Mart Laar

Mart Laar is an Estonian politician and historian. He served as the Prime Minister of Estonia from 1992 to 1994 and from 1999 to 2002. Laar is credited with having helped bring about Estonia’s rapid economic development during the 1990s. He is a member of Pro Patria and Res Publica Union.

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, balanced the budget, and perhaps most crucially, restored the prewar kroon and pegged it to the stable deutsche mark. 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.

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.

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