Sweden unseals cables on Soviet Union collapse
Sweden on Thursday unsealed and published previously classified Swedish diplomatic cables describing the period from 1989 and up until the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union.
"I don't want to dramatise, but I must point out that the risk of a civil war is clear," reads one cable from the Swedish ambassador in Moscow, dated August 20, 1991.
That was in the middle of the two-day August Coup, when hardline members of the Communist Party tried to oust president Mikhail Gorbachev, an event that ultimately led to the demise of the Soviet Union a few months later.
"This year it is two decades since the Soviet Union finally collapsed... Twenty years on it can sometimes be difficult to comprehend the nearly daily drama during those years," Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt wrote in the introduction to one of the largest files.
"The decision to publish virtually all of this material is in part linked to our wish to assist in history-writing during a dramatic period, and in part to show off Sweden's consular work at its very best," he added.
The cables consist of diplomatic notes from Swedish envoys posted in the former Soviet Union and Baltic countries at the end of the Soviet era.
"Things could have gone very wrong. There were a number of incidents during and also after this period where there were risks that developments could have led to very serious confrontations," Bildt told the TT news agency Thursday.
© 2011 AFP