KGB files set for publication

  • 2006-05-10
  • From wire reports
RIGA - The legal committee of Parliament agreed on May 9 to publish old KGB files in the official newspaper Latvijas Vestnesis later this fall. The files will appear in the paper on Nov. 1, so as not to affect the parliamentary elections scheduled for October. "This timing would ensure irreversibility and preclude any accusations of playing political games," said committee chairman Mareks Seglins.

Parliament's legal committee supported the decision unanimously, and no alternative dates were proposed. The files will release the following information about former KGB agents: name, surname, father's name, date and place of birth, code name, date of recruitment, position within the KGB and, if applicable, the date on which the agent was discharged. Once the documents are released, information about whether a listed individual's KGB status had been ruled in court will also be revealed, said Indulis Zalite, head of the Latvian Center to Document Totalitarian Consequences. The legal committee agreed on March 7 that the names of all Soviet Secret Police agents would be published. The list will include approximately 4,500 names.

A 12-page explanatory statement, which clarifies that the files do not permit "an objective evaluation of the contents in every individual case," will be included with the KGB documents. The statement was written personally by Zalite. The statement warns that the "documents provide no information about motives for KGB cooperation," and that agents may not have had a "sincere willingness to assist Soviet state security services or personally gain from KGB connections." Sometimes people joined the secret agency for tactical reasons 's for example, to save their family or friends from arrest, Zalite explained, adding that "such 'agents' usually failed to produce any useful intelligence."

Also, members of the Soviet opposition often agreed to cooperate with the KGB with the consent of their fellow protestors. "For these reasons, it is possible that a researcher could use these files to create a flawed reality rather than reflect history as it was," points out the explanatory statement. The document also says that the released information, which was only found among those archives currently in Latvia's possession, cannot legally prove the "individual guilt of each person."