Bulgaria's Interior Ministry said it will open some 253,000 documents from communist-era secret archives by the end of 2006. The declassification applies mainly to historical documents and secret files from before 1991, though some archives deemed particularly sensitive will remain sealed, the ministry said in a statement.

The archives of Bulgaria's former civil and military espionage services were first opened in 1997, though it was soon discovered that some 60 percent of them had already been destroyed by the authorities in 1990. The files were sealed again in 2002 after the adoption of a NATO-required law aimed at protecting classified information. Between 1997 and 2002, 25,632 Bulgarians who had been spied on by the communist secret services were able to see their own files.

The declassification comes on the heels of the decision of the Polish government to declassify the polish records of the Warsaw Pact.

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