The Keys ep15 Art Days in Soviet Latvia - a gift to Lenin

In the 1970s and 80s, the Art Days was one of the top cultural events in Latvia, despite starting out as a mass ideological manipulation tool of the totalitarian state.
The organizer of the Art Days in Latvia was (and still is) the Artists’ Union, instituted in 1941 for purposes of controlling and regulating the artists.
The events of the Art Days were always packed; for artists they offered an opportunity to express themselves in a new way, to speak to the visitors in allegory and convey ideas that could not be openly discussed under the Soviet regime. But was it a true creative freedom? Or just a smart game of hide-and-seek with the prison guards?


The Keys ep38 The Popular Front of Latvia

The Popular Front was so large that you could say the whole nation was the Front. What is left of the Popular Front today?

The Keys ep37 The national partisans

There were about 500 groups of partisans on Latvian soil, with around 20 000 fighters and as many supporters.

The Keys ep36 The Land Reform in Latvia

The first land reform in Latvia was passed on 16 September 1920. Could we have done things differently back then?

The Keys ep35 Latvian Central Council

The organization was intended as the vanguard of the resistance movement that would unite all forces fighting for freedom.

The Keys ep34 The Withdrawal of Russian Forces from Latvia

After regaining independence in August 1991, one of the first acts by the Latvian Parliament was the demand for the withdrawal of the USSR...

The Keys ep33 The August Coup of 1991

By the end of the summer the Baltic States were free and internationally recognized, and by the end of the year the Soviet Empire...

The Keys ep32 The Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact

Was surrender the only viable path for the Baltic states? Or did our leaders make a dire mistake?

The Keys ep31 The Baltic Way

The Baltic Way demonstration on 23 August 1989 was a freedom manifesto of three nations the like of which the world has never seen...

The Keys ep30 Latvian Identity in Exile

What kind of effort did expat Latvians put into maintaining their roots? Perhaps, none – maybe they did it out of joy?

The Keys ep29 WW2 refugees and their heroic rescuers - the boatmen of Kurzeme

Saving refugees was the greatest achievement of the Latvian Resistance. Its success was ensured by the people at the sea and on the shore...

The Keys ep28 The Holocaust in Latvia

On this episode, we look at how four centuries of Jewish presence in Valdemārs was erased in two nights.

The Keys ep27 The end of the Khrushchev Thaw

The dreams of Latvian progressive communists were crushed in June 1959, when the leader of the USSR, Nikita Khrushchev, visited Riga.

The Keys ep26 Clinton in Riga

It was a key historic turning point for the Baltic states on their path to the free world.

The Keys ep25 Five Presidents of Latvia

The five presidents of Latvia after the restoration of independence. Do they deserve to be called true leaders?

The Keys ep24 The Song Festival in Soviet Latvia

The festival was fated to become a painful symbol for Latvia’s loss of independence. How did the festival change?

The Keys ep23 The Nazi occupation of 1941

Nazis took the territory of Latvia from the Soviet occupiers. What changed in the lives of ordinary people when Stalin was replaced by Hitler?

The Keys ep22 The 1940 Occupation

The following 50 years people were put in prison for speaking of this truth. The occupants robbed the people.

The Keys ep21 The Cemetery War. Ideological battle witdh corpses

The ideological battle in a 600-meters-long cemetery lane went on for 60 years.

The Keys ep20 The Latvian Creative Unions plenary session

For the first time ever, respected intellectuals dared to publically speak with such freedom that the people were left breathless.

The Keys ep19 Ruhnu island. Why did Latvia not get it after all?

At least part of the island could have been ours, but we missed out on that too. What happened?

The Keys ep18 15 May 1934, the coup d’état of Latvia.

A key figure in the coup was Kārlis Ulmanis, the prime minister and later self-proclaimed president. However, there was a man who could have...

The Keys ep15 Art Days in Soviet Latvia - a gift to Lenin

In the 1970s and 80s, the Art Days was one of the top cultural events in Latvia. But was it a true creative freedom?

The Keys ep14 Election of Latvia’s first parliament

We celebrate the date of the Constitutional Assembly, 1 May, as a national holiday. However, the election campaign was all but noble.

The Keys ep13 The russification of Latvia

The population composition undergoes violent and unimaginable social and national changes during the 1950s after World War II.

The Keys ep12 Kristaps Morbergs and sharing one's wealth

How the Latvian University manages the valuable estate, and why wealthy people tend to share their money.

The Keys ep11 Privatization

Latvia's difficult path to free market and private property based capitalist economy.

The Keys ep10 1949 March Deportations and Lielvārde's incredible escape

25 March 1949 saw the most horrific deportations in the history of Latvia. But there was one rural territory, from which not a single...

The Keys ep9 The Remembrance Day of the Latvian Legionnaires

It was officially observed just once, and then abolished in fear that the world would not understand the honouring of Nazi army veterans.

The Keys ep8 Latvian lats

Latvian lats: the national currency from its introduction in 1922 until the replacement with euro in 2014.

The Keys ep7 The Khrushchev Thaw

It all started with a funeral bell announcing the death of Stalin on 5 March 1953. Most significantly for Latvians, the Siberian deportees returned...

The Keys ep6 Perestroika. The beginning of the end

In February 1987 Gorbachev visited Riga. What happened with the people he met and what happened with Gorbachev himself when all of it was...

The Keys ep5 The Freedom Fights.

Was the birth of Latvia a lucky coincidence or perhaps a smart and dazzling political tango?

The Keys ep4 Independent Latvia's return to the Olympic Games

The fight for Latvia's return to the free world of sports had to be fought in the same trenches as its fight for political...

The Keys ep3 Soviet repressions against Riga intellectuals in the early 1950s

During the totalitarian Soviet regime, Riga intellectuals were charged with high treason for organizing French literature nights.

The Keys ep2 University in a war-destroyed zoo

So-called diaspora Latvians are an intrinsic part of our nation and our country's history.

The Keys ep1 The 1991 January Barricades

The 1991 January Barricades in Baltics - the key to the stability of the new world order.