February 24, 2010
Dr. Abel Polese
THE COLOUR REVOLUTIONS IN THE FORMER SOVIET REPUBLICS
This presentation examines the significance of the colour revolution regime-change process - popular shorthand for non-violent protests that overthrew post-communist authoritarian regimes - the Georgian Rose Revolution (2003); the Ukrainian Orange Revolution (2004), and the Kyrgyzstani Tulip Revolution (2005) being the most dramatic examples.
It covers the former Soviet republics, including republics such as Russia where colour revolutions did not occur, despite apparently favourable conditions; and considers why some post-Soviet countries underwent a colour revolution and others not? Identifying the conditions for successful colour revolutions, it asks whether there is a revolutionary blueprint that has been exported and continues to be transferred to areas of the world under autocratic rule.
The presentation examines the ideologies of the post-Soviet ruling regimes, showing how political elites integrated nationalism, populism and authoritarianism into political debates; analyses anti-regime opposition movements, discussing the factors which led to the rise of such movements and outlining how the opposition movements were constituted and how they operated; and assesses the impact of external forces including the USA, the EU and Russia. Overall it evaluates the colour revolution phenomenon in its entirety, pointing out common features between different countries.