Debating the Color Revolutions: What Are We Trying to Explain?

Issue Date January 2009
Volume 20
Issue 1
Page Numbers 86-89
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What were the color revolutions? The phrase encompasses a set of political changes across the postcommunist world that can be divided into three categories: transformative elections, “electoral revolutions” as such, and “postelectoral” popular uprisings. Electoral transitions varied dramatically with regard to the significance of the oppositions’ actual victory in elections, the size of the crowds that turned out in the streets in support of the opposition, the geopolitical context of the transitions, and the long-term consequences of these electoral revolutions for the countries where they occurred. In seeking to explain these events, diffusion and structure need not be viewed as mutually exclusive causal variables. Indeed, diffusion, working in different structural and cultural contexts, has produced diverse political outcomes.

About the Author

Vitali Silitski is director of the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies. He has been a visiting fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law at Stanford University (2006–2007), and a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy (2004–2005).

View all work by Vitali Silitski