KGB files should be published without commentary, says historian

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Kārlis Kangeris, a historian heading the committee charged with researching the trove of former Soviet secret service KGB files, told Latvian Radio on December 29 that the files should be published in their entirety without comment.

He said that the committee is dead set to prepare a memo about the files at the government-set time, that is, by the end of May, 2018.

Kangeris also argued that the published version should not include any comments, as there's not enough evidence on whether the persons named in the files had collaborated with the Soviets willingly. He was adamant, however, that the files should be published all the same.

"The public must live through this. It is long overdue, as it should have been done in the early 90s, but it's necessary, as we must deal with the past," he said. 

The trove features around 4,300 people's names, which would not be mentioned in the memo but accessible to the public, said the historian. 

The special government-appointed Commission for the Study of KGB Materials was formed after Saeima ruled that a research study of the available documentation must proceed before the entire archive is made freely accessible to the public.

It has been clear for a long time that the records are not fully complete and therefore cannot serve as evidence for establishing the fact of collaboration by informants with a repressive agency of the Soviet Union. 

A popular assumption in society is that parts of the records are kept secret because they contain material that might embarrass influential individuals still enjoying a degree of prominence today.

Most recently, notable poet Jānis Rokpelnis admitted that he had collaborated with the KGB Soviet secret service in an interview with the Neatkarīgā newspaper.

To that same newspaper, Kangeris also revealed a tantalizing detail that, out of the 4,300 individuals mentioned in the files, 583 are or were culture employees.

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