The primary focus of many of the references in this section is on the nature of the movements that challenged rigged elections and tried to topple autocrats, the role of civil society, the significance of external support, and reasons for immediate success and failure. Many also discuss diffusion of protest. diffusion of protest. Since ‘electoral revolutions’ are also designed to secure longer term democratization of politics, important questions arise about longer term ‘success’ in changing the system. Within the democratization literature some authors query how far (if at all) system change was achieved by the colour revolutions – see for example Hale, Kalandadze and Orenstein, and Tudoriou below. (Some analyses of campaigns in particular countries covered under D.2. also comment on subsequent political developments which indicate little long term improvement in the conduct of government.) Accounts in the civil resistance literature tend to focus primarily on the movements and the immediate overthrow of governments, but for a very condensed sceptical assessment of subsequent politics in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan see Carter, People Power and Political Change: Key Issues and Concepts (A. 1.a.ii. Theories of Civil Disobedience, Power and Revolution) , Chapter 6.
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D. II.1. Comparative Assessments
Describes explicit strategies developed in both Serbia and Ukraine to increase costs of repression and reduce the willingness of the security forces to resort to violence. By combining deterrence and persuasion the organisers were able to avert major repression in 2000 and 2004.
Examines waves of change in 11 former communist nations, from 1989-1992, and the electoral defeat of authoritarian rulers from 1996 to 2005 in Bulgaria, Slovakia, Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine. This volume looks in particular at issues of transmission and the role of transnational and international actors, with a particular focus on the role of the EU. The final section discusses the conundrum posed by political developments in Russia, and also Belarus and Kyrgyzstan. Individual chapters are also cited under particular countries.
Analysis of ‘second wave of democratization’ in post-Communist states and why conditions in these states favourable to success, compared for example with failure of protests over fraudulent elections in Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Cote d’Ivoire. See also by Bunce, Valerie J.; Wolchik, Sharon L., International diffusion and postcommunist electoral revolutions Communist and Post-Communist Studies, 2006, pp. 283-302 , discussing five factors in the diffusion of electoral revolutions, including the development of civil society and networks between ‘international democracy promoters’.
Discusses why since 1996 some authoritarian rulers have been ousted but in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus opposition failed (in two successive elections in each case).
Discusses electoral defeats of authoritarian leaders from 1998 to 2005 (Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan), but also unsuccessful movements in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Belarus. Analyses local and international actors and draws comparisons with other parts of the world.
Interviews activists from Georgia, Ukraine, Azerbaijan and Belarus, as well as Serbia.
Argues that while most studies focus on grassroots movements, elites – especially security services – are crucial in determining whether movements reach a ‘tipping point’. Illustrates argument by comparing two ‘failed revolutions’ (Serbia 1996-97 and Ukraine 2001) with two ‘successful revolutions’ (Serbia 2000 and Ukraine 2004-2005). [Compare with Binnendijk; Marovic, Power and persuasion: Nonviolent strategies to influence state security forces in Serbia (2000) and Ukraine (2004) (D. II.1. Comparative Assessments) above.]
First section includes contributions from Slovakia, Croatia, Serbia, Georgia and the Ukraine. Second section is comparative discussion on range of issues by authors including Valerie Bunce and Sharon Wolchik, Taras Kuzio and Vitali Silitski.
Includes references to Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kyrgyzstan and Ukraine.
Argues that the ‘color revolutions’ 2003-2005 were fundamentally succession struggles in ‘patronal presidental’ regimes, rather than demoncratic breakthroughs, and therefore can result in retreat from democratic principles, as in Georgia.
Makes comparisons between post-communist regimes and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Sceptical assessment of role of popular protest in achieving genuine democratic change.
Examines the leading role of youth organizations – Otpor in Serbia (2000), Kmara in Georgia (2003) and Pora in Ukraine (2004) – and conditions for success, including training, western technical and financial assistance, choice of strategies and response of authorities.
See also O'Beachain, Donnacha , Roses and Tulips: Dynamics of regime change in Georgia and Kyrgyzstan Journal of Communist and Transition Studies, 2009, pp. 199-206 . Argues against the thesis that opposition unity is a prerequisite for success in overthrowing presidents, and also rejects claims that Western agents promoted protests to secure western interests.
Argues that civil society (despite its role in the opposition ) was too weak in these cases to achieve basic change, and that the democratic revolutions ‘proved to be little more than a limited rotation of ruling elites within undemocratic political systems’.
See also follow-up debate:
Journal of Democracy, Debating the color revolutions Journal of Democracy, 2009, pp. 69-97 (including contributions from Valerie Bunce and Sharon Wolchik, Mark Beissinger, Charles Fairbanks, Vitali Silitksy and Martin Dimitrou, with reply by Lucan Way).