From late 2003 through mid-2005, a series of peaceful street
protests toppled corrupt and undemocratic regimes in Georgia,
Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan and ushered in the election of new
presidents in all three nations. These movements-collectively known
as the Color Revolutions-were greeted in the West as democratic
breakthroughs that might thoroughly reshape the political terrain
of the former Soviet Union.
But as Lincoln A. Mitchell explains in The Color
Revolutions, it has since become clear that these protests
were as much reflections of continuity as they were moments of
radical change. Not only did these movements do little to spur
democratic change in other post-Soviet states, but their impact on
Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan themselves was quite different
from what was initially expected. In fact, Mitchell suggests, the
Color Revolutions are best understood as phases in each nation's
long post-Communist transition: significant events, to be sure, but
far short of true revolutions.
The Color Revolutions explores the causes and consequences
of all three Color Revolutions-the Rose Revolution in Georgia, the
Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and the Tulip Revolution in
Kyrgyzstan-identifying both common themes and national variations.
Mitchell's analysis also addresses the role of American democracy
promotion programs, the responses of nondemocratic regimes to the
Color Revolutions, the impact of these events on U.S.-Russian
relations, and the failed "revolutions" in Azerbaijan and Belarus
in 2005 and 2006.
At a time when the Arab Spring has raised hopes for democratic
development in the Middle East, Mitchell's account of the Color
Revolutions serves as a valuable reminder of the dangers of
confusing dramatic moments with lasting democratic
Subjects: Political Science
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