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COMMUNISM

Court gives access to Swedish Stasi archives

Documents containing the names of Swedes who worked for the Stasi, East Germany’s security service, must be made available to researchers, a court ruled on Friday.

The Supreme Administrative Court ruled on Friday that Professor Birgitta Almgren, a professor in German at Södertörn University (Södertörns Högskola), should be allowed to see the documents, which are held by the Swedish Security Service (Säpo). Säpo has consistently opposed releasing the material.

Almgren will not be given access to all documents, however. The court itself will decide exactly which papers she will be able to read. She will also not be allowed to take the documents off Säpo premises, will not be permitted to make copies of the documents and will have to destroy her notes within a year.

It is believed that most of the files she will access come from the Swedish parts of the Rosenholz Files. These were top secret Stasi documents, containing names of foreign agents and details of their activities. Most of the agents were active in West Germany.

The Rosenholz Files ended up in CIA hands in unclear circumstances following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.

Almgren last year published a book about Swedish relations with East Germany’s communist dictatorship. In it, she describes the very close relationship between Social Democratic politician Stellan Arvidson and his wife Britta, and their admiration for the country’s totalitarian regime.

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NATO

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

Sweden's Prime Minister has said that her party has brought forward the date for a decision on Nato membership by ten days, meaning a decision could be in place before a state visit by Finland's president in mid-May.

PM: Social Democrats could decide on Nato on May 15th

The decision had previously been tabled for a meeting of the party board on May 24th, but could now be taken at an extra meeting of the Social Democrats ruling committee on May 15th, Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference on Thursday. 

“We will of course discuss the issue and then we can see if we feel ready to take a decision or not,” she said at a Ukraine donors’ conference in Warsaw. 

She said that the security guarantees Sweden has received from the US and Germany for the period between a possible application and full Nato membership were significant. 

“It means a lot if Sweden chooses to send in an application, that we will be safer during the period up until we become members than we otherwise would be,” she said. 

“The party committee can take a decision then,” Party secretary Tobias Baudin he told Sweden’s TT newswire of the May 15th meeting. 

The meeting will come just two days after the Swedish government’s ‘security policy analysis group’, which includes representatives from all political parties, is due to submit its own reassessment of Sweden’s security situation. 

“It depends on what the security policy dialogue shows,” Baudin says of the decision. “Right now meetings in party districts are going at full pace.” 

The May 15th meeting will take place on the Sunday before the week when Finland’s Iltalehti and Sweden’s Expressen newspaper last month reported Finland and Sweden had already decided to jointly announce a decision to join Nato.

Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö, is due to visit Stockholm on 17th May and 18 May on a state visit, where he will be hosted by King Karl XVI Gustaf.  

The meeting of the Social Democrats’ ruling committee will come shortly after the party holds three digital members’ meetings on security policy, on May 9th, May 10th and May 12th (although these may also be brought forward). 

There is still resistance in the party’s rank and file, with at least three of the party’s powerful leagues still openly opposed to joining: 

  • The Social Democratic Women in Sweden voted last week to continue its opposition to Nato membership.
  • The Swedish Social Democratic Youth League has said it would prefer Sweden to bolster its security through the EU.
  • The Religious Social Democrats of Sweden has said that it believes the decision should not be rushed through at a time of conflict.  
  • The Social Democrat Students’ League has said that it wants to wait until it has seen the security police analysis before taking a decision. 

None of these leagues can block membership, however. It is the Social Democrats’ ruling party committee which is empowered to take the decision. 

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