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___upr lecture 7 feb 2013

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Colors of hope: Causes and consequences of color revolutions in post-soviet countries, by Mykhailo Minakov …

Colors of hope: Causes and consequences of color revolutions in post-soviet countries, by Mykhailo Minakov
Fulbright Kennan Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars
Department of Political Science, University of Puerto Rico
February 7, 2013

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  • 1. COLORS OF HOPE CAUSES AND CONSEQUENCES OF COLOR REVOLUTIONS IN POST-SOVIET COUNTRIES Mykhailo MinakovFulbright Kennan Scholar, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars Department of Political Science, University of Puerto Rico February 7, 2013
  • 2. PHENOMENON OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS»Two issues at the focus of this lecture:• preconditions of the revolutions• political trends that were enforced due to «color revolutions» in Western Eurasia
  • 3. PHENOMENON OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS»A thunderstorm of ‘electoral revolutions’ in Eurasia from the West to the East• Serbia – ‘bulldozer revolution’ (2000)• Georgia – ‘rose revolution’ (2003)• Ukraine – ‘orange revolution’ (2004)• Kyrgyzstan – ‘tulip revolution’ (2005)• Lebanon – ‘cedar revolution’ (2005)• Kuwait – ‘blue revolution’ for women’s suffrage (2005)• Burma – ‘saffron revolution’ (2007)• Iran – ‘violet revolution’ (2009)• Tunisia – ‘jasmine revolution’ (2011)• Russia – ‘birch revolution’ or ‘snow revolution’ (2011 – 2012)
  • 4. SERBIA, 2000«BULLDOZER REVOLUTION»
  • 5. GEORGIA, 2003«ROSE REVOLUTION»
  • 6. UKRAINE, 2004«ORANGE REVOLUTION»
  • 7. KYRGYZSTAN, 2005«TULIP REVOLUTION»
  • 8. LEBANON, 2005«CEDAR REVOLUTION»
  • 9. BURMA, 2007«SAFFRON REVOLUTION»
  • 10. IRAN, 2009«VIOLET REVOLUTION»
  • 11. TUNISIA, 2011«JASMINE REVOLUTION»
  • 12. RUSSIA, 2011-2012«BIRCH REVOLUTION»
  • 13. HISTORICAL FRAMEWORK OF«COLOR REVOLUTIONS»• Continuation of the velvet revolutions in the Eastern Europe in 1989-1991?• New phenomenon in Eurasia with its continuation in Africa and Arabia?• Paradox of the global democratization?
  • 14. PARADOX OF GLOBAL DEMOCRATIZATION• Growing number of democratic political regimes, along with growing dissatisfaction with the quality of existing regimes• Growing global demand for democratization of regimes • Freedom House: more democratic countries – from 42 countries (24%) in 1974 to 89 countries (46%) in 2009 • Freedom House: less non-free countries – from 64 (41%) in1974 to 47 (24%) in 2009 • World values survey: In almost all countries of the world, the vast majority of the population supports democratic values
  • 15. PARADOX OF GLOBAL DEMOCRATIZATION• Growing public distrust of existing regimes (both dem. and non-dem. countries) • voter passivity and volatility • lower participation in political parties • lower trust in political institutions • lower trust in and respect for elites • slowdown of democratization after crisis of 2008There are two simultaneous processes in the world: an increase of democratic countriesand a decrease of satisfaction with democracy as it is practiced by most regimes .
  • 16. «COLOR REVOLUTION»HOW THE TERM WAS COINED • Western journalists: 2003 • Post-Soviet journalists: 2004 • Politicians: Ascar Akayev used it to describe processes in Kyrgyzstan in the beginning of 2005 • Scholars: political scholar Michael McFaul , Transition from Post-communism (2005); «color revolutions» was used to describe political processes in Serbia, Georgia and Ukraine
  • 17. FEATURES OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS»• Relative peacefulness of public uprisings, leading role of non-political civil organizations• Connected with electoral period: civil unrest starts as a result of fraudulent vote counts/results• Involvement of Western international aid institutions that support independent civil society organizations, and of Russian institutions supporting unpopular elites in the former Soviet Union (fSU)
  • 18. CAUSES OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS» -VERSIONSMichael McFaul: «color revolutions» continue the process that started in end ofthe 1980s as democratic revolutions• in 1989, the West managed to consolidate democracies only in Central and Eastern Europe, failed in non-Baltic fSU and Balkans• non-controlled behavior of elites in non-Baltic fSU and Balkans led to harsh disparity in society and thus to civic uprisings
  • 19. CAUSES OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS» -VERSIONS«Color revolutions» as a result of the Western impact• «Optimists»: • the Western impact was rather small • inner causes were the main ones• «Pessimists»: • the Western conspiracy was the main cause of revolutions • CSOs were manipulated by the Western governments • conspiracy theory: irrational horror in front of global democratization and propaganda of authoritarianism
  • 20. CAUSES OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS» -VERSIONS«Color revolutions» in pessimistic scholarly theories: • priority is given to ‘external’ causes of revolutions • honest result of elections are not possible in post-Soviet countries • to defend their liberties, post-Soviet citizens need the West and its mechanisms of influence • CSOs are an instrument of external players
  • 21. CAUSES OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS» -VERSIONSInternational organizations claimed to be part of the Western conspiracy• main institutions: National Endowment for Democracy (NED), National Democratic Institute (NDI), International Republican Institute (IRI), International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), Open Society Institute and Freedom House• result of their activities: CSOs built their capacity to effectively advocate free and transparent elections, civil liberties, and interests of groups that never been taken into account by power elites• the West helped CSOs and opposition to become effective competitors in elections• Western organizations used the Color Revolutions to fundraise for themselves in their own countries• the West supported elites (through loans to governments) and CSOs simultaneously
  • 22. CAUSES OF «COLOR REVOLUTIONS»• Main controversies: • semi-authoritarian political regimes could not reproduce themselves in situation of enforced electoral transparency, civil activism and political competition • contradiction between non-articulated expectations of freedom among citizens and growing demand for power control from oligarchs• Shortsightedness of elites• Growing economic strength of citizens• Dysfunction of democratic institutions in fSU countries • post-Soviet democratic diet: manipulated multiparty system and mass media • legitimacy minimum: democracy was reduced to elections only• Low legitimacy of political regimes• Clash of big geopolitical players’ interests
  • 23. CIVIL SPIRIT OF COLOR REVOLUTIONS• Civil spirit (not politics) as an engine of civil unrest• Po Faik Tien (China): absence of one political ideology with the revolutionaries, aims at re-integration of societies• Sabine Fischer (Germany) and Zeng Siang Hong and Yang Shu (China): • change in political ecology of the post-Soviet countries caused by contradiction between growing social fragmentation based on new collective identities and rigid political system • color revolutions as constituent assemblies of new republics; attempt to establish new social contractCivil movements have joined supporters of nationalism, socialism, and liberalism tocreate equal conditions for political competition in revolutionary countries
  • 24. AESTHETICS OF COLOR REVOLUTIONS• colors and flowers as symbols of solidarity (new non-ideological symbols)• symbolic creativity as new spin-doctors’ fashion• canalization of social optimism into political channel
  • 25. COLOR REVOLUTION KEY FACTORS• Position of power elites • how dependent are elites from international aid and trade? • do elites save their assets in the Western banks? • do authorities permit existence of NGOs? • do power elites adhere to democratic principles?
  • 26. COLOR REVOLUTION KEY FACTORS• Situation in opposition • how effective is political opposition in coordinating between themselves? • how effective is opposition in communicating with society? • are there strong popular leaders in the opposition? • is there an economic basis for opposition?• Depth of influence of foreign actors on political situation • influence of official diplomatic representative offices on authorities • influence of non-official political foreign actors on politicians and oligarchs • coordination of international aid providers with CSOs
  • 27. COLOR REVOLUTION KEY FACTORS• Recognition of regime’s illegitimacy by vast majority of population • are citizens ready to stand up for their interests? • what is the level of support for/distrust of government? • what is the level of support for/distrust of opposition? • are there influential trusted leaders in opposition to authorities?
  • 28. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTS• Mart Laar (Estonia, 2007): color revolutions had a positive impact of development of revolutionary countries (Georgia) and their neighbors (Moldova)• Theodor Rouse (USA, 2007): in all revolutionary countries the leaders’ promises were not fulfilled
  • 29. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTS• Color revolutions in former Soviet Union (Economist, 2008): • color revolutions had confusing consequences • color revolutions were a street fight between the Western Light and the Eastern Shadow • although the revolutions did not lead to positive results, the post-revolutionary countries are in better places than they would be without revolutions• Andrei Ryabov (Russia, 2010): none of the revolutionary countries launched ‘principally new model of their development’
  • 30. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSMeasuring by :• quality of elites and stability of political regimes• quality of democracy• economic freedoms
  • 31. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSQuality of elites• Temporary effect: the change of names of those in power did not change practices • social lifts remained out of work • political groups use force more often • strengthening institution of the presidency, weakening the parliament
  • 32. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSQuality of elites• none of the post-revolutionary elites had a clear goal of development • Georgia: contradictory Westernization • Ukraine: self-isolation • Kyrgyzstan: no vision of future• split nations : • Georgia: lost provinces (South Ossetia, Abkhazia), national consolidation through war with Russia • Ukraine: East and West - cultural diversity with political representation • Kyrgyzstan: South and North, tribal groups in the parliament
  • 33. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSFailed states index (Foreign Policy / Fund for Peace)
  • 34. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSCivil liberties and political rights (Freedom House)
  • 35. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSPress freedom index (Reporters without Borders)
  • 36. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSCorruption perception index (Transparency International)
  • 37. COLOR REVOLUTION RESULTSEconomic freedom of the world (Fraser Institute)
  • 38. COLOR REVOLUTIONS GENERAL RESULTS• Slowed down transition to authoritarianism in revolutionary countries in the short-term• In the medium term, provoked reaction from counter-revolutionary countries that promoted authoritarianism throughout the region• Did not change the socio-economic model of development• Did not decrease corruption and separation of citizens and government• Increased situation of conflict in the fSU region

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