A Matrix for Post-Soviet "Color Revolutions": Exorcising the Devil from the Details

Journal article

Baev, Pavel K. (2011) A Matrix for Post-Soviet "Color Revolutions": Exorcising the Devil from the Details, International Area Studies Review 14 (2): 3–22.

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The spectacular and unexpected explosion of revolutionary energy in the Arab world since the start of 2011 makes it more relevant to re-examine the chain of attempts to depose the quasi-democratic regimes in the states that emerged from the break-up of the USSR. Often called “color revolutions”, these attempts brought some remarkable results in the mid-2000s, but—against common perceptions—continue. The analysis shows that the rate of success in the collection of 13 cases is close to 50%, but the track record of post-revolutionary development is rather disappointing. Nothing in the processed data suggests a decline in the dynamics of the revolutionary processes in the former Soviet space, but the diminishing attention from the West and the ageing of autocracies (particularly in Central Asia) could make the forthcoming revolutions uglier as they drive state failure stronger than democratic change. The most complex situation matures in Russia, which has assumed the leadership role in suppressing the wave of revolutions but is experiencing a crisis of its corrupt and un-modernizable authoritarian regime.

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