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Lithuanian parlt makes first step towards disclosing ex-KGB agents

VILNIUS – The Seimas of Lithuania on Thursday backed an initiative by the opposition Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance to disclose now classified information on former agents of the Soviet KGB who voluntarily admitted their collaboration.

55 lawmakers voted in favor of the bill, 34 were against and nine abstained. The bill will now go to parliamentary committees and is set to return to the parliament in the fall.

"It's obvious that Russian intelligence is interested in the adoption of this law as they really want to know who they can continue collaborating with and who they cannot with," MP Povilas Urbsys said after the vote.

Under the proposed bill, the names of people who voluntarily admitted to have collaborated with the KGB, now classified as a state secret for 75 year, would be revealed as of Jan. 1, 2019.

Meanwhile former KGB agents who did not admit their collaboration voluntarily have already been disclosed by the Lustration Commission.

Rita Tamasuniene, elder of the Electoral Action of Poles in Lithuania – Christian Families Alliance political group in the Seimas, said the state has spent enough time keeping the names of these people secret. "The state has kept its promise by keeping this information classified for 25 years," she said.

MP Zignev Jedinski, representing the same party, called for refraining from engaging in dirty intelligence games, adding that the protection of former KGB agents was not fair for former dissidents.

"I think they are the most dangerous as they served that (KGB) structure, and now they are loyal to our state. The Islamic State will come and they will serve it as well and will do circumcisions and will say that it’s good," the MP said.

A law that came into force in 2000 allowed former workers of and collaborators with the Soviet KGB and other special services to voluntarily admit the fact and register with a special commission, and that information was classified. Those who failed to admit their KGB past faced disclosure and certain professional restrictions.

After a deadline for voluntary admission was set, 1,589 people turned to the Lustration Commission and admitted their past collaborations with the Soviet secret services.

Based on the remaining KGB documents, around 118,000 people are estimated to have collaborated with the KGB in Lithuania in 1940-1991.

Historians say a part of the KGB archives in Lithuania could have been destroyed, and a significant part of them were taken to Russia.

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