi taas avalikkuse ette" (in Estonian). 19 October 2012.
  38. ^ Ekspress. "Riigisaladuste avalikustamine paljastas Laari vale - Eesti uudised - Eesti Ekspress". Retrieved .
  39. ^ (in Estonian) Eesti Ajalehtede Liit 3 December 1998: Ajalehtede Liit valis viiendaks pressis?braks president Meri Archived 2016-03-03 at the Wayback Machine
  40. ^ (in Estonian) Eesti Ajalehtede Liit 6 December 2001: 2001. aasta pressis?braks valiti Ingrid Rüütel
  41. ^ "Dear Minister Laar: The Internet is not running out of space". Toronto Star. 2 February 2012.
  42. ^ "Minister gets caught deleting FB comments, claims he "ran out of Facebook space". Empire Chronicles. 26 January 2012.
  43. ^ "Estonian politician becomes a meme". The Daily Dot. 28 January 2012.
  44. ^ "Laar postituste kustutamisest: Facebookis sai ruum otsa" (in Estonian). ERR. 26 January 2012. Archived from the original on 17 February 2013.

External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Tiit Vähi
Prime Minister of Estonia
Succeeded by
Andres Tarand
Preceded by
Mart Siimann
Prime Minister of Estonia
Succeeded by
Siim Kallas
Preceded by
Jaak Aaviksoo
Minister of Defence of Estonia
Succeeded by
Urmas Reinsalu

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