KGB names published as lustration law takes hold

  • 2001-09-27
  • Rokas M. Tracevskis
VILNIUS - Last week Lithuania started to publish in a state newspaper the names of former KGB agents who had not come forward and registered with the state authorities as required by law.

Valstybes Zinios, which publishes only laws, has only published two names so far, Egidijus Zickus and Algirdas Krasauskas.

Before their names are published, the accused are informed and given the opportunity to contest the lustration in court.

Zickus, now in his fifties, was a journalist and later a border police officer. Now he is unemployed and suffers, he says, from illness. He has denied any involvement with the KGB and appealed to the courts. But while the lower court supported his defense, the higher court ruled that he was a KGB agent.

The biography of Krasauskas, 49, is more colorful. He now works in the security service of the insurance company Baltijos Garantas.

Krasauskas voluntarily be-came a KGB agent and received the code name Moskvich in 1985. "If Lithuania leaves the U.S.S.R., I will remain faithful to my duty," Krasauskas wrote to his KGB chief in 1990.

Lithuanian state security department officials found his torn-up personal file in the litter of the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius in 1992.Despite his earlier beliefs, Krasauskas managed to become an employee of the intelligence unit of independent Lithuania's Defense Department at the start of 1991. The Lithuanian authorities trusted him and infiltrated him in the Vilnius pro-Soviet OMON military unit, known for its anti-Lithuanian terrorist activities.

Naturally, Krasauskas became a double agent, informing his real masters in Moscow about the spying games going on in Lithuania, which was at the time playing the leading role in breaking up the Soviet Union.

The Lithuanian authorities informed Krasauskas that his name would be published in Valstybes Zinios and gave him time to defend his honor in court. He refused to appeal.

According to a law passed on Nov. 23, 1999, those who secretly cooperated with the Soviet secret services between 1940 and 1990 had to register with a special state commission. The deadline for the ex-agents was August 2000.

The commission comprises five members - one from the prosecutor general's office, two from the state security department and two from the state-run Genocide and Resistance Center. The file of a former KGB agent becomes a state secret after he or she agrees to register with the commission.

But there are exceptions to the rule of secrecy. The commission will not preserve the confidentiality of a former agent if he or she is an MP, government minister, municipal council member, judge, prosecutor or the Lithuanian president. Names will also not stay secret if they choose to run for these posts.

The lustration law speaks of moral punishment of those who have not come to register by making their names public if the courts confirm their collaboration with the KGB.

The former agent will then be banned for 10 years from work in state institutions, education, banking, strategic locations like the Ignalina nuclear power plant, and companies where work is related to weapons or communications.

Some 1,600 former KGB agents registered before the deadline passed. The commission says it is preparing to publish the names of several dozen former agents who failed to own up.

But even this may not be the end of the story. There are undoubtedly many more unregistered former KGB agents, the evidence against whom was destroyed as the Soviet Union fell apart.

The commission's work is shrouded in secrecy. "Two people from our office are involved in this task, but I don't want to comment on the commission's decisions," Dalia Kuodyte, general director of the Genocide and Resistance Center, told The Baltic Times.