President perplexed by decision to open archive

  • 2006-05-17
  • From wire reports
RIGA - President Vaira Vike-Freiberga voiced concern over the government's decision to publish information about former KGB agents, saying it was a "belated, futile exercise that would divide society." "I made my objections known when returning the bill [to Parliament] for revision," the president told the press after meeting with Prime Minister Aigars Kalvitis. The two discussed the plan to release information about KGB agents found in archives left behind in Latvia after the Baltic state restored its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990.

Vike-Freiberga pointed out that the names of individuals in those files had been entered there for a variety of reasons.
She described Parliament's intention to publish the names of former KGB agents as "a belated, futile exercise that would divide society." She said that it would have made sense to publish the KGB archives shortly after Latvia regained its independence, when new public administration bodies and offices were created.

The prime minister told the press that the issue had been raised regularly every year and should finally be resolved. "My position is that we should either publish or burn [the KGB files]," said Kalvitis.
The parliamentary legal committee on May 9 agreed in principle that information about former agents of the Soviet secret service KGB would be published in the official newspaper Latvijas Vestnesis on Nov. 1, together with a detailed explanatory statement.

Committee Chairman Mareks Seglins, a member of the ruling People's Party, said the date had been specifically chosen to prevent any "political games" ahead of parliamentary elections in October and to verify that the newly-elected parliament didn't cancel the files' publication.
"The possibility of releasing information from KGB files has been discussed with some arguing that the evil-doers should be exposed and others questioning the authenticity of the documents and their information," he said.

The files will include the following information about KGB agents 's name, surname, father's name, date and place of birth, code name, the date of recruiting, the position held at the time of recruitment and the date of discharge from the KGB, if applicable.
In addition, it will be stated whether there had been a court ruling recognizing or not recognizing the given individual's status and the person's own confession about collaboration with the KGB, if applicable.