VDD Celebrates Its 100th Anniversary

On 9 August 2019 the solemn event in honour of the 100th anniversary of VDD was held in Riga Latvian Society House.

On 11 August 1919 the first Latvian civilian counterintelligence and internal security service and the first predecessor of VDD in its functions and mission – the State Security Department – was established. Although during the last centenary the Latvian counterintelligence and internal security service has experienced different eras and its name has changed for several times, the mission of the service remained unchanged – to protect the independence of the Latvian State, its democratic system of government and territorial integrity.

The Director General of VDD Mr. Normunds Mežviets in his opening speech provided the insight into the history of Latvian counterintelligence and internal security service and paid tribute to those officers who had selflessly served their country and given their lives in the fight for its existence. "I would like to express my highest appreciation to everyone who at the turn of an age has been a part of Latvian civilian counterintelligence and internal security service and was ready to devote the life to reach its goals. Thank you for your professionalism, selflessness, courage and patriotism."

H.E. President of Latvia Mr. Eglis Levits in his greeting speech emphasised the role of VDD in the context of both national security and the security of the EU and NATO. He said that "the milestone of the existence of any country is to ensure its internal and external security. A state that does not care for its security cannot last, and there is no such state in the world as there are always forces posing threats and not wishing well to the state."

Mr. Levits noted that the threats the Latvian counterintelligence and internal security service has been facing during the last centenary had changed relentlessly. "Officers are required to adapt to current developments and find the means to ensure the existence and security of our country. I have to admit VDD’s outstanding professionalism in this field. It has been attained that the threats can be controlled and have diminished. Thanks to VDD and the national security system we can feel safe. The fact that general public is not that much aware of VDD indicates its professionalism. This is the service which should not be in the spotlight of general public in order to fulfil its tasks."

The Speaker of Saeima Ms. Ināra Mūrniece noted that it takes a paramount faith in the Latvian State and inner strength to do the work that mostly remains invisible to general public and is rarely rewarded with a public appreciation. Ms. Mūrniece said that "during the last few years there are positive developments in VDD’s activities. The service has good leadership, it advances and actively cooperates with foreign partner services. The positive outcome of VDD’s activities is also demonstrated by the overall public mood as people feel safer."

The Parliamentary Secretary of the Prime Minister Ms. Evika Siliņa congratulated VDD on its 100th anniversary on behalf of the Prime Minister of Latvia Mr. Krišjānis Kariņš. "Since the beginnings of our country VDD has played an important role in strengthening and protecting Latvia’s national sovereignty. The challenges of our era and the development of high technologies have significantly changed the world we live in. Therefore the security of the State and each of its residents is in need of more protection. Your courage, honesty, selflessness and patriotism have fostered the trust in VDD. I would like to thank all VDD officers for upholding these values and for your daily work for the benefit of all society. I wish you to remain vigilant, honest and selfless while you continue to watch over our national sovereignty."

The Minister for the Interior Mr. Sandis Ģirģens stressed the increasing role of VDD in ensuring the independence of the State and the security of its residents. "Unfortunately Europe is not becoming more secure. Although currently Latvia is ‘a secure island’ on the European map, the threats and security risks faced by European countries remain relevant also to us. I see VDD as a highly professional service. It is also the assessment of the Latvian government as Mr. Mežviets has been appointed for his second term as VDD’s director general. I rest assured that under his leadership during the next five years VDD will succeed, and I am ready to provide the necessary support to also strengthen the capacity of the service."

The Prosecutor General Mr. Ēriks Kalnmeiers on behalf of all prosecutors expressed his appreciation to VDD for the good cooperation and high professionalism while investigating complex criminal cases. Mr. Kalnmeiers wished VDD "to maintain high professionalism, clear head, the support of the government and the national parliament as well as trustworthy and professional partners, as only by joining forces we rest capable to ensure the security of the Latvian State".

The Head of the Latvian parliamentary committee on national security Mr. Māris Kučinskis expressed his appreciation for the work of the counterintelligence and internal security service during the last centenary. "The service has not let down our predecessors. VDD remains vigilant about the values in the core of our country’s foundation and development. Therefore also today while looking back to the establishment of the service we can be proud to be the continuation of what was established, cherished and believed in by Latvia’s most courageous and selfless people in order to strengthen Latvia’s security, without fearing the influence of the surrounding powers and the instability of the newly established country. On behalf of the committee on national security I would like to thank VDD, its leadership and every officer for their selfless engagement in the relentless strengthening of the State independence and internal security. Your work places Latvia among Europe’s safest countries and allows its residents to live peacefully and feel safe."

VDD’s 100th anniversary celebration was attended also by the Minister of Foreign Affairs Mr. Edgars Rinkēvičs, Minister of Defence Mr. Artis Pabriks, Minister for Culture Mr. Nauris Puntulis, Head of Defence Intelligence and Security Service Mr. Indulis Krēķis, Director of Constitution Protection Bureau Mr. Jānis Maizītis, Commander of the National Armed Forces Lieutenant General Leonīds Kalniņš, Director of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau Mr. Jēkabs Straume, Chief of the State Police General Ints Ķuzis, Chief of the State Borderguard General Guntis Pujāts, Commander of the Military Police Collonel Tālis Majors and other heads of VDD’s partner institutions. Representatives of senior management of VDD’s foreign partner services also attended the celebration.

As we enter the next centenary, as of today VDD’s Twitter account @Valsts_drosiba will start operating. It will provide updates on the activities of VDD within the limits of the substantiated secrecy.

VDD would like to thank all Latvian residents who have demonstrated their civic initiative by providing information on possible threats to national security and calls on further provision of information that would allow to timely identify and prevent the threats to national security.

Information was prepared by VDD