Latvian author was KGB informant

The Latvian author Jānis Rokpelnis recently admitted that he collaborated with the Soviet security agency the KGB, sparking a widespread debate in the country. Was Rokpelnis right to go public on this?

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Neatkarīgā (LV) /

Why ex-informants should explain themselves

The daily Neatkarīgā shows understanding for the author's move:

“Rokpelnis, a member of the Latvian Social Democrats, made a kind of apology four years ago by admitting to the members of his party's confidential committee that he had worked for the KGB: 'I fear dying without having explained myself,' he wrote. Many are already dead and will no longer be able to confess to having worked for the Cheka. For this reason the poet is calling on those who are still alive: liberate your soul from the torment. Make your confession, it will be a relief for you. ... Rokpelnis fears that some individuals could even be driven to suicide if the KGB files are suddenly put online.”

Latvijas Avize (LV) /

A convinced collaborator

Poet Edvīns Raups by contrast criticises Jānis Rokpelnis in Latvijas avīze:

“In the 1980s the Stalin era had ended and those who refused to work for the KGB were no longer shot or deported to Siberia. Yes, people could be prevented from travelling abroad or have their careers ruined. ... But Rokpelnis is not trying to justify his conduct in the press or in front of the TV cameras in this way. He agreed to supply the KGB with information. Or as he himself says, to analyse the situation in the authors' milieu. ... Why is the Latvian Writers' Union still remaining silent on this case? Isn't working for the Cheka reprehensible conduct?”