'Forest brothers' in the CIA archives - setting up and organizing the resistance

The enormous cache of formerly classified Cold War-era documents released by the US' Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) early this year also describes Latvia's 'forest brothers' - a resistance movement to occupying Soviet power following World War II. Some of these documents also probe the role both the CIA and the Soviet security agency KGB played within the movement. 

Part of these documents of the 40s and 50s could be described as rather generic analytical reports, while some were reports by secret agents or retold such reports. 

There were but a few documents marked 'Top Secret', Rus.lsm.lv found. Far more are labelled 'Secret' or otherwise classified. 

However in most of the documents names identifying sources have been removed but the dates are blanked out. Others have several complete pages missing while others are marked as unverified as regards to their reliability. 

One of the reports, dated June 1952 reveals a general picture of how the 'forest brothers' came to be and who were the mixed bunch that went into Latvia's forests and fought against the Soviet state. (Click image to read the four-page report in full):

For an account of the 'Istrebiteli' organization mentioned in the report, there's another document from the archives HERE. It includes some very interesting accounts of the methods used to capture Forest Brothers and recounts a remarkable incident in which a teenage boy was captured by the Forest Brothers but released with a warning to stop collaborating with the Soviets.

Documents

Istrebiteli.pdf

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Our colleagues from Rus.lsm.lv will be identifying several more such documents in the weeks to come. Stay tuned!

While for a reasoned overview of the Baltic resistance movements with a slightly less self-congratulatory bent than the Kremlin line, we suggest a recent piece by British journalist Edward Lucas. 

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