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Armenia and the Velvet Revolution: The Merits and Flaws of a Protest-based Civil Society

Foreign Policy Research institute

Author: Simon Hoellerbauer

In: Geopolitics, 2019

The author argues that comparison with the 'Colour Revolutions' are misleading since these were promoted by civil society organizations and opposition parties and focused on regime distortion of elections. Success in Armenia did demonstrate the power of civil society, but relied on 'grassroots organizing via social media' rather than on official NGOs, which are widely distrusted. The 2018 revolution drew on experience of earlier protests focused on limited issues. Hoellerbauer also speculates about future prospects for democracy under Pashinyan without a strong civil society to hold him accountable, and in the light of Armenia's dependence on Russia and the problem of the 'frozen conflict' over Nagorno-Karabakh.

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