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Precede STOCKHOLM Two Visiting Swedish Union Leaders Found Dead in Tallinn

January 24, 1991

TALLINN, U.S.S.R. (AP) _ Two Swedish union leaders, visiting Estonia in support of its independence struggle, were found dead Thursday in a suburb of the Estonian capital, officials said.

They apparently had been robbed and badly beaten, and left on a pile of rubbish where they froze to death overnight, said Hakan Damm, the Swedish consul in Tallinn.

No arrests were reported.

The victims were identified as Bertil Whinberg, 55, chairman of the Construction Workers’ Union, and Ove Fredriksson, 48, chairman of the Wood Industry Workers’ union.

″It is dangerous to walk in Tallinn’s streets at night, especially for foreigners,″ Raik Saart, the city’s head of police, told a television reporter.

Saart said crime had increased dramatically in wake of reforms in the Soviet Union that, unfortunately, had given criminal groups more leeway.

But Damm said he didn’t think the capital of the small republic that is struggling for independence from the Soviet Union was any more dangerous than other cities.

The union leaders were in Tallinn to strengthen ties between labor unions in the Baltics. Lundberg said their stay had nothing to do with the three-day visit to the Baltic republics by Sweden’s vice foreign minister Pierre Schori, which started Thursday in the Latvian capital of Riga.

Damm said they arrived in Tallinn on Wednesday and had been scheduled to leave Thursday. Their bodies were found at midday by a private citizen.

The union leaders were close friends of the ruling Social Democratic leadership. When he heard of the deaths, Prime Minister Ingvar Carlsson canceled a scheduled press conference about the Social Democrats’ campaign ahead of general elections in September.

Whinberg was a ranking member of the Social Democratic Party and on the board of the powerful trade union confederation, Landsorganisationen.

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