Demokratin är en lång och envis kamp

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För trettio år sedan, i augusti 1991, hände det mest otroliga. Sovjetunionen föll. En totalitär diktatur som haft total kontroll och utövat totalt förtryck, tvingades vika inför människors krav på frihet och demokrati. Samma otroliga skeenden kan bli verklighet i vår tid.

Diktaturer som Kina och dagens ryska despoti kan synas oövervinnliga och eviga, men lever likväl på lånad tid. Har man inte folket bakom sig utan bara under sig, kommer resningen även om man kan fängsla, tortera, deportera och avrätta den totalitära maktens fiender.

Det som skedde i augusti 1991 hade en direkt länk till de baltiska folkens fredliga krav på frihet som präglat 1980-talet. Den sjungande revolutionen, manifestationerna för den egna historien och sommaren 1989 – den mänskliga kedjan från sydligaste Litauen till nordligaste Estland, som markerades av människor som stod och höll varandra i hand på en sträcka som motsvarar Malmö till Uppsala. Det gjordes på årsdagen för Molotov-Ribbentroppakten, där Sovjetunionen och Nazityskland den 23 augusti 1939 i förbund delade östra Europa mellan sig. Så startades andra världskriget av Stalin och Hitler gemensamt. Det var i förbund med Nazityskland som Sovjetunionen la grunden för ockupation och förtryck i Östeuropa och de baltiska staterna.

Kraven på självständighet samlade ester, letter och litauer bakom sina folkfronter och självständighetsrörelser. Deras krav på självständighet fick ett så stort folkligt stöd att det blev svårt att slå ner på. Genom Måndagsrörelsen i Sverige fick de internationell uppmärksamhet, samtidigt som baltiska ledare fick en plattform att tala till världen.

De baltiska folkens krav på frihet hade en direkt länk till det som skedde i övriga Europa. I Polen hade varvsarbetarna i Gdansk inlett strejker för reformer och större frihet. I Tjeckoslovakien började allt fler avslöja regimens förljugenhet och hyckleri. I Östtyskland växte kraven på befrielse från förtryckarnas avlyssning och hjärtlöshet.

Den ena kampen för frihet blev till stöd för den andra. Så fick Polen demokratiska val försommaren 1989, därför att förtryckets regim saknade legitimitet och moral. På samma sätt samlades östtyskar till demonstrationer som till slut ledde till murens fall. I Tjeckoslovakien föll regimen på samma sätt.

När Sovjetunionen i januari med militära medel försökte krossa självständighetssträvandena i Baltikum, misslyckades man när hundratusentals människor stod emot dem. Och när de hårdföra kommunisterna försökte sig på en kupp mot dem som vill öppna upp Sovjetunionen för demokrati och reformer misslyckades de, eftersom modets moral besegrade stridsvagnarnas hot i Moskva.

Detta är en lärdom för vår tid. Kampen för demokratin avgörs inte i ett slag, under ett år eller genom ett beslut. Men despoterna vet en sak. De vet att de inte har folken med sig. I så fall hade de inte behövt vara diktatorer, fängsla motståndare, döda politiska fiender, slå ner på demonstrationer och lägga ner tidningar.

Det finns ett gemensamt drag bland förtryckarna i Belarus, Ryssland, Kina och i arabvärldens diktatorer. De är rädda för demokratin, de är rädda för folket och de är rädda för rättsstaten. Det gäller även dem som vill underminera Europas demokratier, som i Polen och Ungern eller Rumänien och Malta. De är rädda för fri press, för det fria ordet, för öppenhet och för demokrati. Det är därför de är rädda för den långa kampen för demokrati. Större makt än så har de inte. Så låt oss lära oss av det som augusti 1991 visade världen och dess diktatorer. De förlorar för att de aldrig kan vinna folkets stöd.


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