KGB files to be published this year, parliament rules

The Latvian National Archives will publish a number of the files former Soviet secret service files, or the so-called cheka bags, this year on its website, the Saeima voted in the third and final reading.

The bill was adopted with the support of 71 MPs, with one MP voting against and no 'abstain' votes. It still has to be approved by the president.

The archive will publish part of the KGB documents with the goal of "informing the public about the totalitarian regime that ruled Latvia during the occupation, the total social control and the mechanisms and instruments employed by this regime, as well as promote the public ability to identify the consequences of this regime, overcome them and continue developing Latvia as a democratic state."

It is planned that KGB employee telephone books, a catalog of outsourced employees, as well as an alphabetical and statistical index of the agency will be among the documents to be published this year.

The Centre for the Documentation of the Consequences of Totalitarianism has to turn these documents into a PDF form and submit them to the archive by December 3. The national archive is to publish the files by December 31. 

Other KGB files are to be published afterwards. The bill stipulates that files about third parties and victims will not be published but will be available for research. 

The possibility of releasing information from KGB files that were left behind in Latvia after the Baltic state restored its independence from the Soviet Union in 1990 has been discussed in Latvia at regular intervals during the past years with some arguing that the former KGB agents should be exposed and others questioning the authenticity of the documents and information contained in them. Consequently while some people advocate full and immediate disclosure, others argue that to do so would cause more harm than good, with numerous nuanced positions in between.

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