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Idag för 30 år sedan, den 26 augusti 1991, hölls det 76:e måndagsmötet i Stockholm till stöd för Baltikums frihet. Varje måndag klockan 12, under nästan två års tid, samlades åldrade flyktingar, unga engagerade, politiskt aktiva och helt vanliga stockholmare på Norrmalmstorg för att kräva frihet för Estland, Lettland och Litauen. Oftast var det flera hundra på torget. Några gånger, när kritiken från regeringshåll varit som hårdast mot kraven som sades hota ”stabiliteten i regionen” och novemberregnet som kallast, var Norrmalmstorg fullt. Och när det sovjetiska våldet tog människors liv i Vilnius och i Riga var vi så många som någonsin kunde rymmas på torget och angränsande gator. Och just denna måndag var Norrmalmstorg till brädden fyllt av jublande människor.

Estland och Lettland hade dagarna innan, i samband med den misslyckade kuppen i Moskva, förklarat sin självständighet. Estland sent på kvällen den 20 augusti och Lettland på tidig morgon den 21 augusti. Litauen hade redan den 11 mars våren innan förklarat sin självständighet. Kravet på frihet i Baltikum var inte längre en ”naiv dröm”. Det var verklighet.

När det efter den 21 augusti stod klart att den gammelkommunistiska kuppen mot Gorbatjov – som framför allt stoppades av Boris Jeltsin – hade misslyckats, stod en hel värld beredd att erkänna de baltiska staterna. Ryssland hade dagen innan måndagsmötet genom Boris Jeltsin förklarat att Ryssland skulle erkänna de baltiska staternas självständighet.

Finland hade redan på söndagen återupprättat de diplomatiska förbindelserna med de baltiska staterna. I Sverige kunde vi jublande på måndagsmötet konstatera att regeringen – efter borgerliga påtryckningar – kallat till utrikesnämnd dagen därpå och senare extra regeringssammanträde för att på tisdagen den 27 augusti erkänna de baltiska staternas självständighet och besluta om att upprätta diplomatiska relationer med de fria staterna Estland, Lettland och Litauen. Medan vi stod där på Norrmalmstorg nåddes vi av budskapen att en hel värld, land efter land, följde efter. Det var mäktigt och omvälvande.

Europas diktaturer bakom järnridån föll som dominobrickor i en fredlig omvandling från ett enat och fritt Europa. Förtryckta folk fick sin frihet. Det stod klart att Sovjetunionen, som den 6 september skulle komma att erkänna de baltiska staterna, gick mot sin upplösning. En demokratins triumf och Europas befrielse.

För mig, som tillsammans med Peeter Luksep, Andres Küng och Håkan Holmberg startat måndagsrörelsen ett och ett halvt år tidigare, var det med en väldig stolthet vi kände att mötena till stöd för balterna hade hållit kraft och engagemang ända vägen fram. Framför allt var det en glädje över de baltiska folkens frihet, och för att alla baltiska frihetskämpar och dissidenter, som talat på måndagsmöten och blivit våra personliga vänner, nu kunde ta ledningen för att omvandla planekonomier till marknadsekonomier, diktaturer till demokratier och rättslöshet till rättsstater. För Europa innebar det att alla de huvudstäder som dolts bakom järnridån nu var en del av vår gemenskap.

Det finns en glädje i att titta tillbaka på detta, men framförallt en lärdom inför framtiden. När måndagsrörelsen startade sågs kraven på frihet i Baltikum i vida kretsar som naiva och verklighetsfrämmande. Järnridån hade varit en realitet i fyra decennier och somliga gick så långt att de såg den som en garanti för stabilitet. Man visste vad som gällde – frihet i väst och diktatur i öst.

I dag vet vi att det snarare var naivt att för evigt hålla halva Europa i en förtryckande polisstat, som halkade allt längre efter ekonomiskt och teknologiskt.

Även de starkaste diktaturer faller. Despoter lever ständigt på lånad tid. Den skräck med vilken de styr är deras egen – skräcken för medborgarna och deras fria vilja, demokratin, öppenheten och rättsstaten. Starkare än så är varken Lukasjenko, Putin eller Xi, liksom deras kolleger. Det gäller också det mörka bakslag som talibanernas maktövertagande i Afghanistan innebär.

Det finns tre viktiga lärdomar att dra från måndagsrörelsen till vår tid: För det första beror ett förtryckt folks motståndskraft på att man har rätten och moralen på sin sida och att omvärlden tydligt erkänner och stödjer detta. Vi som lever i den fria världen måste bidra till att de ofrias budskap når bortom förtryckets gränser.

För det andra måste vi klargöra att vårt stöd för dem som står upp för demokrati och frihet är långvarigt och uthålligt. Vi ger inte upp och vi glömmer dem inte, framförallt inte när våldet och repressionen hotar som allra mest. Detta faktum blir övertydligt i skenet av talibanernas maktövertagande.

För det tredje har despoter och förtryckare ytterst bara sitt eget våld som bas för sin makt. Diktaturen kan fängsla, mörda och sprida skräck och därmed vinna på kort sikt, och kort sikt kan förvisso vara alltför lång. Men sanningen och öppenheten avslöjar dem. På längre sikt vinner den som har moralen, rätten och människors fria viljor på sin sida.

Den 18 mars 1990 skrev Svenska Dagbladets dåvarande politiska chefredaktör Mats Svegfors en uppmaning om att göra något för att vända den svenska opinionen till stöd för balterna. Han nämnde måndagsdemonstrationerna mot den auktoritära östtyska regeringen som märkts framförallt i Leipzig. ”Varför skulle vi inte kunna starta en måndagsrörelse till stöd för de baltiska folkens frihet?” Dagen efter publicerades Holmbergs, Küngs, Lukseps och mitt brev till ledarsidan. Vi sa att vi börjar i dag. Och det gjorde vi.

Det faktum att demokratin vinner på lång sikt gör det viktigt att alltid börja i dag. Aldrig vänta och alltid agera. Inte kompromissa med diktaturens föreställningar och aldrig om demokratins värden. Håller vi fast vid moralen och rätten har diktaturen till slut bara våldet. Och i dag vet vi att diktaturer är svagare än vad de tror, och räddare än vad vi tror. Vi vände på svensk utrikespolitik, från distanserad hånfullhet till ett land som stödde sina grannländers kamp för frihet.

Vårt stöd till balterna blev en del i deras frihetskamp. Det stärkte deras moral, de visste att de inte var ensamma och bortglömda. Mötena på Norrmalmstorg blev en internationell plattform för deras budskap till hela världen. Det finns inget i min politiska karriär som jag är mer stolt över än att vi startade måndagsrörelsen. Och inget som glatt mig så mycket som när jag från baltiska vänner fick höra hur mycket det betydde för dem.

Min ständiga fråga på mötena var: Kommer ni nästa måndag klockan 12? Den frågan gäller fortfarande.


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