Documentary looks at five recent Latvian presidents

Take note – story published 3 years and 10 months ago

Latvian Television's series of short historical documentaries continues with another episode prepared, complete with English-language subtitles.

This time the institution of the state presidency is under scrutiny and specifically the first five presidents who have occupied the highest office in the land since the restoration of independence. The documentary was originally made before current President Egils Levits took office.

Their contrasting backgrounds and contrasting achievements in office are recounted, which with the benefit of hindsight perhaps explains why some were more successful than others. It even dwells on each president's English-language skills, which is a perennial obsession among president-watchers, even though the rest of the world seems not particularly bothered.  

Indeed, the documentary delivers a fairly harsh verdict on most of Latvia's recent heads of state, with one notable exception. Nor does it shy away from the murky ways in which some have reached high office.

According to LTV "The Keys" series tells of the most important or "key" events, personalities and turning points in the history of the Latvian state from 1918 to the present. The purpose is to reveal each selected event from an unusual point of view, as if "unlocking the door" to lesser known and therefore particularly intriguing facts. 

"Such an exploratory approach, bypassing the usual stereotypes of presenting history, will allow viewers to perceive what is known to others and to better understand what has happened in the context of today's experience," says LTV.

Throughout the year, Latvian history will be told in 'mixed order' - events will not be sequenced year by year, but viewed in the exact month in which they occurred

The show is made by VFS Films, a long-time partner of Latvian Television and it is hosted by Mārtiņš Ķibilds, a distinguished cultural journalist who sadly passed away late last year.


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