Historian: Powers-that-be reluctant to reveal KGB legacy

The investigative commission charged with studying the massive store of documents detailing KGB activities during the time of the Russian-occupied Latvian Soviet Socialist Republic has observed a reluctance to share any of its findings with the public, said historian Kārlis Kangeris, who heads the commission, Wednesday.

In an interview with daily newspaper Diena, Kangeris said that the commission would like to provide the public with more information regarding the so-called repressive security organ known as the ‘Cheka’, but that Latvia’s political establishment is dragging its feet on the matter.

Since becoming the head of the KGB-study commission, Kangeris said he has met with representatives of the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB) and the Center for the Documentation of Totalitarian Crimes. He has concluded that all there is to know about the so-called ‘Cheka filing-system’ has been duly assessed by the appropriate specialists.

He explained that the commission had pursued its main line of research – the points of connection between the KGB, the elite nomenclature and the Central Committee of the Latvian Communist Party.

“We would have liked to show the public the broader context, that there weren’t just 600 or so ‘official agents’ of the Cheka, that the system also involved the nomenclature, the entire political apparatus,” he said.

In his words, there is more to reveal than just the so-called ‘sacks’ of Cheka files.

“There’s the electronic database ‘Delta’ – altogether about 130 tapes full. The data had been erased and considered lost, yet the information was recovered. And there you can find reports on 80,000 people. Large amounts of material information, for instance, how many people were followed, who was under surveillance, and so on. And all that would help us understand what exactly happened in those ten to fifteen years in Latvia before independence was restored,” Kangeris cited.

Yet, according to the former-exile historian from western Germany, “the nomenclature, the leadership doesn’t want to share this knowledge with the wider society.”

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