Transparency with KGB documents would help determine the system and the ways people were forced to serve, said former dissident, human rights activist Lidija Lasmane, who had been arrested three times and had spent 14 years in prison during the Soviet regime in Latvia.
«Why not make these documents accessible for all time and why not allow those people tell what happened and why?» – said Lasmane in an interview to LNT. She mentioned that most people mentioned in KGB documents are one who had done nothing wrong. In addition, those people were never aware of being used as informants. Lasmane said she doesn’t know of a single remaining person of any importance.
According to Lasmane, people were put on their knees, because that was the kind of government Latvia had at the time – it had to rule over people as though they were slaves. If people didn’t want to behave like that, they were forced to either inform on each other or be put in prison. «That was the system. This system has to be forced into the light, so that everyone can see what kind of system we don’t want to see,» – believes Lasmane.
She did try to start off the discussion with a radical step. In 1994, Lasmane was awarded the Three Star Order. In 1995, however, she returned it. While working at the Centre for Documentation of Consequences of Totalitarianism, she noticed that the aforementioned order was awarded to multiple people who had previously served the KGB. «It was a protest, a natural protest. What next? My chief told me – you have an order as well, you should do something. I wrote a refusal right then and there. My friends came with me as I carried the order back. We carried out crying – like it was a funeral. No one let us in, so I gave it to the guard,» – she said.
«KGB’s employed methods were so horrible, if they ever revealed it, we would see how the system worked. The methods used matched the system that was in place,» – said Lasmane, adding that «those people are absolutely innocent». «This system tortured and intimidated people. The same person who betrayed me he was an only child in his family. His parents cared for him and he cared for them. He told me everything and described how he was recruited. He did not say how he spied on me. He was recruited through torture, like many others. I do not blame a person for having a KGB card. But I wanted to discuss the system,» – said Lasmane.
«Each person had to recruit ten people. There were those who recruited others for no reason. They liked doing that, and they had hundreds of people. Those people had done nothing and had said nothing. It is clear that is hurtful. I know of no one left with any significant importance. Services don’t want to reveal that those were nuisances and it is more important to discuss the system. We have to know how we lived to make certain our children and descendent know it.»