History

Over time the Service’s name has changed for several times, however its mission has remained the same – to secure Latvia’s independence, constitutional order and territorial integrity.
1919
1920
1924
1939
1940
1991
1993
1994
2000
2005
2010
2019

1919

With the proclamation of the independence of the Republic of Latvia on 18 November 1918, the need for intelligence and security services also emerged to ensure national security. The civilian counterintelligence and internal security service of Latvia – the State Security Department, was established on 11 August 1919. Jānis Liģeris-Liggers (1889–1942) was appointed as the director of the State Security Department.

The primary tasks of the State Security Department were to ensure the internal security of the state and identify persons who might pose a threat to it, as well as to conduct pre-trial investigation of crimes committed against the national security interests.

With the War of Independence ongoing, on 1 November 1919 the State Security Department was dissolved and the majority of its officers were transferred to the Intelligence Unit of the Latvian Army. At the same time, the 5th (political) Department of the Criminal Police in Riga was established, which took over the functions of the State Security Department.

Building at 12 K. Barona Street, Riga, the State Security Department headquarters from 1919 until 1920.

Jānis Liģeris-Liggers (1889–1942) – director of the State Security Department from 3 September 1919 until 1 November 1919. In 1941 he was deported to Tomsk oblast in the Siberian Federal District. Died in exile.

1920

After the end of Independence War, the work on national intelligence architecture continued. On 1 October 1920 the Political Security Department was established, which took over the functions of the 5th (political) Department of the Criminal Police. Voldemārs Alps (1891–1964) was appointed as its director and held the post until 17 January 1922, when it was taken over by Pēteris Martinsons (1886 – year of death unknown). From 3 July 1923 until 10 May 1924 the director of the Political Security Department was Ernests Āboltiņš (1884–1942).

The mains tasks of the Political Security Department were to identify and monitor persons who might pose threat to national security, to investigate crimes committed in the field of national security and to counter underground communist movement activities.

Along with the dissolution of the Intelligence Unit of the Latvian Army on 15 October 1920 the Political Security Department overtook also a part of its functions.

Political Security Department officer’s chest badge.

Voldemārs Alps (1891–1964) – director of the Political Security Department from 22 October 1920 until 17 January 1922.

Pēteris Martinsons (1886 – year of death unknown) – director of the Political Security Department from 1922 until 1923.

Ernests Āboltiņš (1884–1942) – director of the Political Security Department from 1923 until 1924. In 1941 he was deported to Ussolag Gulag camp in Siberia. Died in exile.

 

 

 

1924

On 9 May 1924 the name of the Political Security Department was changed to Political Department.

Voldemārs Ozoliņš (1891–1941) was appointed as the director of the Political Department and held this position for almost ten years – until April 1934, when the position was taken over by Jānis Fridrihsons (1892–1941).

Despite the change of the Service’s name its main responsibilities did not change. The Political Department was responsible for the protection of the constitutional order, as well as for prevention and investigation of crimes against national security.

Voldemārs Ozoliņš (1891–1942) – director of the Political Department from 1924 until 1934. In 1941 he was deported to Siberia. Died in exile.

Voldemārs Ozoliņš (1891–1942) – director of the Political Department from 1924 until 1934. In 1941 he was deported to Siberia. Died in exile.

Jānis Frīdrihs Valentīns Fridrihsons (1892–1941, since 1939 – Jānis Skrauja) – director of the Political Department from 1934 until 1940. He was arrested in 1940. Died in imprisonment.

1939

On 6 July 1939 the Political Department and the Criminal Police Administration were joined into the Security Police Department. The name of the Political Department, by analogy, was changed to Political Police Department.

The director of the former Political Department Jānis Fridrihsons was appointed the director of the Security Police Department, while he also remained the director of the Political Police Department. The main tasks of the Political Police Department remained the same – protection of the constitutional order, monitoring developments in society in order to identify possible threats and investigation of crimes committed in the field of national security.

 

1940

The Political Police Department carried out its last significant investigative activities in April 1940 when wide arrests of communists took place.

After the occupation of Latvia, the Soviet Political Police (the People’s Commissariat of Internal Affairs or NKVD) took over the Political Police Department and arrested its officers. Many were killed by NKVD. As a result of Soviet occupation regime’s repressions against the Latvian counterintelligence and internal security service, more than 90% of Service’s officers were killed.

On 18 July 1940 the director of the Political Police Department Jānis Fridrihsons, who was already dismissed at that moment, was arrested and sent to prison in Moscow. Whereas the deputy director of the Operational Unit of the Political Police Department Roberts Štiglics (1894–1972), who held information about the secret network of informants to the Service, managed to escape the Soviet repressions by fleeing abroad after he had burned most part of the documents in the furnaces at Service’s premises.

 

1991

After regaining the statehood, in 1990, the process of restoring the independence of the State of Latvia began. Thereby a new state security architecture had to be built. It was created based on the modern principles about the role of intelligence and counterintelligence services in a democratic society.

On 4 November 1991 the civilian counterintelligence and internal security service was reestablished and named as the Information Department of the Ministry of the Interior. Juris Kuzins (1947–1992) was appointed as its director and held the post until 21 July 1992.

The main task of the Information Department was to collect, process, analyze and provide information about the internal and external security of the country, as well as about matters connected with the economic and political state of the country to the state’s highest officials, thus securing state’s interests.

Building at 5/6 Raiņa Boulevard, Riga, the Information Department, National Economic Sovereignty Protection Department and Security Police headquarters from 1991 until 1995.

 

1993

On 15 February 1993, the State Economic Sovereignty Protection Department was established by consolidating the Information Department and Dignitary Protection Service and involving also resources of the Criminal Police. It was considered to be a short-term solution to reduce the threat to internal security.

Raimonds Rožkalns was appointed as the director of the State Economic Sovereignty Protection Department and kept the post throughout its existence.

Department’s responsibilities were rather broad – intelligence, counterintelligence, fight against terrorism and other severe crimes, as well as dignitary protection.

 

1994

In 1994 the Law on State Security Institutions was adopted which stipulated the intelligence community in Latvia and its legal framework. As a result, the State Economic Sovereignty Protection Department was reorganized and on 27 December 1994 Latvian Security Police was established.

The director of the State Economic Sovereignty Protection Department Raimonds Rožkalns continued his work in the post of the director of Security Police until 14 November 1996, followed by Jānis Apelis (1942–2014) who held the post for almost three years when in 1999 Imants Jānis Bekešs directed it for several months.  From 22 December 1999 till 7 November 2014 Jānis Reiniks held the post of the director of Security Police. On 28 October 2014 Normunds Mežviets was appointed as the director general of Security Police.

Security Police had a wide range or responsibilities. In order to guarantee state’s security it carried out intelligence and counterintelligence measures, was responsible for the protection of the constitutional order, information space, state secrets, economic security and dignitary protection, as well as carried out counterterrorism activities, investigated crimes related to the national security and combated corruption.

 

 

2000

In 2000 Security Police passed its foreign intelligence functions to the Constitution Protection Bureau (SAB), established in 1995. Whereas in 2003 also part of Security Police’s counterintelligence responsibilities was assigned to Constitution Protection Bureau.

After the establishment of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau in 2002 it took over part of the tasks of Security Police connected with combating corruption.  

 

2005

Due to international terrorism threats, in 2005 a central counterterrorism institution was established within Security Police – Counterterrorism Centre. The new structural unit of Security Police was tasked to coordinate the work of institutions involved in counterterrorism activities in order to ensure a united and effective cooperation in case of terrorism threats.

2010

Apart from safeguarding Prime Minister, in 2010 Security Police was also tasked to protect the Speaker of the Saeima. Since then the service provides permanent protection of the respective state officials in public events and also in their everyday lives.

 

2019

On 1 January 2019 Security Police was renamed as State Security Service (VDD). The name was chosen based on the role of the Service in the national security architecture and based on international practice, as well as in order for the Service not to be mistakenly associated with the functions of police. Likewise, in accordance with the principle of legal succession, the name was chosen to be similar to the name of the first Latvian civilian counterintelligence and internal security service (State Security Department).