13-14 September 2018


Baltic Defence College

Annual Baltic Military History Conference
1918-2018 Hundred years of armed forces development

2018 marks the centenary for a number of states in Eastern Europe and Caucasus. Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, also Armenia, Azerbaijan, Czech Republic, Georgia and Hungary will all celebrate their hundredth anniversary. For these countries, emerging from the ruins of Russian and Austro-Hungarian empires and the turbulent experiences of WWI, gaining and sustaining independence was closely linked with the development of their own armed forces. The 9th Annual Baltic Defence College Military History Conference will address the development of these armed forces and their different fates in the following 100 years, trying grasp the lessons learned through reflection on the processes within and related to armed forces. Special attention will be given to the role of military education in the developmental process of the armed forces. The latter topic will serve as a conduit for the 2019 conference that will look back on our own 20th anniversary.

Keynote Speakers


1:00 pm - 2:00 pm


Registration at the Baltic Defence College Foyer

2:00 pm - 2:05 pm

Administrative Remarks

Mr. Art Johanson

Administrative remarks by Mr. Art Johanson, Lecturer in Military History and Strategic Planning


Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

2:05 pm - 2:10 pm

Welcoming Remarks

Major General Andis Dilāns

Welcoming Remarks by Major General Andis Dilāns, Commandant of BALTDEFCOL 

Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

2:10 pm - 2:40 pm

Keynote speech: Clean slate or lessons from history? Creation of national militaries in 1918 and 1991

Brigadier General (ret) Michael H. Clemmesen

Brigadier General (ret) Michael H. Clemmesen – Comparing the creation of Baltic States’ National Defence Forces in 1918-19 and 1991-95

Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

2:40 pm - 4:10 pm

Keynote panel: Development and reflection of the armed forces – what can we learn from history

Dr. Ivo Juurvee, McS Valdis Kuzmins, Ambassador Alfonsas Eidintas

Dr. Ivo Juurvee: Development of Estonian Intelligence Community 1918-1940 and 1990-2018: Have we learned the lessons?

McS Valdis Kuzmins: 100 years of the lessons learned: The role of history in the military education

Ambassador Alfonsas Eidintas: Army or Militia: creation of the Lithuanian Armed Forces in 1918-1919


Moderator:  Col. (ret.) Dr. Zdzisław Śliwa, Dean of the Baltic Defence College


Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

4:10 pm - 4:30 pm

Coffee Break

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Panel 1. Parallel Session A: Armed forces in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia 1918-1940

Dr. Eric A. Sibul, Major Rauno Viitmann, Mr. Kestutis Kilinskas

Dr. Eric A. Sibul  The Estonian War of Independence 1918 – 1920 What is its significance?  What was learned from it? What can still be learned from it?

Major Rauno Viitmann  Artillery in Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia 1920-1939

Mr. Kestutis Kilinskas – Officer corps in Lithuanian army creation process: former opponents in one trench


Moderator: Mr. Art Johanson, Lecturer in Military History and Strategic Planning


Venue: von Sydow Hall, 4th floor

4:30 pm - 6:00 pm

Panel 1. Parallel session B: Defence doctrines and operations

Dr. Kaarel Piirimäe, Colonel Yrjö Lehtonen, Mr. Mikk Maasikrand

Dr. Kaarel Piirimäe – Imagined War and Small State Capabilities in the 1930s: The peace time Estonian armed forces

Colonel Yrjö Lehtonen – Finnish defence doctrine 1919-1939

Mr. Mikk Maasikrand – The question of controlling the Baltic Sea in 1930’s: Options for the small states.


Moderator: Mr. Maxime Lebrun, Lecturer in War and Conflict Studies


Venue: Hans Haekkerup Hall, R301

7:00 pm - 8:30 pm

Night Owl Session: What has changed in the last 100 years.

Colonel Enno Mõts, Colonel Valts Abolinš, Mr. Valdis Kuzmins, Dr. Ivo Juurvee


Colonel Enno Mõts, The Commandant of the Estonian National Defence College

Colonel Valts Abolinš, The Rector of the Latvian National Defence Academy

Mr. Valdis Kuzmins, Research fellow at the Center for Security and Strategic Research in the Latvian National Defence Academy

Dr. Ivo Juurvee, Research Fellow at the International Centre for Defence and Security


Moderator: Dr. Viljar Veebel, Research Fellow in Russian Strategic and Military Studies


Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

9:00 am - 10:30 am

Panel 2. History of the Georgian and Ukrainian armed forces and reflections on reforming the forces after conflicts with Russia

Colonel Mykhailo Hrebeniuk, Lieutenant Colonel Levan Gugenishvili

Colonel Mykhailo Hrebeniuk – Path of the Ukraine’s armed forces from 1918 to present day

Lieutenant Colonel Levan Gugenishvili – Georgian reforms after conflict with Russia


Moderator:COL (ret) Dr. Çlirim Toci, BALTDEFCOL lecturer NATO Joint Operations

Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

10:30 am - 11:00 am

Coffee break

11:00 am - 12:30 pm

Panel session. Current history. Armed forces development 1991-2018. What are the predictions for the future?

Mr. Viesturs Rasnacis, Colonel (ret) Vaidotas Malinionis

Mr. Viesturs Rasnacis: The main tendencies of the rearmament of the Latvian Armed Forces from 1991 until 1999.

Colonel (ret) Vaidotas Malinionis: Lithuanian armed forces development from the 1991-2018


Moderator: Major General Meelis Kiili, The Commander of the Estonian Defence League


Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College

12:35 pm - 1:00 pm

Closing speech – “The Future Character of Warfare”

General Sir James R. Everard

General Sir James R. Everard (DSACEUR) – “The Future Character of Warfare”


Venue: Main hall of Baltic Defence College


Fill out your information

20 EUR

20 EUR is the regular fee for the participants.

10 EUR

10 EUR is the fee for the students.

Location and Venue


Baltic Defence College

The Baltic Defence College is located on 12 Riia Street in the heart of Tartu, Estonia’s second largest city. It shares the same building with the Estonian National Defence College, a grand neo-classical building with a fascinating history, stretching back into the early twentieth century. The college is within close proximity to the main transport hubs, restaurants and shopping malls in the city centre, as well as the University of Tartu and the University Library.

Address: Riia 12

How to reach Tartu?

By air: The best way to reach Tartu is by Tartu Airport, that has connections with Helsinki Airport. The biggest airport in Estonia is Tallinn’s Lennart Meri International Airport (Tallinna Lennujaam) and there is connections all over the world. As Tartu is located approximately 190 kilometres south of Tallinn, arriving by air to Estonia also involves a two-hour coach journey from the airport to Tartu. However, Tartu Coach Station (Tartu Bussijaam) is located next to Hotel Dorpat and only one kilometer away from BALTDEFCOL.

By coach: Hourly coaches – with WiFi – run between Tallinn Coach Station (Tallinna Bussijaam) and Tartu Coach Station, with the journey taking approximately two hours. Daily coaches also run from Riga in Latvia and St. Petersburg in Russia, taking approximately four hours and seven hours respectively.

By car: Tartu is at the intersection of all major routes in Southern Estonia. National highways connect the city to Tallinn (Route 2) and Riga (Route 3), with the journey taking just over two hours from the former, and three and a half hours from the latter


Nearby Accomodation

Hotel Dorpat (3superior***)

Hotel Dorpat that has partnered with the Baltic Defence College to offer the best prices for the conference participants.

Single room: 60 EUR

Double room: 76 EUR

Please send the e-mail to info@dorpat.ee and mention the code “History Conference” and you will be assigned one of the rooms with special price.

Reserving and paying for the accommodation is the responsibility of the conference participant.

Address: Soola 6

Hotell Lydia (4superior****)

Hotell Lydia is located behind the City Hall and offers accommodation for special price for the participants:

Single 86.10 EUR

Double/twin 107.80 EUR

Please send the e-mail to sales@lydia.ee and mention the code “History Conference” and you will be assigned one of the rooms.

Reserving and paying for the accommodation is the responsibility of the conference participant.

Address: Ülikooli 14

Additional details

Due to its intellectual resources and great beauty, Tartu is often called the ‘Athens of Estonia’. It is Estonia’s second largest city with approximately 100,000 inhabitants. Because of its world-famous university, the city is widely known as the intellectual capital of Estonia. Founded by the King of Sweden, Gustavus Adolphus, in 1632, the university has made Tartu the centre of Estonian education and science for the past few centuries.