Parliament votes to open KGB files

  • 2004-05-20
  • By The Baltic Times
RIGA ? In a surprise move, Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Wednesday to release the former KGB files, while President Vaira Vike-Freiberga expressed dismay on Thursday by the decision, saying the bill contained contradictions and lacked explanations of motivations.

The bills passed with 78 votes in the 101-member assembly, with only the leftist National Harmony Party voting against.
Parliament also voted to continue the ban on former KGB to hold public office.
People's Party MP Janis Lagzdins, who proposed the bill, explained to journalists that the resolution would not mean the publication of all KGB files on its agents. Rather, persons who wish to inspect KGB documents will have to go to the Center for Documenting Totalitarianism Consequences, write an application and, if CDTC granted it, be allowed to examine the documents, Lagzdins explained.
The MP expressed hope that "people would be able to use those documents more as facts of history than tools to harm somebody else," the Baltic News Service reported.
Parliament legal committee was to meet on May 25 to discuss the exact procedures for releasing information from archives.
Still, some lawmakers said that the decision to release archival documents without specifying procedures for publishing of the information could lead to problems, the consequences of which are difficult to predict.
Information and rumor about possible collaboration with the KGB has cost many Latvian politicians their posts.
For her part, Vike-Freiberga said there were contradictions in the law. In an interview to the state television on Thursday she said the parliament decision was unexpected.