Documentary traces Latvia's early democratic experiences

Latvian Television's series of short documentary films, "The Keys" has another onine offering for you, complete with English-language subtitles.

This episode starts in 1920 and the young Latvian state's first experiments in democracy in the shape of the Constitutional Assembly, which laid much of the groundwork for the institutions that would come to define political life to the present day.

Battles between the many rival parties who wanted to shape the future were fierce and uncompromising with right and left both commanding significant swathes of public support and ethnic parties also adding to the mix.

Agrarian reform was one of the key issues in a country that was still largely rural, and in which the newly emancipated population expected former baronial lands to be fairly distributed. And in deciding who to support, people could also be influenced by the presence of well-known figures on party lists - including the country's most famous writers, the celebrated couple Rainis and Aspazija.

It seems the Latvian political class did not take long to learn the tricks of the trade - several of which were employed to good effect in the elections of 1920 as things got so heated they even included assassination attempts.

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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