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The building which housed the KGB or Committee for State Security Headquarters in Riga during the Soviet period has opened for the general public as a feature of Riga’s year as the European Capital of Culture.
The building at the intersection of Brīvības Street and Stabu Street used to go by the name of Stūra māja (corner house) – obviously because of its location, as well as for a long history of putting many people in a very tight corner indeed.
The KGB was a particularly repressive authority that the Bolsheviks established soon after coming to power in Russia in 1917. They set up the Emergency Commission, or Cheka, to seek and eliminate opponents of Bolshevism.
Since then, Cheka and KGB were the terms used to denote the entire oppressive Soviet system, regardless of the name changes the authority went through.
The KGB building in Riga has been unable to find new tenants. In order to turn the spotlight on and prompt discussion about the history of the building, the KGB House is open to the general public from April 30 to October 31 this year, offering an extensive educational and cultural programme. The first, fourth, fifth and sixth floors of the building showcase history and art exhibitions about the building, visitors are also offered guided tours of the building's legendary ominous basement.