The Seimas of Lithuania decided on Tuesday to classify information about former KGB collaborators for 75 years after 80 MPs voted in favour, 12 were against and 17 abstained.
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Supporters believe the state guaranteed anonymity for people who have admitted their collaboration with the KGB and that the publications of their names would be beneficial for the Russian secret services.

"Let's be honorable with these people who believed in the state and admitted their mistakes," Liberal MP Vitalijus Gailius said.

MP Arvydas Anušauskas of the Homeland Union – Lithuanian Christian Democrats said "the biggest success for the Russian FSB would ne to know the names of those people who then refused to further collaborate with the KGB and willed in forms prepared by the State Security Department."

Meanwhile, Social Democratic MP Algirdas Sysas disagreed and said that many people had various post-independence expectations but they were not fulfilled. Therefore, why the expectations of those who admitted their collaboration should be defended, Sysas asked, adding that he would like "to know those people so that they do not pretend to be heroes."

The bill was initiated by the government which originally proposed classifying such information indefinitely but the time provision was later amended by the Seimas Committee on National Security and Defense.

The committee cited practice of other NATO member countries, stating that such information cannot be classified indefinitely and that the longest classification period was 75 years. It also noted that the term can be further extended.

Under the existing law, information on KGB collaborators who have admitted their collaboration is classified but the "classified" label on the ex-KGB cases is due to expire later this year.

The political council of Lithuania's ruling coalition considered the possibility of publishing information about persons who have admitted their secret collaboration with the Soviet security but the idea was later rejected.

Some 1,589 persons voluntarily admitted having collaborated with the Soviet Union's secret services after a deadline for voluntary admission was declared.

Meanwhile, KGB documents imply that about 118,000 persons collaborated with the KGB between 1940 and 1991.

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