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Gorbachev hotly denied allegations that he had offered Lithuania its independence in exchange for money. (photo: Veni Markovski)
VILNIUS - Former USSR leader Mikhail Gorbachev has hotly denied allegations in recently declassified Swedish documents which claim that he asked for billions of rubles in exchange for Lithuania's freedom.
"This is not serious. This is an extremely free interpretation of the events that took place when Lithuania decided to secede from the USSR. There was no bargaining,” Gorbachev told Interfax news agency.
The documents alleged that Gorbachev asked for 21 billion roubles in exchange for the country's independence in March of 1990. He also reportedly asked that the port city of Klaipeda be absorbed into the Kaliningrad region. No deal was reached and the country achieved it's independence ahead of the collapse of the USSR the following year.
The documents came as part of the declassification of some 400 pages of Swedish diplomatic reports concerning the Baltic States' bids for independece in 1990 and 1991.
"We're talking about virtually all of our up-until-now secret reports from the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Baltic freedom movement under the dramatic year 1991,"Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt said in his blog earlier this week.