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Arvfurstens Palats in Stockholm – the home of the Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs since 1906 UDleaks Already called UDleaks in Swedish media, UD – Utrikesdepartementet (The Swedish Ministry for Foreign Affairs) has now released previously secret embassy reports from the years 1989 – 1991 on the Internet. It is mostly reports that were sent to the Ministry in Stockholm from Swedish diplomats in Moscow, Leningrad and the, at that time, provisional Swedish representations in Tallinn and Riga.

img "This year two decades have passed since the Soviet Union collapsed and Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania could re-establish themselves as independent neighbors to Sweden on the other side of the Baltic Sea", writes Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs in the preface to "An empire implodes" – a collection of some of the embassy reports now being published.

"Twenty years later it is sometimes difficult to imagine the almost daily dramatic occurrences that happened during these years", continues Carl Bildt. "Today, the Soviet collapse might seem to have been simple and obvious, but this was not the case at that time. In this grotesquely militarized empire, strong forces fought with and against each other in a development that was not easy to foresee from day to day, and where the risks were very real."

The now released embassy reports represent unique time documents from a dramatic period in modern history, and they are available online on the Internet (NB – All in Swedish language):

- "An empire implodes" – a collection including some of the reports as well as the Swedish Foreign Minister's preface is available here

- All of the released embassy reports 1989 – 1991 are available at this link

While the embassy reports mirror the times of restored independence, the 1939 – 1940 issues of the Swedish language magazine 'Kustbon' mirrors how war, occupation and oppression step by step became a reality in Estonia. 'Kustbon' was published in Estonia for the Estonian-Swedish minority from 1918 until 1940, and the Estonian National Library have now made all these issues available on the Internet.

img Nothing much is noted of an approaching war in the first twenty-five issues of Kustbon in 1939. It is news items on meetings in sewing circles, recipes on rhubarb pies, lace making, a successful start of the tourist season in the summer of 1939 and Prime Minister Kaarel Eenpalu's visit to Vormsi dominating over news from the political unrest in Europe. But, from some small news items one can understand that something serious is about to happen:

"Air-raid shelters are being built at the legations in Tallinn.
– Uus Eeesti says that the diplomatic missions in Tallinn have started to build gas tight air-raid shelters." (Kustbon Nr 14, April 28th, 1939)

"Everybody has to start to store goods.
– A new law is now in preparation, according to which all citizens have to store certain goods which are not to be consumed. In first hand this includes: salt, sugar, kerosene, candles and skins for shoe soles. This reserve doesn't have to be big; the expenses are likely to be limited to some 4 – 5 krooni per person." (Kustbon Nr 22, July 15th, 1939)

Nazi-Germany attacks Poland and the war becomes a fact September 1st, 1939. At that time, nobody knew about the secret protocol to the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, dividing Europe between the Soviet Union and Nazi-Germany. But, already in Kustbon Nr 29, September 30th, 1939, the magazine writes about a "military assistance pact between Estonia and Soviet-Russia" with the front page headline reading; "Soviet-Russian military bases at Saaremaa, Hiiumaa and in Paldiski". That is how a more than fifty years long occupation began:

img "The city of Paldiski to be evacuated.
– The inhabitants of Paldiski have been ordered to move away from the city. The population on the nearby Pakri-islands also has to leave their land and their homes, but at this time nobody knows for sure when this evacuation should be completed." (Kustbon Nr 7, April 15th, 1940)

Kustbon was forbidden by the Soviets and in the last issue being produced in Estonia, Nr 13, July 20th, 1940, the magazine writes:

"Every homestead owner must get the flag of the Soviet Union.
– In a decree, issued by the Minister of Interior, all homestead owners in Estonia are ordered to get the flag of the Soviet Union by the 20th this month at latest. The flag's dimensions are: length 1,65m and width 0,83m. The flag's color is carmine-red."

The Soviet regime saw a need for replacing 'Kustbon' and consequently the first issue of the Swedish language magazine "Sovjet-Estland – the magazine of Estonia's Communist Party's Läänemaa County Committee" was published October 17th, 1940. 43 issues were published up until August 1941, among other things announcing:

img "The Estonian-Swedes are heading towards a new and happier future." (Sovjet-Estland Nr 1, October 17th, 1940)

"To arrange for the necessary order at the Baltic coast and on the islands belonging to the ESSR, the ESSR's People's Commissariat decides on forbidden areas and entry- and residence-permits;
Forbidden areas are the islands: Hiiumaa, Saaremaa, Ruhnu, Abruka, Kihnu, Muhu, Vormsi and the peninsula of Paldiski...
Entry to these forbidden areas is only allowed with special permits, which are issued by the militias as per the citizen's permanent address of residency." (Sovjet-Estland Nr 11, December 28th, 1940)

These magazines also represent unique time documents now being available online (NB – All in Swedish language):

- All issues of the magazine 'Kustbon' from 1918 to 1940 are available here

- All 43 issues of the magazine 'Sovjet-Estland' from 1940 to 1941 are available here

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