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New Latvian Archives Show Ex-PM, Top Judge Had Ties To KGB

Ivars Godmanis twice served as Latvia's prime minister.

Newly released archive files in Latvia show that a former prime minister and the current Supreme Court chief justice are among those who collaborated with the Soviet KGB during the Cold War.

Experts say the files, released on December 21 by the Latvian National Archives, show the depth and breadth of the KGB's efforts to infiltrate and recruit influential figures in the Baltic state.

"Only the court can conduct a full investigation and find out whether the individual was indeed a KGB collaborator," National Archives director Mara Sprudza said in a statement.

"The documents are being published in their original order, but readers should beware that most of them are in handwritten Cyrillic," she said.

The KGB enlisted nearly 24,000 Latvians as collaborators and agents between 1953 and 1992.

After independence, Latvia managed to save its KGB archive from being destroyed, unlike other ex-Soviet republics.

Ilmars Poikans, a member of the scientific commission overseeing the files, said they included information gathered by KGB agents and criminal investigations involving the KGB.

"There are also cases fabricated against Soviet-era dissidents and pro-democracy activists," he told AFP.

Among those people who files were located in the archives were Ivars Godmanis, who twice served as Latvia's prime minister. Others include current Supreme Court chief justice Ivars Bickovics and Roman Catholic Cardinal Julijans Vaivods, who died in 1991.

The National Archives are planning the next release of digital files in January.

Based on reporting by AFP