President returns KGB draft amendments

The Baltic Times
Wire Reports, RIGA
2006. gada 9. novembris.

President Vaira Vike-Freiberga has, once again, returned to Parliament draft amendments to a bill on publishing the names of former agents of the Soviet security service, the KGB.

The president indicated that her objections to the draft remained the same, namely that the publication of all files was too indiscriminate, and that she hadn”t heard any new arguments justifying the amendments.

Parliament”s legal affairs committee chairman, Mareks Seglins, told the Baltic News Service that “Parliament will do nothing with the KGB files for the time being.”

“Each side has unambiguously expressed its opinion, but there is no position for the moment on what to do next,” the lawmaker said.

Seglins added that, in his opinion, people “have probably grown tired of a subject that has been debated for two years already.”

Last week, Parliament passed amendments to a bill that would allow for the publication of former Soviet secret service archives in the Latvian official newspaper Latvijas Vestnesis on March 1, 2007.

Originally, the KGB archives were scheduled for publication on Nov. 1. But since there wasn”t enough time for promulgating the law, Indulis Zalitis, the head of the Center for Documenting Totalitarian Consequences (TSDC) asked for the publication to be postponed until March 1, 2007.

The paper plans to publish information on 4,500 former KGB agents. The files will include the individual”s name, father”s name, date and place of birth, pseudonym, the date he or she was recruited, the position held and the date of discharge from the KGB, if applicable.

The president has already returned the draft amendments to Parliament several times, arguing that the publication of such information would harm those persons who did not share the KGB ideology or help in the repression of dissidents, but who cooperated with the secret service in fighting organized and economic crime.

Vike-Freiberga added that, in 90 percent of cases, the KGB file index only includes personal and work employment data, without additional information. Therefore, it was impossible to know just how involved the individual was with the Soviet secret police.

The possibility of publishing KGB files, left behind in Latvia after the Baltic state restored its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990, has been discussed at regular intervals over the past decade. Some argue that the evildoers should be exposed, while others question the authenticity of the documents” information