Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, the security authorities are much more hawkish on employees' loyalty to Latvia, and more than a hundred people have been recognized as "probably untrustworthy", though whether they have changed their responsibilities or lost their jobs as a result of the security classification has not been revealed.
This week, the Saeima has supported amendments in the second reading, which will allow the state to fire employees deemed disloyal. The amendments to the law will still have to be considered in a third and final reading.
The State Security Service has checked more than 7,800 employees since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In a written response to LTV's De Facto investigative program, the VDD confirmed that checks are now more extensive than they were earlier:
"In total, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the VDD has checked 7,866 employees of critical infrastructure. So far, the VDD has recognized 115 persons as unsuitable for work in critical infrastructure facilities. (..) The VDD also previously checked employees of critical infrastructure facilities and persons who for reasonable reasons (repair work or provision of other services) it is necessary to enter the territory of critical infrastructure objects. At the same time, since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the number of such inspections has increased significantly."
The security service also states that managers of critical infrastructure facilities pay more attention to their employees and ask for them to be checked more often.
An adviser to the President on security matters told Latvian Radio's 'Krustpunkta' (Crossroads) show that seeing examples in Ukraine has increased awareness of risks.
"This is how Ukraine helps everyone to see what previously seemed unthinkable... That is why our risk analysis and countermeasures have been adjusted. It is positive news that the services and people involved are looking at what they are doing and how much they can be trusted in critical infrastructure," said Aivars Puriņš, National Security Advisor to the President.
"It is safe to say that the security authorities have improved their work. We are seeing more and more different criminal proceedings against pro-Kremlin activists," commented Jānis Dombrava, Deputy Chairman of the National Security Committee of the Saeima (National Alliance).
But do the suspect employees still work for the same companies? Latvenergo, Latvijas Dzelzceľš (Latvian Railways), Gaso and Latvijas gāze (Latvian Gas) all supplied similar answers.
Latvenergo". He replied that cooperation with the security authorities is classified information. Similar answers were given by
In most companies and government institutions that maintain critical infrastructure, vetting is done in a professional manner, said Varis Teivāns, the deputy head of Cert.lv, Latvia's national cyber security agency.
"I think it's good that they are now being noticed and poking the anthill. One could argue that it should have been done earlier, but it's not that it hasn't been done."
Cert's expert noted that there will also be a security risk posed by some employees, so the segmentation of companies and institutions is important, so that each employee has access to only those objects and documents that are necessary for the performance of his or her work tasks.
In 2016, an employee of the company Latvijas Dzelzceļš was arrested on suspicion of espionage. The court found the employee guilty and sentenced him to 3 years in prison.