Book review, Economic History, Latvia

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The book “The Vertical of Guntis Ulmanis” released in Riga

Nina Kolyako, BC, Riga, 15.05.2009.Print version
The Publishing House “Jumava” presented in Riga the book “The Vertical of Guntis Ulmanis” by Jānis Ūdris.

Poet Janis Peters and Guntis Ulmanis at the presentation of the book.

Guntis Ulmanis, the first President of the Republic of Latvia after the re-establishment of Latvia’s independence (from 1993 till 1999), and   his political experience in the 1990s are reflected in the book, paying special attention to the withdrawal of foreign (former USSR) troops and Latvia’s strategic movement towards European and Transatlantic structures. The book also offers analysis of the latest political developments in Latvia and major political, psychological and moral problems of the country.


Jānis Ūdris, the author, has called his book “psychological restoration”, as one of   his priorities has been to analyze motivation of President Guntis Ulmanis’ political actions and decisions.


The complicated life of Guntis Ulmanis, from his deportation to Siberia in his early childhood to the top political post in the re-established Republic of Latvia as well as his acclimatization to an ordinary life after the six years of presidency are described in the book.


The additional topical value of the book is Guntis Ulmanis’ professional analysis and conclusions, quite critical ones, concerning the Latvia’s current political situation.


A special aspect of the book is Guntis Ulmanis` opinion on   his very famous but diversely estimated predecessor Kārlis Ulmanis (brother of   his grandfather Jānis Ulmanis), the last Latvia President before soviet occupation in 1940.


 Special chapters of the book reflect friendly relations of President Guntis Ulmanis with the US President Bill Clinton and some other members of the World Presidents Club as well as very close ties of three Baltic presidents Guntis Ulmanis, Algirdas Brazauskas and Lennart Meri. Some former Latvia and foreign politicians – Lithuanian ex-president Algirdas Brazauskas, Latvian ex-premiers Valdis Birkavs and Guntars Krasts – as well as former officers of President Ulmanis’ chancellery have analyzed their professional and personal experience during Guntis Ulmanis’ presidency.


Guntis Ulmanis`s religious beliefs and   his views on Christian values add a very special vector to the book.


“I think Guntis Ulmanis has fulfilled a very special role, given by God,” says pastor Juris Rubenis in his introduction to the book. “He has honourably fulfilled the very special responsibility, entrusted to him and has gone down in Latvia’s history for times to come.”


Jānis Ūdris, the author of the book, has reflected political activities of Guntis Ulmanis since the very beginning of   his presidency, covered   his foreign visits and published a series of interviews with president Ulmanis in the 1990s.   His professional memories, some of his early interviews also as well as the most significant political speeches of president Guntis Ulmanis are included in the book.


Jānis Ūdris is confident that the presentation of “The Vertical of Guntis Ulmanis” straight after the 19th anniversary of Latvia State Independence declaration (adopted by the Parliament Latvia on 4 May 1990) will serve as psychological assistance and patriotic inspiration for   his compatriots specially in this hard and challenging time for Latvia.


“The Vertical of Guntis Ulmanis” is the third book by Jānis Ūdris. His first one, “From the Berlin Wall to the 38th Parallel”, analysis of the collapse of the communist system, was published by the “:Jumava” publishers in 2004. In 2007 “Three Annas of Zigfrīds Meierovics”, the biographical novel on Latvia’s first minister of foreign affairs, was issued by the same publishing house.  In 2007 Jānis Ūdris was awarded the prize of the “Writer of the Year”.


 Jānis Ūdris has worked as the editor of the foreign affairs column for the “Latvijas Vēstnesis”, (“The Latvian Herald”), the official paper of the Republic of Latvia, since 1993. Before that, at the time of January barricades in 1991, he started the patriotic newspaper “Ābele” (“Apple-Tree”) and participated in the defence movement supporting the regained independence of Latvia. The author was awarded the Memorial Badge of the Member of Barricades.


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