Eduard Oganjan, who served on Soviet nuclear submarines as a junior officer, said the vessels he was on roamed free in the Baltic Sea and that Russian subs do now as well, with only Sweden having the capabilities to monitor them.
Organjan served on a diesel-powered Golf-class submarine, around 100 meters in length, with 100 crew members and three nuclear warheads on board for three years at the end of the 1970s, Õhtuleht reported.
He said the boat was already out of date at the time, remembering having to cool nuclear warheads with buckets of cold water, after the cooling system broke, and a broken manometer was replaced with a Nazi pressure measuring device, with a swastika left on it.
His submarine was supposed to launch missiles at locations in the United Kingdom, if war ever broke out, and the weapons were very precise, Organjan said, adding that with more modern technology, Russian submarines are even more dangerous.
He said the Swedish navy would hunt them with helicopters and buoys, and if they were detected, they would have to return to port and would lose their bonuses. But they invented methods of fooling the Swedes, and his captain once destroyed a Swedish buoy with a machine gun, and later sold the parts.
No one would bother them if they passed Denmark and they never had any trouble with Finns, sometimes taking the 100-meter submarine close to the coast to spy on beachgoers, he said.
"And then some girls were on a yacht, not wearing bras as was customary in summer, that was something you didn't see in Soviet Estonia, and they must have seen the end of the periscope because they came to check out what was catching the light. And then the captain gave the order to submerge."
When he joined the navy he was offered a role in a covert unit, a tanker where sailors wore civilian clothes, but which could deploy small submarines. Oganjan said that the current scare in Sweden is probably such a covert unit, as larger submarines would have trouble navigating around the islands, but mini-submarines could be used to transport special forces.