The 69-year-old Bergling, now called Sydholt, is nailing his political colours to the mast for the first time. Since the start of the year, he has been regularly been visiting the Left Party’s local meetings in Stockholm.
“You are not a part of it if you don’t have certain sympathies from before,” Bergling said.
“Of course you don’t like all of the questions, but I have had these sympathies for many years now, even if I haven’t shown them until now – just before the election,” he told Dagens Nyheter.
Bergling worked for Sweden’s National Security Service in the surveillance department and was also an officer in the military reserve. In 1979, he was convicted of treason for stealing secret documents and handing them over to the Soviet Union. He was sentenced to life in prison.
While on leave from prison in 1987, he escaped with his wife Moscow. The couple returned to Sweden in 1994. He was released in 1997.
“They know who I am, but they have not said anything, nothing negative – on the contrary,” he told Dagens Nyheter. “They don’t talk about what I have done. But I won’t be a candidate for anything. It is just fun to listen to what they are dealing with.”
Margareta Olofsson, the Left Party’s commissioner for Social Services in Stockholm, welcomed her new member. She says she doesn’t have a problem with a controversial person getting membership.
“I didn’t know about it,” she said, according to Dagens Nyheter. “People seek membership and become members if there is no special reason to why they should not have it. He has made up for his mistakes.”