Should Latvia open its KGB archives?

Twenty-seven years after the collapse of the Soviet Union the archives of the Soviet secret service the KGB, dubbed the "Cheka sacks", still haven't been opened to the public in Latvia. Now the commission that was tasked with evaluating the documents has called for this to change, triggering a lively debate in the country about whether this is wise.

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Diena (LV) /

Files irrelevant for the younger generation

For Diena the whole topic has lost its relevance:

“Some say that opening the KGB archive could also open a rift in society. But the vast majority of those who had anything to do with the KGB files were born in the 1960s or earlier. They're no longer decision-makers. The generation represented in today's public and private sector saw the Soviet era with children's eyes. And now the next generation that was born after the restoration of independence and only knows about the Soviet era from history books is coming. Time didn't stop in the 20th century. Latvian society has other priorities.”

Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Latvia suffers because of closed archives

The KGB archives hang like a sword of Damocles over the country, Neatkarīgā believes:

“For more than a quarter of a century we have been slaves of the KGB archives. ... No one talks about 'openness' any longer, but above all about 'manipulation'. And whenever political tensions arise - for example during parliamentary elections - the archives become the main topic in the news. ... The sacks full of Cheka files no doubt contain more than we suspect. They're a sickness of the system. That also goes to show that the intelligence agencies and their technologies are still a product of the regime and not of our democracy. ... For many the KGB archives are a relic from the past.”