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Are the Colors of Post-Soviet Revolution Fading?

January 18, 2008 06:15 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
The three “color revolutions" of 2003–2005 were each distinct, but shared one trait in being the peaceful expression of popular political will. Recent events have raised questions about the legacies of the revolutions in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan.

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All three revolutions involved the removal of a government charged with corruption and election fraud.

In all three countries, the government presently in power, which helped oust the previous administration, has been embroiled in its own set of difficulties. Those problems have at times included accusations of political corruption.

During the revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine, pro-Western parties replaced their pro-Russian opponents.

But recently, Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili, a friend of the West, has been accused of authoritarianism and election fraud.

In Ukraine, Western ally Yulia Tymoshenko narrowly became prime minister in December 2007, after a tumultuous few years with on-and-off ally President Viktor Yuschchenko. His absence from parliament opened the door to pro-Russian Viktor Yanukovich, pushed out in the Orange Revolution.

Furthermore, Kyrgyzstan’s President Kurmanbek Bakiyev is blamed for impeding democratic reforms following the Tulip Revolution. He is now accused of misconduct in the country’s December parliamentary elections.

It has been suggested that the color revolutions have betrayed their original promise. The Economist writes, “But for all its confusion, the aftermath of the rose and orange revolutions still offers plenty of evidence to counter such defeatism,” while in former Soviet nations like Kyrgyzstan “the old guard has dug in or clawed its way back.”

Lawrence A. Uzzell, president of International Religious Freedom Watch, takes a less optimistic line in The Christian Science Monitor: “Americans should look at reality rather than Hollywood-style happy endings when they gauge the progress in Ukraine and other post-Soviet states." Uzzell raises concerns about the “suppression of legislators and journalists” in those countries.

Headline Link: ‘Color Revolutions in the Former Soviet Union’

Background: Recent elections in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan

Opposition protests Georgian elections
Tymoshenko elected Ukrainian Prime Minister
Tymoshenko smoothes relations with Russia
Kyrgyztan leader’s party elected in controversial victory

Opinion & Analysis: Assessing post-Soviet democracy

Georgia and the legacy of the Rose Revolution
Ukrainian politics after the Orange Revolution
Kyrgyzstan and the effects of the Tulip Revolution

Historical Context: Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan in the post-Soviet era

Georgia and the Rose Revolution
Ukraine and the Orange Revolution
Kyrgyzstan and the Tulip Revolution
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