Latvia to make public the names of former KGB agents


The Latvian parliament has passed a motion to introduce amendments to the law on the status of the documents of the former Committee for State Security of the USSR which envisages the publication of lists of agents of the KGB in the official Latvian newspaper „Latvijas Vestnesis”.

There are polarized views in Latvian society on this issue. The President of Latvia has spoken out against such lists. The debate on the need to publish details about secret KGB agents has been raging in the Latvian Republic since the restoration of independence, however it was only in 2004 that parliament officially confirmed the need to publish the names. After this the Seim’s legal commission spent two years discussing issues linked with the publication of the material. A card index was planned for issue on 1 November, however the head of the Centre for Documenting the Consequences of Totalitarianism Indulis Zalitis asked for time to prepare information needed for the publication of the lists. The decision was thus taken to begin the publication of agents of the Soviet security service from 1 March 2007.

The amendments passed allow for the publication of card registers of the KGB with names, date of birth, the date of recruitment, place of work when recruited, and when excluded if this was the case. According to figures from the Centre for Documenting the Consequences of Totalitarianism, between 1953 and 1991 24 thousand people collaborated with the KGB, however the Latvian card index will contain information only about 4.5 thousand agents who were active in the 1980s.

The arguments are still raging in Latvia between those who believe that this is the way to put an end to the legacy of the totalitarian past, and those who fear a witch hunt.

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