Projects/ Colour Revolutions

April 2006- March 2007

The Colour Revolutions in Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine, and Kyrgyzstan promised radical political change in Eastern Europe and Eurasia. Through non-violent mass mobilization, and under the banner of fighting against corrupt and unpopular regimes, the Colour Revolutions have brought new hope and mobilization for reforms, fight against corruption, free elections, and transparent governance. The Serbian Revolution in the year 2000 brought down the dictatorship of Slobodan Milosevic and set the example: following electoral fraud by corrupt and unpopular regimes, mass demonstrations lead to a bloodless regime change and open the way to representative democracy, with a new elite promising to curb corruption, re-launch political and economic reforms and bring the country closer to European standards. Three revolutions in post-Soviet countries followed the same pattern: the Rose Revolution in Georgia (2003), the Orange Revolution in Ukraine (2004), and the Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (2005).

The inter-relation between those revolutions was not limited to form: often activists from one country inspired, helped, and trained militants in another on the skills of peaceful revolutions. The Colour Revolutions were followed by a strong backlash. Political repression is on the rise in several post-Soviet countries. Many authoritarian regimes fearing pro-democratic revolutions have taken steps to block what they thought were instrumental in making the Coloured Revolutions happen: repressing opposition groups, expelling international NGO's, closing down the remnants of independent mass media, and creating top-down, loyal youth movements.

The research project will focus on four case studies: Serbia, Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. It will aim at analysing the shifting roles of civil society actors after the Colour Revolutions in those countries and the prospects and political processes which might, from the perspective of civil society actors, conduct to further democratization and reform.

Each case study will focus on three segments of civil society:

    Youth movements;
    Human rights activists;
    Independent mass media.

By focusing the study on those three sectors of civil society, the research will explore the new dynamism and balance of power at work between ruling elites and civil society and assess current possibilities for change and potential for reform.

Expected results
A research paper of hundred pages, which will analyze the conditions in which political change happened, and assess the perceptions of civil society actors about current prospects for further democratization and reform, their respective roles and the political processes underlying the potential for further democratic reform.


Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC
La revolution orange perd ses couleurs
Revolutions en trompe-l'?il a l'Est