Color revolutions


Color revolutions
   The term “color revolution” has been applied to a number of political upheavals across the former Soviet Union, beginning with the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004–2005), and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005).
   In Georgia and Kyrgyzstan, a sitting president was ousted by street protests that employed no or low levels of violence. In Ukraine, the results of a hotly contested election to replace the incumbent led to similar political action, resulting in the ultimate victory of Viktor Yushchenko over the pro-Russian candidate, Viktor Yanukovych. In the first two instances, the United States and other Western powers strongly backed the antiestablishment forces, whereas Washington had little public involvement in Kyrgyzstan events.
   The antiauthoritarian bent of the protestors and Western backing (primarily through distribution of information, nongovernmental organizations, and civil society–building tools), combined with Russia’s loss of influence in Georgia, Ukraine, and—at least initially— Kyrgyzstan, resulted in Vladimir Putin taking a strident stand against further “color revolutions” in post-Soviet space. Consequently, Putin provided unflinching support to Uzbekistan’s president Islam Karimov when he violently crushed an uprising in the Andijan province in 2005. Putin gave substantial support to Aleksandr Lukashenko’s regime in Belarus when it faced a popular election in 2006, thus averting the “Jeans Revolution” promised by the opposition. At home, Putin consolidated the Kremlin’s control of the mainstream media and formed pro-state youth groups such as Nashi to prevent similar uprisings against his increasingly neo-authoritarian rule. Fearful of Western-backed regime change via such uprisings, other members of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Kazakhstan and Armenia, have made their opposition to such “revolutions” known. Moscow has used this fear to expand its own influence in the “managed democracies” of the CIS.
   See also Foreign relations.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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