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ARMY BOOTS OF THE WORLD. REVIEWS

Estonian Combat Boots (Eesti Kaitseväe saapad)

The Republic of Estonia (Eesti Vabariik) is a small Baltic country with a population of just 1.4 million people. The country's language and culture are very close to the Finns, who act in relation to the Estonian nation as the "elder brothers", including the matters of defence and security. After the withdrawal of Soviet troops from three ex-Soviet Baltic republics almost all military equipment and appliances were removed too, and the governments of these three Baltic countries decided to restore the national army on the basis of its old pre-war traditions, almost "from the very beginning", and appealed to the neighbouring Western countries.

The military assistance was received basically from Sweden and Finland, as well as from Germany, which gave them their outdated military stuff and equipment, in the worst cases the Baltic countries had to pay only for the transportation of supplies. Soldiers and officers of the Baltic armies served in the armies of the Scandinavian countries, particularly in the Swedish army, just in the same way as the local military, with the exception of national flags worn. The idea was that after the service these military staff, having received the necessary skills and practical experience, had to go home and continue to train their country's recruits already on the basis of the Western Army and Navy standards.

The Armed Forces of Estonia ("Kaitsevägi")

consist of three main components: the Land Forces (Army) - "Maavägi", the Navy - "Merevägi" and the Air Force - "Õhuvägi", and one auxiliary component - The Defence Union ("Kaitseliit"). All of these components are under the command of the Estonian Ministry of Defence ("Eesti Kaitseministeerium").

"Kaitseliit" is actually the Estonian analogue of the National Guard, and it was created on November 11, 1918 in order to protect the independence and territorial integrity of Estonia. It is subordinated to the Estonian Ministry of Defence and has approximately 13,000 members. If to take into account all the Estonian auxiliary organizations, such as "Naiskodukaitse" - "Women's Protection House" (medical and logistical support Kaytseliita), "Noored Kotkad" - "Eaglets" and "Kodutütred" - "Daughters of the homeland" (scout organizations), the Estonian Defence Union has up to 21 thousand active participants.

The regular Armed Forces of Estonia of the peacetime have approximately 3,800 military personnel in total (3,300 persons- in the army, 300 in the Navy and 200 - in the Air Force), 1,500 of them are recruits. During the wartime, the planned number of the regular Estonian Armed Forces is about 16 thousand people. In the recent years, the Estonian troops were taking active part in the peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Afghanistan (as a part of ISAF), Iraq and Lebanon.

Since 1991, the Armed Forces and other state security agencies of Estonia used a wide variety of army boots. Among the main and most massive military boots in Estonia one should mention:

- Finnish M91 military boots by "Jalas" and "Sievi",


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