All uprisings are not born the same way
Writing yesterday about Kyrgyzstan, I stated that the events did not represent a Colored Revolution, and indeed might go on to be considered the first “post-colored revolution” revolution in the post-Soviet space. I’m writing now to elaborate a bit on what I meant by this.
By the term “Colored Revolution,” I am referring to particular pattern of events (which Professors Valerie Bunce and Sharon Wolchik have perhaps more accurately labeled the electoral model, whereby government change took the follow format: the opposition coalesced in preparation for an election; the election was held and the government implicated in (usually massive) electoral fraud effecting the outcome of the election*; protests were held following the election; and eventually a change of government of some form occurs. I have previously written as to why I think fraudulent elections are a particularly useful vehicle for allowing individual citizens who oppose the government to overcome collective action problems associated with protesting against the government, and there was also clearly a learning effect as these Colored Revolutions spread from country to country.
However, the last Colored Revolution took place in Kyrgyzstan five years ago. Since then, attempts at Colored Revolutions in the post-Soviet space — especially in Belarus but also in Azerbaijan and I think elsewhere — have not succeeded. Moreover, the most well known attempt at a Colored Revolution outside of the post-Soviet space — last summer’s attempted Green Revolution in Iran — has not succeeded (yet!).
From this framework, what is notable about yesterday’s events in Kyrgyzstan is that they do not embody the electoral model. Indeed, there was no election, and consequently no fraudulent election to galvanize protesters. Moreover – and I think this will become apparent as an important distinction in the coming days — this means there is no election to present an aura of democratic legitimacy to the new government (if it holds). What I think is similar, however, is the focus on corruption, which I have argued helped galvanize the Colored Revolutions (and indeed was epitomized by the massive electoral fraud, which can be conceived of as corruption writ large ) and which has been cited as a cause of yesterday’s protests in Kyrgyzstan.
So the big picture question I want to throw out is the following: do yesterday’s events represent the end of the Electoral Model of regime/government change in the post-Soviet world? Has the failure of the electoral model to spread since 2005 led to its demise? Will this reverberate outside of the post-Soviet space? As I noted in my previous post, Iranian Tweeters have clearly taken notice (as one Iranian Tweeter wrote “We must learn #Kyrgyzstan. It took em 1day 2drive away the gov. They occupied gov buildings,Weapons & Fought back #IranElection”.). As the sun comes up on the United States, I’ll see if I can get some guest posts from some of the other scholars who have written on the Colored Revolutions, but for now I welcome any and all comments on the topic.
*In Bunce and Wolchik’s version of the electoral model they include cases where opposition involvement in the elections (and especially in monitoring the election) was sufficient to ensure the current government could not actually steal the election. So the steps of fraudulent results and massive protest are missing, but the actual results are the same: a new regime/government brought to power via an election. They thus include Croatia and Slovakia as examples of such cases. It is also worth noting that the Kyrgyz Tulip Revolution did not actually lead to the results of the election that inspired it — a parliamentary election — being overturned. Instead, a deal was cut whereby the president was replaced, but the parliament stayed put. For more, see here and here.
More Related Stories
- Fox executive behind "Does Someone Have to Go?" leaving the network
- Developers evict historic women's shelter to build luxury hotel
- Guantánamo prisoner on hunger strike cries for help on Twitter
- Kaitlyn Hunt refuses plea offer, will go to court over high school relationship
- The secrets of cicada survival
- Hillary Clinton memoir shows up on Amazon
- Nobody "needs" to rape
- First look: Joaquin Phoenix, Marion Cotillard shine in "The Immigrant”
- DHS admits "impossible" to control 3D-printed guns
- 3 possible solutions to international tax avoidance
- A brief history of Jennifer Weiner's literary fights
- “I just want the U.S. to send my father home”
- Journalists file suit against Manning trial secrecy
- Russia: Syrian regime ready to talk peace
- Catholic Church in market for more exorcists
- Report: Nearly a quarter of all Americans struggle to afford food
- Army weapons engineer tied to white nationalist organizations
- Ted Cruz against the world
- Wikipedia's anti-Pagan crusade
- David Vitter's hypocritical, punitive, horrible new amendment
- No women allowed: Summer music festivals are dudefests, again
Featured Slide Shows
The week in 10 picsclose X
- 1 of 11
Lisa Montgomery embraces her nephew Thursday after a tornado tore apart her home in Cleburne, Texas. The twister killed six people and destroyed entire swaths of the North Texas town.
Credit: AP/LM Otero
Jack McMahon, the defense attorney for abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell, speaks outside the Criminal Justice Center in Philadelphia Tuesday. His client was convicted of killing three babies in his clinic, and will serve multiple life sentences.
Credit: AP/Matt Rourke
A photo taken Monday captures Vice President Joe Biden's response to a Milwaukee second-grader's innovative proposal to end America's epidemic of gun violence. This guy!
Credit: AP/Jenny Aicher
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., flanked by a grouper-eyed Michele Bachmann, addresses the IRS' admission that it targeted Tea Party groups in advance of the 2012 election. In an op-ed for CNN Thursday, the Kentucky senator slammed the president for his faux outrage.
Credit: AP/Molly Riley
Ousted IRS chief Steven Miller is sworn in on Capitol Hill Friday. Miller testified before the House Ways and Means Committee on the extra scrutiny the agency gave conservative groups applying for tax-exempt status.
Credit: AP/J. Scott Applewhite
Attorney General Eric Holder pauses as he testifies on Capitol Hill before the House Judiciary Committee Wednesday. Holder is under fire, among other things, for the Justice Department's gathering of phone records at the Associated Press.
Credit: AP/Carolyn Kaster
O.J. Simpson sits during an evidentiary hearing at Clark County District Court in Las Vegas, Nev., Thursday. Simpson, who is currently serving a nine-to-33-year sentence in state prison for armed robbery and kidnapping, is using a writ of habeas corpus to seek a new trial.
Credit: AP/Las Vegas Review-Journal/Jeff Scheid
Major Tom to ground control: On Sunday astronaut Chris Hadfield recorded the first music video from space, a cover of David Bowie's "Space Oddity."
Credit: AP/NASA/Chris Hadfield
When it rains it pours. President Barack Obama speaks during a news conference Thursday with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, inexplicably inspiring an #umbrellagate Twitter meme.
Credit: AP/Jacquelyn Martin
A smoke plume rises high above a road block at the intersection of County A and Ross Road east of Solon Springs, Wis., Tuesday. No injuries were reported, but the the wildfire caused evacuations across northwestern Wisconsin.
Credit: AP/The Duluth News-Tribune/Clint Austin
Recent Slide Shows
- 1 of 11