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A weekly podcast that discusses the latest happenings in Latvia, hosted by Otto Tabuns and Joe Horgan

A weekly podcast that discusses the latest happenings in Latvia, hosted by Otto Tabuns and Joe Horgan
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A weekly podcast that discusses the latest happenings in Latvia, hosted by Otto Tabuns and Joe Horgan




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LW #37: Bribes, Broken Bikes, and News from July 10th - 14th, 2019

Despite the short amount of time between episodes, there was plenty for Joe to discuss with Otto in his first time back on the show this month, with developments in the Baiba Broka bribery case, threats by Jaunā konservatīvā partija to sack Rīga city council altogether, major economic statistics released for the first half of 2019, and much more! They were even finally able to finally call Latvian-Australian cross-country cyclist Kris Akenfelds to hear about his latest adventures and...


LW #36: Levits Inaugurated, Broka in Custody, and News from July 3rd - 10th, 2019

After more than a month as "president-elect," Mr. Egils Levits was finally handed the keys to Rīga castle by outgoing President Raimonds Vējonis. On the other side of town, former Nacionālā apvienība mayoral candidate Baiba Broka spent time in very different accommodation — a jail cell in Čiekurkalns after being detained by KNAB agents over bribery allegations. Join Olevs and Joe as they break down these developments and others including major passenger rail contracts, new initiative...


LW #35: Ušakovs Under Investigation and News from June 27th - July 2nd, 2019

As if there wasn't enough political drama this week with KNAB announcing a status of "suspect" for former Mayor Nils Ušakovs just days before assuming his duties as an EU parliamentarian, the resignation of the entire temporary supervisory board of Latvenergo as well as major developments in the ongoing green energy subsidy corruption debacle certainly kept things interesting. Join Joe and Olevs as they take you through these stories and more, including yet another pothole in the road...


LW #34: City Council Confusion and News from June 20th - 26th, 2019

While Rīga City Council might be quickly running out of ways to avoid a messy early election, Otto and Joe certainly aren't in danger of running out of issues to discuss, with major topics such as the final 2026 Olympic decision, the rejection of a civil partnership bill, and the dismissal of the entire Latvenergo energy utility's board all happening throughout what was expected to be a slow news week following Latvian midsummer celebrations. CORRECTION: An earlier version of this episode...


LW Presents: Akenfelds on the Road — Cycling through Western Latvia

Join Joe as he sits down with Latvian-Australian Kris Akenfelds, who is halfway through a 2-month cycling journey along Latvia's entire border and a few places off the track. Kris recounts some of the most interesting places he's been to and people he's met, as well as a brush with the supernatural and a few life-changing moments along the way. Photo credit: Bhavishya Goel Opening and closing music: Bicycle - Reunited by Kevin MacLeod...


LW Presents: The 2019 Līgo/Jāņi Midsummer Special with Austra Apsīte

Līgo, Līgo, visiem! In honor of this year’s quickly approaching midsummer celebration, Joe sat down with 2x2 Latvian youth camp volunteer Austra Apsīte to discuss Jāņi traditions, clear up midsummer myths, and even share some traditional Līgo music. Whether you're a midsummer newbie or a lifelong "Jāņa bērns," you're likely to learn something interesting about this important time of the year for Latvian culture! Opening music by Austra Apsīte Photo courtesy of Austra Apsīte


LW #33: Coalition Cracks and News from June 12th - 19th, 2019

With small cracks starting to appear in Attistibai/Par! and giants fissures widening in KPV LV, Joe and Olevs discuss the stability of both parties as well as the coalition as a whole. Other major topics include updates in health and financial reforms, an increase to teachers' salaries, a knockout performance by Briedis, and a sad day of remembrance for all Latvian people.


LW Interviews: Archaeology Assistant Jānis Tomašuns

In this next installment of the summer interview series, Joe sits down with local archaeology assistant Jānis Tomašuns to talk about some of the surprises hidden throughout Latvia just a few centimeters below the ground as well as his experience going on digs throughout the country.


LW #32: Tropical Troubles and News from June 5th - 11th, 2019

What began as Joe and Olevs' going away party for Otto ended in disaster thanks to the abnormally tropical weather overheating Joe's laptop and erasing the first ever episode all three had recorded together. Sadly, the loss of a podcast episode was far from the most serious consequence of the heatwave, with severe thunderstorms, hail damage, and drownings being reported throughout the country. Join Joe as he tries his best to recount the major domestic happenings of the week solo before...


LW Interviews: Latvian Bible Society Gen. Secretary Valdis Tēraudkalns and Editor Ņikita Andrejevs

This week, Joe returns to the University of Latvia's Theology Faculty to sit down with Professor Valdis Tēraudkalns and lecturer Ņikita Andrejevs to discuss their work with the Latvian Bible Society in editing the most recent translation of the Bible to Latvian and the challenges of producing a work that can satisfy Latvia's diverse Christian community, as well as why theology is worth studying in the 21st century. Intro and outro music: Chill Day by LAKEY INSPIRED is licensed under a...


LW Presents: End Of An Era — The Tenures of President Vējonis and Mayor Ušakovs

Now that the book has been closed on the presidency of Raimonds Vējonis and the mayoralty of Nils Ušakovs, it's time for Otto and Joe to look back and evaluate the time these men spent in two of the three most high-profile jobs in Latvian politics and what their legacies will likely be. Opening and closing music "Pane in the Glass" by Lee Rosevere is used with a Creative Commons 4.0 attribution license.


LW #31: Hello President Levits, Hello Goodbye Mayor Turlais? News from May 29th - June 4th, 2019

Latvia has a new president and Rīga has a new mayor, but one of them might not be able to hold onto his job for very long. Before joining Kris Akenfelds by phone to hear about the latest on his 50-day his cycling trip across the country, Otto and Joe break down the latest drama both on Rīga city council and in the KPV LV parliamentary faction as well as good news for rail and air travelers, not so good news for the Latvian economy, positive trends in Latvia’s relations with Russia, and much...


LW Interviews: LIAA Tourism Dept. Leading Expert Martiņš Enģelis

With travel likely on many people's minds now that the summer weather looks to be here to stay, we sat down one again with Leading Expert Mārtiņš Enģelis from the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia (LIAA)Tourism Department and the Capital R blog, this time to discuss the state's tourism strategy, the explosion of "alternative tourism," Rīga's hotel building craze, and some advice on choosing your next Latvian travel destination. Intro and outro music: Chill Day by LAKEY INSPIRED is...


LW #30: Trains, Taxis, Bikes, and News from May 23rd - 28th

Before they get into major stories of the week including more corruption drama in Rīga, changes to airport taxi regulations, and Latvia's dumbest arms dealer, Otto and Joe are joined via phone by regular contributor Kris Akenfelds who has started a 2-month bike journey along the country's entire border. In addition to the regular weekly discussions of Latvian news, Kris will be calling in each week to tell about where he's been and what he's seen. Don't miss this weekly trip through both...


LW Presents: The 2019 European Parliament Election Results Special

Now that the dust has settled on a much-hyped EU Parliamentary election, Otto and Joe discuss the results and their implications both here in Latvia and throughout Europe. Did the far-right/Euroskeptic "wave" that was predicted truly materialize? Does the shooting star populist KPV LV party have a robust future after coming in 10th place? How will the results effect Brexit? All of this and much more is discussed, so grab a good cup of coffee or tea and join us for a thorough discussion of...


LW Interviews: Zemgale NGO Center Director Uldis Dumiņš

Joe sits down with Uldis Dumiņš, director of the Zemgale NGO Center, to discuss the challenges of the NGO sector in Latvia as well as the role NGOs have had in anti-corruption activity and civic reform. Other topics include the potential effects of the EU Parliament election on the NGO sector both domestically and throughout Europe, the trouble with free municipal-funded newspapers, and hot air ballooning in Latvia. Intro and outro music: Chill Day by LAKEY INSPIRED is licensed under a...


LW #29: Presidential Election Preview and News from May 18th - 22nd, 2019

With the presidential election just days away, Otto and Joe take a look back at the people who have been president and the people who might be next, with a special focus on coalition candidate Egils Levits and what could be expected from his potential presidency. Other major topics include the latest corruption drama in Rīga, a dramatic threat by the minister of transportation to liquidate the country's passenger rail company, Latvia's run at the IIHF World Championship, and more! Opening...


LW #28: Europe Day and News from May 8th - 17th, 2019

Now that Joe is back to health, he joins Otto to belatedly celebrate Europe Day with a continent-sized episode discussing major domestic and international developments from the previous week and a half including threats of dismissals by Minister of Justice Jānis Bordans, the latest drama with Rīga City Council, surprising new EU election polls from the UK, a bittersweet run at the International Ice Hockey Federation Championships, and much more! Opening and closing theme song: Think Tank by...


LW Interviews: FIRST LEGO League Latvia coordinators Edgars Skruodis and Anna Skruode

Last month, Joe brought his middle school students to the FIRST LEGO League robotics competition in Valmiera and took the opportunity to interview founders Edgars Skruodis and Anna Skroude about their experience starting and running the program as well as student and teacher participants about their experiences during the weekend. This episode is part of a new series exploring some of the interesting work that people throughout Latvia are doing that might escape the attention of news camera...


LW #27: KPV's Iron Throne and News from May 1st - 7th, 2019

KPV LV celebrates Game of Thrones' final season in style by sending party founder Artuss Kaimiņš to the wall, but with Aldis Gobzems already exiled and Atis Zakatistovs under investigation, is there anyone left to sit on the iron throne of what was one of Latvia's most powerful political forces just months ago? Otto, Joe and their guest producer Ivars discuss this and other major stories including the latest updates in the Rīga city government and public transit scandals, language and biking...