Latvian cardinal, ex-PM, judge top list of KGB collaborators
Riga (AFP) –
A former prime minister, the current Supreme Court chief justice and a late Catholic cardinal are among Latvians who collaborated with the KGB during the Cold War, according to bombshell files released Friday.
The Latvian National Archive revealed all the former agents -- many of whom are still active in politics and business -- after a quarter century of legal and legislative battles in the Baltic state.
"The list of collaborators shows that KBG contacts were recruited from all professions and ages," political scientist Didzis Senbergs wrote at local news portal Pietiek.com.
The KGB enlisted nearly 24,000 Latvians as collaborators and field agents between 1953 and 1992.
Unlike other countries under Soviet rule at the time, Latvia managed to save its KGB archive from being destroyed upon regaining independence in 1991.
Latvian authorities took over the KGB building in Riga and threw the documents into huge sacks that they then transported to a secure location.
Dubbed "the KGB sacks" ever since, the archive contains an index of all the collaborators as well as their codenames, real names, birthplaces and other data.
High-profile individuals mentioned include Ivars Godmanis, who twice served as Latvian prime minister, was a European Parliament member and now sits on the board of the country's largest pharmaceutical company.
Others include current Supreme Court chief justice Ivars Bickovics, the late Catholic cardinal Julijans Vaivods, former foreign minister Georgs Andrejevs and Aleksandrs Kudrjashovs, the primate of the Russian Orthodox Church in Latvia.
Several parliament members, diplomats, artists and writers also appear in the index, along with names of people who were pushed by the KGB into collaborating but who refused to spy on others on its behalf.
Latvia had for years debated whether to release the KGB sacks, finding constant opposition from individuals suspected of having been KGB agents.
It was only in 2015 that a scientific commission was set up to sort through the archives and prepare them for publication.
Anyone can access the bombshell files at kgb.arhivi.lv by free registration.
? 2018 AFP