Ants Laaneots (born 16 January 1948) is an Estonian politician and former military officer. He was previously the Commander of the Estonian Defence Forces and a veteran officer in the Soviet Army. Laaneots previously served as the Commandant of the Estonian National Defence College from 2001 to 2006. He was appointed the Commander-in-Chief on 5 December 2006 and was promoted to general in 2011. After retiring from the military, he became a politician.
|Born||16 January 1948|
|Allegiance|| Soviet Union (1966–1991)|
|Service/|| Soviet Army|
Estonian Defense Force
|Years of service||1966–2011|
|Commands held||Commander of the Defence Forces|
Commandant of the Estonian National Defence College
Chief of the General Staff
|Battles/wars||1987–1989 Ethiopian Civil War|
|Awards||1st Class of the Order of the Cross of the Eagle|
Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion of Finland
Commander 1st class of the Order of the Polar Star
Commander Degree of the Legion of Merit
Early life and educationEdit
Laaneots was born on 16 January 1948 in Kilingi-Nõmme, Estonia. In 1948 the NKVD arrested his father for being a forest brother. For that he was deported to Siberia between 1949–1958. His mother died there in 1952. A year after finishing school, he worked as an assistant to a railway mechanic at Pääsküla railway station. In July 1966 he entered the Higher Military School in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and graduated in 1970 as an Army Tank Officer assigned to the Kiev Military District. He specialized in the T-64 Tank.
From 1970 to 1978, he served as a platoon leader, company commander, and battalion commander of the 300th Tank Regiment for the Soviet Army in Ukraine, mostly commanding fleets of T-64 Tanks. From 1978 to 1981, Laaneots studied in the Malinovsky Military Academy of Armored Forces (Военная академия бронетанковых войск им. Р. Я. Малиновского) in Moscow for an armored brigade commander's course, and to qualify on the newly introduced T-80 Tank.. From 1981 to 1987, he was posted to the Soviet-Chinese border in Eastern Kazakhstan. During this assignment he served as the Executive Officer of the 96th Tank Regiment, two years as the Commander of the 180th Tank Regiment, and three years as the Deputy Commander-Chief of Staff of the 78th Armored Division.
From 1987 to 1989, he deployed to Ethiopia where he spent one year as the military advisor to the commander of an infantry division, and a year and a half as the military advisor to the commanding general of an army corps participating in combat activities. Before his resignation from the Soviet Army in September 1991, he served as the Chief of Regional Department of Defence, Tartu in Estonia.
Laaneots was one of the founding-officers of the Estonian Army, defecting from the Soviet Army after the August 1991 attempted coup in Moscow. After Estonia regained its independence in 1991, Laaneots served two times as the Chief of the General Staff – from 1991 to 1994, and from 1997 to 1999. He was crucial in transforming the doctrine and tactics of the Estonian Defence Forces from a Soviet mode to a NATO and western mode. From 1994 to 1996 he was in reserve (Director of the Security company AS ESS Lõuna). In 1997 Laaneots was appointed to the position of Inspector General of the Defence Forces. During his second tenure, in 1998, he graduated from the NATO Defence College in Rome, Italy.
In 1998, he was promoted to kindralmajor (English: Major general). In 2000, after a year at the course in the Finnish National Defence College, he was appointed the head of the Baltic Defence Research Centre located in Estonia. From September 2001 through to December 2006, he was Commandant of the Estonian National Defence College. Ants Laaneots was appointed the Commander of the Defence Forces on 5 December 2006. He stepped down as Commander of the Defence Forces on 5 December 2011 after his 5-year term ended.
As of 12 December 2011, he worked as prime minister Andrus Ansip's advisor in matters of national defence. That job ended on 28 March 2014 at the end of Andrus Ansip's term in office. Laaneots joined the Reform Party in late 2014. In the 2015 parliamentary election, Laaneots was elected to the parliament with 5,907 individual votes.
In 2016, after NATO soldiers in Estonia were targeted with racist insults by locals, Laaneots stated that Russians directed the vitriol in order to compromise the relationship between Estonia and the U.S.
Effective dates of promotionEdit
|Senior Lieutenant (ста́рший лейтена́нт)||1973|
|Lieutenant Colonel (подполко́вник)||1982|
|Major General (kindralmajor)||19 June 1998|
|Lieutenant General (kindralleitnant)||18 February 2008|
|General (kindral)||16 June 2011|
Awards, decorations, and recognitionEdit
Awards and decorationsEdit
|Estonian Awards and decorations|
|1st Class of the Order of the Cross of the Eagle||23 February 2012|
|2nd Class of the Order of the Cross of the Eagle||23 February 2000|
|White Cross of the Estonian Defence League (I class)||11 November 2011|
|White Cross of the Estonian Defence League (III class)|
|Cross of Merit of the Ministry of Defence (I class)||23 February 2011|
|Distinguished Service Decoration of the EDF||23 February 1998|
|Order of Merit of the Estonian Defence Forces||18 February 2005|
|Gold Cross of the Officer of Land Forces|
|Navy decoration " Belief and the Will " Class II " Silver Anchor "|
|Estonian Defence Forces General Staff Cross of Merit||12 November 2003|
|Merit Medal of the Defence League Special Class|
|Memorial Medal "10 Years of the Re-Established Defence Forces"|
|Armed Resistance Cross of Merit|
|The Baltic Defence College Medal of Merit (gold)|
|NCO School Medal of Merit|
|Memorial Cross "Spearhead Admiral Pitka"|
|Distinguished Service Decoration of the Police and Border Guard Board|
|Police Cross of Merit 2nd class|
|Golden Cross of the Rescue Board|
|Border Guard Cross of Merit I Class|
|Memorial Medal 10 Years of the Re-Established Border Guard (I Class)|
|Cross of the Estonian Reserve Officers' Assembly (gold)||12 June 2001|
|Admiral Johan Pitka Brothers-in-Arms Club Medal of Merit|
|St. George's Night Great Star||2007|
|Commander Grand Cross of the Order of the Lion of Finland||(Finland)|
|Commander Degree of the Legion of Merit||4 July 2012 (U.S.)|
|Commander 1st class of the Order of the Polar Star||18 January 2011 (Sweden)|
|Commemorative Medal of the Minister of Defense of the Slovak Republic First Class||15 November 2011 (Slovakia)|
|Order of the Red Star||(Soviet Union)|
His main research interests include modern conflicts, conflicts involving small states/nations, development of national defence. Since 1999, he has 48 publications, among others 1 monograph, 3 academic papers published in international journals and 15 other academic papers.
In addition to the Estonian language, General Laaneots is fluent in English, Russian, Belarusian, and Finnish. He is an active member of the Estonian National Defence League and the Rotary Club. He is married to a Ukrainian-Moldovan woman named Natalia and has a son and a daughter (and four grandchildren).
- "Uudised 99/03/25". Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011.
- "Антс Лаанеотс: у человека должны быть цель, амбиции и сила воли". Rus.Postimees.ee (in Russian). 9 December 2011. Retrieved 30 July 2022.
- Official Biography, http://www.nato.int/
- Former Commander-in-Chief Ants Laaneots starts work as the Prime Ministers advisor (news in Estonian).
- Laaneots left the position of Prime Ministers advisor (news in Estonian).
- Generals Laaneots and Kert joined the Reform Party (news in Estonian).
- "Riigikogu valimised 2015: Detailne hääletamistulemus". Vabariigi Valimiskomisjon. Retrieved 11 November 2015.
- Klikushin, Mikhail (22 February 2016). "Estonia Wants More NATO Troops—But Only If They Aren't Black". The Observer. Retrieved 25 February 2016.
- "38.Sõjaväeliste auastmete andmine". Office of the President. 19 June 1998. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "45. Sõjaväeliste auastmete andmine". Office of the President. 18 February 2008. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "150. A. Laaneotsale sõjaväelise auastme andmine". Office of the President. 16 June 2011. Archived from the original on 20 August 2016. Retrieved 3 August 2016.
- "EROK teeneteristi kavalerid". Eesti Reservohvitseride Kogu. Retrieved 4 December 2015.
- "Jüriöö teenetemärgi kavalerid". Jöriöö Park. Retrieved 4 December 2015.