Ants Laaneots

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Ants Laaneots
Ants Laaneots 2011.jpg
Ants Laaneots (2011)
Nickname(s) Tanki Ants
Born (1948-01-16) 16 January 1948 (age 67)
Allegiance  Soviet Union (to 1991)
 Estonia
Service/branch Soviet Ground Forces
Estonian Defence Forces
Years of service 1966–2011
Rank Kindral
(General)
Commands held Commander-in-Chief
Battles/wars 1987–1989 Ethiopian Civil War
Awards

2nd class Order of the Cross of the Eagle
Defence Forces Service Medal
Ministry of Interior Service Medal
Defence League Service Medal
Estonian Border Guard Service Cross
Estonian Rescue Board Service Medal
10 Years of restored Defence Force Memorial Medal

Legion of Merit (Commander)

Kindral (General) Ants Laaneots, (born 16 January 1948) in Kilingi-Nõmme in Pärnumaa, is the former Commander-in-Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces and a veteran officer in the Soviet Army. General 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 Kindral in 2011. His most recent job was the prime minister's advisor in matters of defence.

Biography[1][edit]

Ants 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.[2] His mother died there in 1952. In July 1966 he entered the Higher Military School in Kharkiv, Ukraine, and graduated in 1970 as an Army Tank Officer. 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 armoured 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 Armoured 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.

Kindralleitnant (Lieutenant General) Ants Laaneots
Commander-in-Chief of the Estonian Defence Forces (r) with Stanley Davis Phillips, US Ambassador to Estonia

After 1991[edit]

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, Ants Laaneots served two times as the Chief of the General Staff of the Estonian Defence Forces – 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/Western mode. From 1994 to 1996 he was in reserve and 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 (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-in-Chief on 5 December 2006. He stepped down as Commander-in-Chief on 5 December 2011 after his 5-year term ended.

As of December 12, 2011, he worked as prime minister Andrus Ansip's advisor in matters of national defence.[3] That job ended on the 28 of March 2014 at the end of Andrus Ansip's term in office.[4]

Military career[edit]

Soviet Army[edit]

(See Military ranks of the Soviet Union)

President Toomas Hendrik Ilves giving Ants Laaneots an artwork from Jüri Arrak in December 2011.

Estonian Army[edit]

(See Military of Estonia#Insignia)

Personal[edit]

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 Natalia and has a grandson and a daughter.

References[edit]