Treatment of former KGB agents and the availability of state protection (Jan. 1998-Oct. 2002) [LTU39440.E]

The following information pertains primarily to the treatment of former KGB agents under Lithuania's lustration laws that cover the entire period of Soviet occupation from 1940 to 1990 (BNS 2 Aug. 2000; EECR Winter/Spring 2000).

In late 1991, the government's first attempt at passing a lustration law failed when the bill's author was identified as a former KGB agent (RFE/RL 29 June 1998).

On 25 June 1998, parliament passed its first lustration law that banned former KGB agents from working in a wide range of government offices and private sector jobs for ten years after the law's enactment (RFE/RL 29 June 1998; ibid. 10 July 1998; ITAR-TASS 2 Jan. 1999; IHFHR 1999; Interfax 20 Jan. 1999). The law also identified the KGB as a "criminal organization" (ibid.; ibid. 6 Mar. 1999). Former KGB agents were obliged to inform their employers of their involvement with the KGB, which included the NKKVD, NKGB and the MGB (ibid. 20 Jan. 1999). However, this lustration law did not apply to individuals who had left the KGB before 12 March 1990 (RFE/RL 29 June 1998; IHFHR 1999). Under the law, the president was also obligated to create a special three-member commission to review all concrete cases falling under this law (ITAR-TASS 2 Jan. 1999). President Valdas Adamkus vetoed the law (RFE/RL 10 July 1998; IHFHR 1999; Freedom House 2000; ITAR-TASS 2 Jan. 1999), because he felt the ten-year period was reportedly a "violation of human rights" (ibid.). Consequently, he asked parliament to revise the law and delay the date it was to come into effect, in order to wait for a decision from the Constitutional Court (ibid.).

Nevertheless, on 1 January 1999, the law came into effect, although the Constitutional Court had not made a decision by that time (ibid.; IHFHR 1999). However, according to the presidential spokeswoman, the president reportedly would not comply with the lustration law until the Constitutional Court had determined whether or not it complied with the constitution (ITAR-TASS 2 Jan. 1999).

By 20 January 1999, leaders of Lithuania's organizations, banks, schools, law-enforcement agencies and private companies had drawn up lists of former KGB employees (Interfax 20 Jan. 1999). According to the non-government information agency Interfax, the Joint Commission of the State Security Department and the Center for Studying Genocide and National Resistance had revealed to one of Interfax's journalists on 20 January 1999 that all 50 individuals named on those lists would lose their employment, despite the fact that the State Security Department and the Center for Studying Genocide would have until 26 January 1999 to determine the future of those on the lists (ibid.).

Sources vary in the number of former KGB agents living in Lithuania, from approximately 400 (ibid. 6 Mar. 1999) to several thousand (ibid. 20 Jan. 1999; BNS 2 Aug. 2000), although it was expected that the lustration law would only be applied to approximately 400 individuals (Interfax 20 Jan. 1999).

On 9 February 1999, the Constitutional Court began its deliberations on the constitutionality of the lustration law (RFE/RL 10 Feb. 1999). On 4 March 1999, the Constitutional Court ruled that the lustration law was in agreement with the basic law, but that the establishment of a presidential commission to review individual cases was unconstitutional (Lithuania 4 Mar. 1999; RFE/RL 23 Apr. 1999).

On 9 February 1999, the Head of the State Security Department reported to parliament that 74 former KGB agents had applied to be permitted to retain their jobs (ibid. 10 Feb. 1999).

In March 1999, six district prosecutors were given a three-month suspension for having worked for the KGB (Interfax 6 Mar. 1999). The Prosecutor General's spokesman stated that there had been no complaints regarding the work of the six district prosecutors, but that their records would be examined, according to the lustration law (ibid.). Theoretically, if it were determined that the law did not apply to them, the six could return to their positions with back pay (ibid.). In mid-April 1999, Mel Huang writing for the Central Europe Review (CER) reported that by that time, only "one set of sackings" had occurred under lustration, when five prosecutors had been suspended for KGB involvement (12 Apr. 1999).

On 22 April 1999, parliament voted by 61 to 0, with two abstentions, to amend the lustration law so that it complied with the ruling of the Constitutional Court rendered earlier that year (RFE/RL 23 Apr. 1999; Freedom House 2000).

On 8 June 1999, parliament passed a law that proscribed "organizations and businesses established as fronts for foreign intelligence services" (ibid.; CER 14 June 1999). The law was passed with 63 votes in favour and 11 against, while reportedly many abstained or refrained from participating (CER 14 June 1999). Under this law, the government is permitted to "seize the targeted organisation or business, liquidate it and confiscate its property" (ibid.). Furthermore, former KGB agents who are leaders of any organization or business would be forced to register within a month with the State Security Department, and those failing to do so would be removed from their positions by law and would face "legal trouble" (ibid.). These targeted organizations and businesses would be monitored for ten years (ibid.).

At the end of August 1999, the Vilnius regional court was expected to pass sentences on six people accused of participating in a January 1991 KGB/Lithuanian Communist party-led coup d'état, in which 14 people were killed and hundreds were wounded (BNS 23 Aug. 1999). An additional 45 alleged coup participants remained outside the realm of Lithuanian law-enforcement bodies and thus did not stand trial (ibid.).

On 16 November 1999, Dalia Kuodyte/Kuodite, Director of the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Center, reported to parliament that 303 lustration cases had been investigated since 1 January 1999 (EECR Winter/Spring 2000). Of these cases, 87 people had been ordered to resign from their positions; however, 20 of them appealed this decision and five won their cases (ibid.).

On 23 November 1999, the Lithuanian parliament passed a second lustration law "on registration, recognition and protection of people who confessed secret collaboration with former Soviet secret services," that invited those Lithuanian residents who had co-operated with the KGB to register with the State Security Department (ITAR-TASS 24 Nov. 1999; United Kingdom Apr. 2002, sec. 5.113; BNS 2 Aug. 2000; EECR Winter/Spring 2000). The law was passed by a majority vote of primarily right-wing parties, while the opposition accused lawmakers of pursuing a "hunt for 'enemies'" against former KGB agents and stated that collaborators with the Nazis or western secret services were being ignored (ITAR-TASS 24 Nov. 1999). The ruling Homeland Union (Lithuanian Conservatives), that had drafted the law, defended the law on the basis that it would "help former agents fend off possible blackmail by active agents of foreign secret services" (EECR Winter/Spring 2000). On 3 December 1999, the president promulgated this law (ibid.; Freedom House 2000) and it went into effect at the beginning of 2000 (BNS 7 Aug. 2000). However, Dalia Kuodyte/Kuodite, Director of Lithuania's Genocide and Resistance Research Center, was reported as stating in early February 2000 that although the law will be an "important means of setting the historical record straight ... from a practical point of view, the law may come too late either to limit the effect of collaborators on society or to punish them" (RFE/RL 14 Feb. 2000).

Under this law, these citizens would voluntarily and in writing admit, within six months of the law's enactment, to collaboration with the former KGB, provide information and turn over any documents to the State Security Department, and in return, their "confidentiality" would be defended by the law (ITAR-TASS 24 Nov. 1999; United Kingdom Apr. 2002, sec. 5.113). However, any data relating to the collaboration with the KGB of high-ranking government officials, and anyone running for those positions, would be made public (BNS 2 Aug. 2000; ibid. 5 Mar. 2001; EECR Winter/Spring 2000; Freedom House 2000).

Those who did not register by the 5 August 2000 deadline would not be protected, and their past association with the KGB could be make public, in which case, they could be banned from holding public office and a number of other positions (United Kingdom Apr. 2002, sec. 5.113; ITAR-TASS 24 Nov. 1999). If collaboration with the KGB was not voluntarily disclosed or was falsified, the data would be published in the official Valstybes Zinios [State News] gazetteer (BNS 2 Aug. 2000; ibid. 7 Aug. 2000). Once the registration deadline had passed, the State Security Department appointed a task group to compile a list of those who did not voluntarily confess to past associations with the KGB, and this list was to be submitted to an inter-departmental commission to determine whether or not the names should be made public, according to law (ibid.). However, those people on the list would be notified before their names were to be made public, in order to give them an opportunity to provide the information to the commission within 15 days, failing which the commission would have the right to publicize their names (ibid.).

By 2 August 2000, approximately 1,000 people had confessed to collaboration with the KGB (ibid. 2 Aug. 2000), and by the 5 August 2000 deadline, 1,500 Lithuanian citizens had registered with the State Security Department under this law (United Kingdom Apr. 2002, sec. 5.113; BNS 7 Aug. 2000; ibid. 5 Mar. 2001).

On 2 October 2000, Lithuania's New Union-Social Liberals suspended party membership of Egidijus Zickus, one of its parliamentary candidates, because of his concealed collaboration with the KGB (BNS 2 Oct. 2000). Zickus was running in the 8 October 2000 general polls in the Druskininkai and Lazdijai electoral district as an independent candidate and was listed 87th in the New Union's list (ibid.). Since the law on parliamentary elections did not provide the option of recalling a candidate within 25 days of an election, New Union leader Arturas Paulauskas requested voters to make a personal decision on the eligibility of Zickus (ibid.). Additional information could not be found among the sources consulted.

In early March 2001, the chairman of the lustration committee announced that the interrogation of those who had confessed to working with the KGB was taking longer than expected and could possibly end in May 2001 (ibid. 5 Mar. 2001). The commission had been questioning these confessed collaborators since the 5 August 2000 registration deadline (ibid.; ibid. 14 May 2001). By mid-May 2001, the commission chairman stated that interrogations would be finished by the end of that month (ibid.).

Additional information on the state protection available to former KBG agents could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim to refugee status or asylum. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.


Baltic News Service (BNS) [Tallinn, in English]. 14 May 2001. "Interrogation of Confessed Lithuanian KGB Agents to End in May." (NEXIS)

_____. 5 March 2001. "Interrogation of Lithuanian KGB Agents Continues." (FBIS-SOV-2001-0305 5 Mar. 2001/WNC)

_____. 2 October 2000. "Lithuania: Election Front-Running Party Suspends Candidate Over KGB Allegations." (FBIS-SOV-2000-1002 2 Oct. 2000/WNC)

_____. 7 August 2000. "Lithuania: 1,500 Former KGB Collaborators Meet Vetting Deadline." (FBIS-SOV-2000-0808 7 Aug. 2000/WNC)

_____. 2 August 2000. "Lithuania: About 1,000 Former KGB Collaborators Declare their Links." (FBIS-SOV-2000-0802 2 Aug. 2000/WNC)

_____. 23 August 1999. "Russian Duma Protests Putschists Trial in Lithuania." (FBIS-SOV-1999-0823 23 Aug. 1999/WNC)

Central Europe Review (CER) [London]. 14 June 1999. No. 38. Mel Huang. "Private Sector Lustration." [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

_____. 12 April 1999. Mel Huang. No. 29. "Landsbergis versus the KGB." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

East European Constitutional Review (EECR) [NY]. Winter/Spring 2000. Vol. 9, Nos. 1-2. "Constitutional Watch: A Country-by-Country Update on Constitutional Politics in Eastern Europe and the ex-USSR." [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

Freedom House. 2000. Freedom in the World 1999-2000. [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

Interfax [Moscow, in English]. 6 March 1999. "Lithuanian Prosecutors Suspended for KGB Associations." (FBIS-SOV-1999-0306 6 Mar. 1999/WNC)

_____. 20 January 1999. "Lithuania: Lithuanian Organizations List Former KGB Employees." (FBIS-SOV-99-020 20 Jan. 1999/WNC)

NEXIS describes Interfax as a "non-government information agency known for its aggressive reporting, extensive economic coverage and good coverage of Russia's regions."

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights (IHFHR) [Vienna]. 1999. Annual Report 1999. http:/// [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

ITAR-TASS [Moscow, in English]. 24 November 1999. Vladlas Burbulis. "Russia: Lithuania Adopts Law on 'Former Soviet' Spies." (FBIS-SOV-1999-1124 24 Nov. 1999/WNC)

_____. 2 January 1999. Vladas Burbulis. "Lithuania: Lithuanian President Awaits Court Ruling on KGB Agent Issue." (FBIS-SOV-99-002 2 Jan. 1999/WNC)

NEXIS describes ITAR-TASS as the "main [Russian] government information agency."

Lithuania. The Constitutional Court. 4 March 1999. "Ruling on the Compliance of Articles 1 and 2, Part 2 of Article 3 of the Republic of Lithuania Law "On the Assessment of the USSR Committee of State Security (NKVD, NKGB, MGB, KGB) and Present Activities of the Regular Employees of This Organisation." [Accessed 4 Oct. 2002]

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) [Prague]. 14 February 2000. Newsline. Ahto Lobjakas. "Lithuania Asks KGB Collaborators to Confess." http://www.rferl/org/newsline/2000/02/140200.asp [Accessed 7 Oct. 2002]

_____. 23 April 1999. "Lithuanian Parliament Amends Lustration Law." newsline/1999/04/3-CEE/cee-230499.html [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

_____. 10 February 1999. Vol. 3, No. 28. "Former KGB Agents Seeking to Keep Positions in Lithuania." (

_____. 10 July 1998. Vol. 2. No. 131. "Lithuanian President Not to Sign Lustration Law." [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

_____. 29 June 1998. "Lithuanian Parliament Passes Lustration Law." [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

United Kingdom. Immigration and Nationality Directorate. April 2002. Lithuania Country Assessment. [Accessed 3 Oct. 2002]

Additional Sources Consulted

Amnesty International Report. Annual. 1999-2002.

Electronic databases: IRB, NEXIS, UNHCR, WNC.

Freedom House [NY]. Nations in Transit. Annual. 1998, 2002.

Human Rights Watch World Report. Annual. Dec. 1998-Dec. 2001.

International Helsinki Federation for Human Rights [Vienna]. 2002. Report 2002.

Internet sites, including:

British Helsinki Human Rights Group

Danish Immigration Service. Reports on Fact-Finding Missions. Jan. 1998-present.

Danish Refugee Council.

Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Country Reports. Jan. 1998-present.

Office fédéral des réfugiés [Berne]. Feuilles d'information sur les pays. Jan. 1998-present.

Open Society Institute

Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty