Documentary looks at the 'kolkhoz' farming system in Latvia

Latvian Television has prepared another in its series of short documentary films "Keys To Latvian History" complete with English-language subtitles.

The subject in this episode is the "kolkhoz" farming system imposed across the Soviet Union and its occupied territories. The collectivization of farming was supposed to lead to huge increases in efficiency, productivity and modernization of agriculture, but often had the reverse effect.

It also involved social engineering along ideological lines on a massive scale, a favorite method of Soviet power to suppress dissent and destroy any lingering memories of better times.

As the documentary notes, far from delivering the bright and bountiful future it had promised, the net result was that "After more than a century, serfdom was essentially reinstated in Latvia."

Yet as the documentary also notes, memories of kolkhoz life linger on and continue to play a part in the Latvian psyche. 

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.

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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