Latvian Premier Defends Publication of KGB Files

(Bloomberg) -- Latvia’s prime minister defended the decision to publish files on informers for the Soviet secret police after the release revealed previously unknown information on well-known figures in the Baltic country.

The files, hidden from public view for more than two decades, have raised questions about collaboration with the Soviet regime, while a debate on their authenticity and some gaps in the records have complicated the process. Some of the most sensitive files were either destroyed or moved to Russia before the Soviet Union collapsed.

Concerns about publishing the documents “we’re a bit exaggerated,” Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said Wednesday in an interview with LNT TV. “The public has shown it’s more educated and more understanding” about the content of the files. With publication “now, we can be sure the myths and speculation will end.”

The head of the nation’s security services warned last year that publishing the files could lead to divisions in society and potential security risks. Others tried to preempt the move. Poet Janis Rokpelnis announced he’d cooperated with the Soviet-era KGB, only to find his name wasn’t among those published by the national archives.

The files are scanned copies of cards with names, dates of birth, places of residence and code names. They don’t contain information on what exact activities people were involved in. More files are planned to be released in May.

Latvia is not the only Baltic country that’s published this information.

Neighboring Lithuania completed publishing its list of those who worked for the KGB or were earmarked as possible contacts last year.

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