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Mart Laar

Former Prime Minister of Estonia

In 1992, at the age of thirty two, Laar was appointed Estonia’s first post-communist Prime Minister by Estonian President Lennart Meri. In 1999 he returned to the post to bring Estonia’s economic crisis to an end and to lead Estonia toward admission to the European Union.

Laar led Estonia through rapid and profound economic reforms. These reforms won praise and laid the groundwork for Estonia’s tremendous economic growth and its acceptance to the European Union. Under Mart Laar Estonia’s economy became widely known as the “Baltic Tiger.”

As a historian, Laar has written several books on Estonian and Russian history, including War in the Woods: Estonia's Struggle for Survival, 1944-1956 about those who refused to accept the Soviet Union’s annexation of Estonia.

In 2006 Laar was the recipient of the Cato Institute's Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty which is awarded biannually to "an individual who has made a significant contribution to advancing human freedom."
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