Colour revolution

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Map of colour revolutions from 2000 to 2005 Color Revolutions Map.png
Map of colour revolutions from 2000 to 2005

Colour revolution (sometimes called the coloured revolution) is a term that was widely used by worldwide media [1] to describe various related movements that developed in several countries of the former Soviet Union and the Balkans during the early 2000s. The term has also been applied to a number of revolutions elsewhere, including in the Middle East. Some observers (such as Justin Raimondo and Michael Lind) have called the events a revolutionary wave, the origins of which can be traced back to the 1986 People Power Revolution (also known as the Yellow Revolution) in the Philippines.

Post-Soviet states States established following the disestablishment of the Soviet Union

The post-Soviet states, also collectively known as the former Soviet Union (FSU) or former Soviet Republics, and in Russian as the "near abroad" are the sovereign states that emerged and re-emerged from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics in its breakup in 1991, with Russia internationally recognised as the successor state to the Soviet Union after the Cold War. The three Baltic states were the first to declare their independence, between March and May 1990, claiming continuity from the original states that existed prior to their annexation by the Soviet Union in 1940. The remaining 12 republics all subsequently seceded. 12 of the 15 states, excluding the Baltic states, initially formed the CIS and most joined CSTO, while the Baltic states focused on European Union and NATO membership.

Balkans Geopolitical and cultural region of southeastern Europe

The Balkans, also known as the Balkan Peninsula, is a geographic area in southeastern Europe with various definitions and meanings, including geopolitical and historical. The region takes its name from the Balkan Mountains that stretch throughout the whole of Bulgaria from the Serbian-Bulgarian border to the Black Sea coast. The Balkan Peninsula is bordered by the Adriatic Sea on the northwest, the Ionian Sea on the southwest, the Aegean Sea in the south and southeast, and the Black Sea on the east and northeast. The northern border of the peninsula is variously defined. The highest point of the Balkans is Mount Musala, 2,925 metres (9,596 ft), in the Rila mountain range.

Justin Raimondo American activist

Justin Raimondo is an American author and the editorial director of Antiwar.com. He describes himself as a "conservative-paleo-libertarian."

Contents

Participants in the colour revolutions have mostly used nonviolent resistance, also called civil resistance. Such methods as demonstrations, strikes and interventions have been intended protest against governments seen as corrupt and/or authoritarian and to advocate democracy and they have also created strong pressure for change. These movements generally adopted a specific colour or flower as their symbol. The colour revolutions are notable for the important role of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and particularly student activists in organising creative non-violent resistance.

Nonviolent resistance Practice of achieving goals through nonviolent methods

Nonviolent resistance is the practice of achieving goals such as social change through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha, or other methods, while being nonviolent. This type of action highlights the desires of an individual or group that feels that something needs to change to improve the current condition of the resisting person or group.

Civil resistance is political action that relies on the use of nonviolent resistance by civil groups to challenge a particular power, force, policy or regime. Civil resistance operates through appeals to the adversary, pressure and coercion: it can involve systematic attempts to undermine the adversary's sources of power, both domestic and international. Forms of action have included demonstrations, vigils and petitions; strikes, go-slows, boycotts and emigration movements; and sit-ins, occupations, and the creation of parallel institutions of government. Civil resistance movements' motivations for avoiding violence are generally related to context, including a society's values and its experience of war and violence, rather than to any absolute ethical principle. Cases of civil resistance can be found throughout history and in many modern struggles, against both tyrannical rulers and democratically elected governments. The phenomenon of civil resistance is often associated with the advancement of democracy.

General strike strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labour force in a city, region, or country participates

A general strike is a strike action in which a substantial proportion of the total labour force in a city, region, or country participates. General strikes are characterised by the participation of workers in a multitude of workplaces, and tend to involve entire communities. General strikes first occurred in the mid-19th century, and have characterised many historically important strikes.

Such movements have had a measure of success as for example in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia's Bulldozer Revolution (2000), in Georgia's Rose Revolution (2003) and in Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2004). In most but not all cases, massive street protests followed disputed elections or requests for fair elections and led to the resignation or overthrow of leaders considered by their opponents to be authoritarian. Some events have been called "colour revolutions", but are different from the above cases in certain basic characteristics. Examples include Lebanon's Cedar Revolution (2005) and Kuwait's Blue Revolution (2005).

The overthrow of Slobodan Milošević occurred on 5 October 2000, in Belgrade, Yugoslavia, following the presidential election on 24 September, and culminating in the downfall of Slobodan Milošević's government on 5 October 2000. It is sometimes referred to as the 5 October Overthrow and sometimes colloquially called the Bager revolucija, translated into English as Bulldozer Revolution, after one of the most memorable episodes from the day-long protest in which an engineering vehicle operator charged the RTS building, which was considered to be symbolic of the Milošević regime's propaganda.

Georgia (country) Country in the Caucasus region

Georgia known until 1995 as the Republic of Georgia is a country in the Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Western Asia and Eastern Europe, it is bounded to the west by the Black Sea, to the north by Russia, to the south by Turkey and Armenia, and to the southeast by Azerbaijan. The capital and largest city is Tbilisi. Georgia covers a territory of 69,700 square kilometres (26,911 sq mi), and its 2017 population is about 3.718 million. Georgia is a unitary parliamentary republic, with the government elected through a representative democracy.

Rose Revolution

The Revolution of Roses, often translated into English as the Rose Revolution, was a pro-Western peaceful change of power in Georgia in November 2003. The revolution was brought about by widespread protests over the disputed parliamentary elections and culminated in the ousting of President Eduard Shevardnadze, which marked the end of the Soviet era of leadership in the country. The event derives its name from the climactic moment, when demonstrators led by Mikheil Saakashvili stormed the Parliament session with red roses in hand.

Government figures in Russia, such as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, stated that color revolutions are externally fueled acts with a clear goal to influence the internal affairs that destabilize economy, [2] conflict with the law and represent a new form of warfare. [3] [4] President Vladimir Putin said that Russia must prevent colour revolutions: "We see what tragic consequences the wave of so-called colour revolutions led to. For us this is a lesson and a warning. We should do everything necessary so that nothing similar ever happens in Russia". [5]

Russia transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and Northern Asia

Russia, or the Russian Federation, is a transcontinental country in Eastern Europe and North Asia. At 17,125,200 square kilometres (6,612,100 sq mi), Russia is by a considerable margin the largest country in the world by area, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, and the ninth most populous, with about 146.80 million people as of 2019, including Crimea. About 77% of the population live in the western, European part of the country. Russia's capital, Moscow, is one of the largest cities in the world and the second largest city in Europe; other major cities include Saint Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhny Novgorod. Extending across the entirety of Northern Asia and much of Eastern Europe, Russia spans eleven time zones and incorporates a wide range of environments and landforms. From northwest to southeast, Russia shares land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Georgia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia and North Korea. It shares maritime borders with Japan by the Sea of Okhotsk and the U.S. state of Alaska across the Bering Strait. However, Russia recognises two more countries that border it, Abkhazia and South Ossetia, both of which are internationally recognized as parts of Georgia.

Vladimir Putin Russian politician, 2nd and 4th President of Russia

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin is a Russian politician and former intelligence officer serving as President of Russia since 2012, previously holding the position from 2000 until 2008. In between his presidential terms, he was also the Prime Minister of Russia under his close associate Dmitry Medvedev.

List of colour revolutions

Color revolutions map 2.svg
RevolutionLocationDate startedDate endedDescription
Carnation Revolution Flag of Portugal.svg Portugal 25 April 1974The revolution is associated with the colour carnation because carnations were worn.
Yellow Revolution Flag of the Philippines (light blue).svg Philippines 22 February 198625 February 1986The 1986 People Power Revolution (also called the "EDSA" or the "Yellow" Revolution) in the Philippines was the first successful non-violent uprising in the contemporary period. It was the culmination of peaceful demonstrations against the rule of then-President Ferdinand Marcos – all of which increased after the 1983 assassination of opposition Senator Benigno S. Aquino, Jr. A contested snap election on 7 February 1986 and a call by the powerful Filipino Catholic Church sparked mass protests across Metro Manila from 22–25 February. The Revolution's iconic L-shaped Laban sign comes from the Filipino term for People Power, "Lakás ng Bayan", whose acronym is "LABAN" ("fight"). The yellow-clad protesters, later joined by the Armed Forces, ousted Marcos and installed Aquino's widow Corazón as the country's eleventh President, ushering in the present Fifth Republic.
Coconut Revolution Flag of Papua New Guinea.svg Papua New Guinea 1 December 198820 April 1998Papua New Guinea had a great deal of local feelings. Particularly, the island of Bougainville was more severely discriminated against. The inhabitants of Bougainville Island became revolution army (Bougainville Revolutionary Army), and fought against government troops. On April 30, 1998, Papua New Guinea ended civil war. In 2005, Papua New Guinea gave autonomy to the Bougainville.
Velvet Revolution (Czechoslovakia) Flag of Czechoslovakia.svg Czechoslovakia 17 November 198929 December 1989in 1989, a peaceful demonstration by students (mostly from Charles University) was attacked by the police – and in time contributed to the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia.
Bulldozer Revolution Flag of Serbia and Montenegro.svg Yugoslavia 5 October 2000The 'Bulldozer Revolution' in 2000, which led to the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević. These demonstrations are usually considered to be the first example of the peaceful revolutions which followed. However, the Serbians adopted an approach that had already been used in parliamentary elections in Bulgaria (1997), Slovakia (1998) and Croatia (2000), characterised by civic mobilisation through get-out-the-vote campaigns and unification of the political opposition. The nationwide protesters did not adopt a colour or a specific symbol; however, the slogan "Gotov je" (Serbian Cyrillic: Готов је, English: He is finished) did become an aftermath symbol celebrating the completion of the task. Despite the commonalities, many others refer to Georgia as the most definite beginning of the series of "colour revolutions". The demonstrations were supported by the youth movement Otpor!, some of whose members were involved in the later revolutions in other countries.
Rose Revolution Flag of Georgia (1990-2004).svg Georgia 3 November 200323 November 2003The Rose Revolution in Georgia, following the disputed 2003 election, led to the overthrow of Eduard Shevardnadze and replacing him with Mikhail Saakashvili after new elections were held in March 2004. The Rose Revolution was supported by the Kmara civic resistance movement.
Orange Revolution Flag of Ukraine.svg  Ukraine 22 November 200423 January 2005The Orange Revolution in Ukraine followed the disputed second round of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, leading to the annulment of the result and the repeat of the round – Leader of the Opposition Viktor Yushchenko was declared President, defeating Viktor Yanukovych. The Orange Revolution was supported by PORA.
Purple Revolution Flag of Iraq (2004-2008).svg Iraq January 2005 Purple Revolution was a name first used by some hopeful commentators and later picked up by United States President George W. Bush to describe the coming of democracy to Iraq following the 2005 Iraqi legislative election and was intentionally used to draw the parallel with the Orange and Rose revolutions. However, the name "purple revolution" has not achieved widespread use in Iraq, the United States or elsewhere. The name comes from the colour that voters' index fingers were stained to prevent fraudulent multiple voting. The term first appeared shortly after the January 2005 election in various weblogs and editorials of individuals supportive of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. [6] The term received its widest usage during a visit by U.S. President George W. Bush on February 24, 2005 to Bratislava, Slovak Republic for a summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Bush stated: "In recent times, we have witnessed landmark events in the history of liberty: A Rose Revolution in Georgia, an Orange Revolution in Ukraine, and now, a Purple Revolution in Iraq." [7]
Tulip Revolution Flag of Kyrgyzstan.svg  Kyrgyzstan 27 February 200511 April 2005The Tulip Revolution in Kyrgyzstan (also sometimes called the "Pink Revolution") was more violent than its predecessors and followed the disputed 2005 Kyrgyz parliamentary election. At the same time, it was more fragmented than previous "colour" revolutions. The protesters in different areas adopted the colours pink and yellow for their protests. This revolution was supported by youth resistance movement KelKel.
Cedar Revolution Flag of Lebanon.svg  Lebanon 14 February 200527 April 2005The Cedar Revolution in Lebanon between February and April 2005 followed not a disputed election, but rather the assassination of opposition leader Rafik Hariri in 2005. Also, instead of the annulment of an election, the people demanded an end to the Syrian occupation of Lebanon. Nonetheless, some of its elements and some of the methods used in the protests have been similar enough that it is often considered and treated by the press and commentators as one of the series of "colour revolutions". The Cedar of Lebanon is the symbol of the country, and the revolution was named after it. The peaceful demonstrators used the colours white and red, which are found in the Lebanese flag. The protests led to the pullout of Syrian troops in April 2005, ending their nearly 30-year presence there, although Syria retains some influence in Lebanon.
Blue Revolution Flag of Kuwait.svg  Kuwait March 2005Blue Revolution was a term used by some Kuwaitis [8] to refer to demonstrations in Kuwait in support of women's suffrage beginning in March 2005; it was named after the colour of the signs the protesters used. In May of that year the Kuwaiti government acceded to their demands, granting women the right to vote beginning in the 2007 parliamentary elections. [9] Since there was no call for regime change, the so-called "blue revolution" cannot be categorised as a true colour revolution.
Jeans Revolution Flag of Belarus (1995-2012).svg Belarus 19 March 200625 March 2006In Belarus, there have been a number of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, with participation from student group Zubr. One round of protests culminated on 25 March 2005; it was a self-declared attempt to emulate the Kyrgyzstan revolution, and involved over a thousand citizens. However, police severely suppressed it, arresting over 30 people and imprisoning opposition leader Mikhail Marinich.

A second, much larger, round of protests began almost a year later, on 19 March 2006, soon after the presidential election. Official results had Lukashenko winning with 83% of the vote; protesters claimed the results were achieved through fraud and voter intimidation, a charge echoed by many foreign governments.[ citation needed ] Protesters camped out in October Square in Minsk over the next week, calling variously for the resignation of Lukashenko, the installation of rival candidate Alaksandar Milinkievič, and new, fair elections.

The opposition originally used as a symbol the white-red-white former flag of Belarus; the movement has had significant connections with that in neighbouring Ukraine, and during the Orange Revolution some white-red-white flags were seen being waved in Kiev. During the 2006 protests some called it the "Jeans Revolution" or "Denim Revolution", [10] blue jeans being considered a symbol for freedom. Some protesters cut up jeans into ribbons and hung them in public places.[ citation needed ] It is claimed that Zubr was responsible for coining the phrase.

Lukashenko has said in the past: "In our country, there will be no pink or orange, or even banana revolution." More recently he's said "They [the West] think that Belarus is ready for some 'orange' or, what is a rather frightening option, 'blue' or 'cornflower blue' revolution. Such 'blue' revolutions are the last thing we need". [11] On 19 April 2005, he further commented: "All these coloured revolutions are pure and simple banditry." [12]

Saffron Revolution Flag of Myanmar (1974-2010).svg Myanmar 15 August 200726 September 2007In Burma (officially called Myanmar), a series of anti-government protests were referred to in the press as the Saffron Revolution [13] [14] after Buddhist monks (Theravada Buddhist monks normally wear the colour saffron) took the vanguard of the protests. A previous, student-led revolution, the 8888 Uprising on 8 August 1988, had similarities to the colour revolutions, but was violently repressed.
Grape Revolution Flag of Moldova.svg  Moldova 6 April 200912 April 2009The opposition is reported to have hoped for and urged some kind of Orange revolution, similar to that in Ukraine, in the follow-up of the 2005 Moldovan parliamentary elections, while the Christian Democratic People's Party adopted orange for its colour in a clear reference to the events of Ukraine.[ citation needed ]

A name hypothesised for such an event was "Grape Revolution" because of the abundance of vineyards in the country; however, such a revolution failed to materialise after the governmental victory in the elections. Many reasons have been given for this, including a fractured opposition and the fact that the government had already co-opted many of the political positions that might have united the opposition (such as a perceived pro-European and anti-Russian stance). Also the elections themselves were declared fairer in the OSCE election monitoring reports than had been the case in other countries where similar revolutions occurred, even though the CIS monitoring mission strongly condemned them.

There was civil unrest all over Moldova following the 2009 Parliamentary election due to the opposition claiming that the communists had fixed the election. Eventually, the Alliance for European Integration created a governing coalition that pushed the Communist party into opposition.

Green Movement Flag of Iran.svg  Iran 13 June 200911 February 2010Green Movement is a term widely used to describe the 2009–2010 Iranian election protests. The protests began in 2009, several years after the main wave of colour revolutions, although like them it began due to a disputed election, the 2009 Iranian presidential election. Protesters adopted the colour green as their symbol because it had been the campaign colour of presidential candidate Mir-Hossein Mousavi, whom many protesters thought had won the elections. [15] However Mousavi and his wife went under house arrest without any trial issued by a court.
Jasmine Revolution Flag of Tunisia.svg  Tunisia 18 December 201014 January 2011Jasmine Revolution was a widely used term [16] for the Tunisian Revolution. The Jasmine Revolution led to the exit of President Ben Ali from office and the beginning of the Arab Spring.
Lotus Revolution Flag of Egypt.svg  Egypt 25 January 201111 February 2011Lotus Revolution was a term used by various western news sources to describe the Egyptian Revolution of 2011 that forced President Mubarak to step down in 2011 as part of the Arab Spring, which followed the Jasmine Revolution of Tunisia. Lotus is known as the flower representing resurrection, life and the sun of ancient Egypt. It is uncertain who gave the name, while columnist of Arabic press, Asharq Alawsat, and prominent Egyptian opposition leader Saad Eddin Ibrahim claimed to name it the Lotus Revolution. Lotus Revolution later became common on western news source such as CNN. [17] Other names, such as White Revolution and Nile Revolution, are used but are minor terms compare to Lotus Revolution. The term Lotus Revolution is rarely, if ever, used in the Arab world. [ citation needed ]
Pearl Revolution Flag of Bahrain.svg  Bahrain 14 February 201122 November 2014In February 2011, Bahrain was also affected by protests in Tunisia and Egypt. Bahrain has long been famous for its pearls and Bahrain's specialty. And there was the Pearl Square in Manama, where the demonstrations began. The people of Bahrain were also protesting around the square. At first, the government of Bahrain promised to reform the people. But when their promises were not followed, the people resisted again. And in the process, bloodshed took place (March 18, 2011). After that, a small demonstration is taking place in Bahrain.
Coffee Revolution Flag of Yemen.svg  Yemen 27 January 201124 November 2011An anti-government protest started in Yemen in 2011. The Yemeni people sought to resign Ali Abdullah Saleh as the ruler. On November 24, Ali Abdullah Saleh decided to transfer the regime. In 2012, Ali Abdullah Saleh finally fled to the United States(February 27). [ citation needed ]
Jasmine Revolution Flag of the People's Republic of China.svg  China 20 February 201120 March 2011A call which first appeared on 17 February 2011 on the Chinese language site Boxun.com in the United States for a "Jasmine revolution" in the People's Republic of China and repeated on social networking sites in China resulted in blocking of internet searches for "jasmine" and a heavy police presence at designated sites for protest such as the McDonald's in central Beijing, one of the 13 designated protest sites, on 20 February 2011. A crowd did gather there, but their motivations were ambiguous as a crowd tends to draw a crowd in that area. [18] Boxun experienced a denial of service attack during this period and was inaccessible. [19]
2015 Guatemalan protests Flag of Guatemala.svg  Guatemala 16 April 20153 September 2015In 2015, Otto Pérez Molina, President of Guatemala, was suspected of corruption. In Guatemala City, a large number of protests rallied. Demonstrations took place from April to September 2015. Otto Pérez Molina was eventually arrested on September 3. The people of Guatemala called this event "Guatemalan Spring". [20]
Colourful Revolution Flag of North Macedonia.svg  Macedonia 12 April 201620 July 2016Many analysts and participants of the protests against President of Macedonia Gjorge Ivanov and the Macedonian government refer to them as a "colourful Revolution", due to the demonstrators throwing paint balls of different colours at government buildings in Skopje, the capital. [21] [22]
Velvet Revolution (Armenia) Flag of Armenia.svg  Armenia 31 March 20188 May 2018In 2018, a peaceful revolution was led by member of parliament Nikol Pashinyan in opposition to the nomination of Serzh Sargsyan as Prime Minister of Armenia, who had previously served as both President of Armenia and prime minister, eliminating term limits which would have otherwise prevented his 2018 nomination. Concerned that Sargsyan's third consecutive term as the most powerful politician in the government of Armenia gave him too much political influence, protests occurred throughout the country, particularly in Yerevan, but demonstrations in solidarity with the protesters also occurred in other countries where Armenian diaspora live. [23] During the protests, Pashinyan was arrested and detained on 22 April, but he was released the following day. Sargsyan stepped down from the position of Prime Minister, and his Republican Party decided to not put forward a candidate. [24] An interim Prime Minister was selected from Sargsyan's party until elections were held, and protests continued for over one month. Crowd sizes in Yerevan consisted of 115,000 to 250,000 people at a time throughout the revolution, and hundreds of protesters were arrested. Pashinyan referred to the event as a Velvet Revolution. [25] A vote was held in parliament, and Pashinyan became the Prime Minister of Armenia.

Influencing factors

Anti-Communist revolutions

Many have cited the influence of the series of revolutions which occurred in Central and Eastern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly the Velvet Revolution in Czechoslovakia in 1989. A peaceful demonstration by students (mostly from Charles University) was attacked by the police – and in time contributed to the collapse of the communist regime in Czechoslovakia. Yet the roots of the pacifist floral imagery may go even further back to the non-violent Carnation Revolution of Portugal in April 1974, which is associated with the colour carnation because carnations were worn, and the 1986 Yellow Revolution in the Philippines where demonstrators offered peace flowers to military personnel manning armoured tanks.

Revolutions of 1989 series of 1989-protests overthrowing communist governments in Eastern Europe

The Revolutions of 1989 formed part of a revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s that resulted in the end of communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe and beyond. The period is sometimes called the Fall of Nations or the Autumn of Nations, a play on the term Spring of Nations that is sometimes used to describe the Revolutions of 1848.

Velvet Revolution democratization process in Czechoslovakia in 1989

The Velvet Revolution or Gentle Revolution was a non-violent transition of power in what was then Czechoslovakia, occurring from 17 November to 29 December 1989. Popular demonstrations against the one-party government of the Communist Party of Czechoslovakia included students and older dissidents. The result was the end of 41 years of one-party rule in Czechoslovakia, and the subsequent dismantling of the command economy and conversion to a parliamentary republic.

Czechoslovak Socialist Republic republic in Central/Eastern Europe between 1960 and 1990

The Czechoslovak Socialist Republic was the name of Czechoslovakia from 1948 until 23 April 1990, when the country was under communist rule. Formally known as the Fourth Czechoslovak Republic, it has been regarded as a satellite state of the Soviet Union.

Student movements

The first of these was Otpor! ("Resistance!") in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which was founded at Belgrade University in October 1998 and began protesting against Miloševic' during the Kosovo War. Most of them were already veterans of anti-Milošević demonstrations such as the 1996-97 protests and the 9 March 1991 protest. Many of its members were arrested or beaten by the police. Despite this, during the presidential campaign in September 2000, Otpor launched its "Gotov je" (He's finished) campaign that galvanised Serbian discontent with Miloševic' and resulted in his defeat.

Otpor! former Serbian civic movement and political party

Otpor! was a political organization in Serbia from 1998 until 2004.

Kosovo War 1990s armed conflict in Kosovo

The Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that started in late February 1998 and lasted until 11 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, which controlled Kosovo before the war, and the Kosovo Albanian rebel group known as the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA), with air support from the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) from 24 March 1999, and ground support from the Albanian army.

Members of Otpor have inspired and trained members of related student movements including Kmara in Georgia, Pora in Ukraine, Zubr in Belarus and MJAFT! in Albania. These groups have been explicit and scrupulous in their practice of non-violent resistance as advocated and explained in Gene Sharp's writings. [26] The massive protests that they have organised, which were essential to the successes in the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, Georgia and Ukraine, have been notable for their colourfulness and use of ridiculing humor in opposing authoritarian leaders.

Critical analysis

Russian assessment

According to Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Russian military leaders view the colour revolutions as a "new US and European approach to warfare that focuses on creating destabilizing revolutions in other states as a means of serving their security interests at low cost and with minimal casualties." [27]

Chinese view

Articles[ which? ] published by the Global Times , a state-run nationalist newspaper, indicate that Chinese leaders also anticipate the Western powers, such as the United States, using "color revolutions" as a means to undermine the one-party state. An article published on 8 May 2016 claims: “A variation of containment seeks to press China on human rights and democracy with the hope of creating a ‘color revolution.’” [28]

Reactions and connected movements in other countries

Armenia

Aram Karapetyan, leader of the New Times political party in Armenia, has declared his intention to start a "revolution from below" in April 2005, saying that the situation was different now that people had seen the developments in the CIS. He added that the Armenian revolution will be peaceful but not have a colour. [29] In 2008, a massive anti-government demonstration took place in Armenia. The citizens of Armenia held demonstrations against illegal elections.

Azerbaijan

A number of movements were created in Azerbaijan in mid-2005, inspired by the examples of both Georgia and Ukraine. A youth group, calling itself Yox! (which means No!), declared its opposition to governmental corruption. The leader of Yox! said that unlike Pora or Kmara, he wants to change not just the leadership, but the entire system of governance in Azerbaijan. The Yox movement chose green as its colour. [30]

The spearhead of Azerbaijan's attempted colour revolution was Yeni Fekir ("New Idea"), a youth group closely aligned with the Azadlig (Freedom) Bloc of opposition political parties. Along with groups such as Magam ("It's Time") and Dalga ("Wave"), Yeni Fekir deliberately adopted many of the tactics of the Georgian and Ukrainian colour revolution groups, even borrowing the colour orange from the Ukrainian revolution. [31] [32]

In November 2005 protesters took to the streets, waving orange flags and banners, to protest what they considered government fraud in recent parliamentary elections.[ citation needed ] The Azerbaijani colour revolution finally fizzled out with the police riot on 26 November, during which dozens of protesters were injured and perhaps hundreds teargassed and sprayed with water cannons. [33]

Bangladesh

On February 5, 2013, protests began in Shahbag and later spread to other parts of Bangladesh following demands for capital punishment for Abdul Quader Mollah, who had been sentenced to life imprisonment, and for others convicted of war crimes by the International Crimes Tribunal of Bangladesh. [34] [35] On that day, the International Crimes Tribunal had sentenced Mollah to life in prison after he was convicted on five of six counts of war crimes. [36] [37] Later demands included banning the Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party from politics including election and a boycott of institutions supporting (or affiliated with) the party. [38]

Protesters considered Mollah's sentence too lenient, given his crimes. [39] [40] Bloggers and online activists called for additional protests at Shahbag. [41] [42] Tens of thousands of people joined the demonstration, which gave rise to protests across the country. [43]

The movement demanding trial of war criminals is a protest movement in Bangladesh, from 1972 to present.

Belarus

In Belarus, there have been a number of protests against President Alexander Lukashenko, with participation from student group Zubr. One round of protests culminated on 25 March 2005; it was a self-declared attempt to emulate the Kyrgyzstan revolution, and involved over a thousand citizens. However, police severely suppressed it, arresting over 30 people and imprisoning opposition leader Mikhail Marinich.

A second, much larger, round of protests began almost a year later, on 19 March 2006, soon after the presidential election. Official results had Lukashenko winning with 83% of the vote; protesters claimed the results were achieved through fraud and voter intimidation, a charge echoed by many foreign governments.[ citation needed ] Protesters camped out in October Square in Minsk over the next week, calling variously for the resignation of Lukashenko, the installation of rival candidate Alaksandar Milinkievič, and new, fair elections.

The opposition originally used as a symbol the white-red-white former flag of Belarus; the movement has had significant connections with that in neighbouring Ukraine, and during the Orange Revolution some white-red-white flags were seen being waved in Kiev. During the 2006 protests some called it the "Jeans Revolution" or "Denim Revolution", [10] blue jeans being considered a symbol for freedom. Some protesters cut up jeans into ribbons and hung them in public places.[ citation needed ] It is claimed that Zubr was responsible for coining the phrase.

Lukashenko has said in the past: "In our country, there will be no pink or orange, or even banana revolution." More recently he's said "They [the West] think that Belarus is ready for some 'orange' or, what is a rather frightening option, 'blue' or 'cornflower blue' revolution. Such 'blue' revolutions are the last thing we need". [11] On 19 April 2005, he further commented: "All these coloured revolutions are pure and simple banditry." [12]

Burma

In Burma (officially called Myanmar), a series of anti-government protests were referred to in the press as the Saffron Revolution [13] [14] after Buddhist monks (Theravada Buddhist monks normally wear the colour saffron) took the vanguard of the protests. A previous, student-led revolution, the 8888 Uprising on 8 August 1988, had similarities to the colour revolutions, but was violently repressed.

China

A call which first appeared on 17 February 2011 on the Chinese language site Boxun.com in the United States for a "Jasmine revolution" in the People's Republic of China and repeated on social networking sites in China resulted in blocking of internet searches for "jasmine" and a heavy police presence at designated sites for protest such as the McDonald's in central Beijing, one of the 13 designated protest sites, on 20 February 2011. A crowd did gather there, but their motivations were ambiguous as a crowd tends to draw a crowd in that area. [18] Boxun experienced a denial of service attack during this period and was inaccessible. [19] In 2009, Uyghurs resisted the Chinese government.

Fiji

In the 2000s, Fiji suffered numerous coups. But at the same time, many Fiji citizens resisted the military. In Fiji, there have been many human rights abuses by the military. Anti-government protesters in Fiji have fled to Australia and New Zealand. In 2011, Fijians conducted anti Fijian government protests in Australia. [44] [45] [46] On 17 September 2014, the first democratic general election was held in Fiji.

Moldova

The opposition is reported to have hoped for and urged some kind of Orange revolution, similar to that in Ukraine, in the follow-up of the 2005 Moldovan parliamentary elections, while the Christian Democratic People's Party adopted orange for its colour in a clear reference to the events of Ukraine.[ citation needed ]

A name hypothesised for such an event was "Grape Revolution" because of the abundance of vineyards in the country; however, such a revolution failed to materialise after the governmental victory in the elections. Many reasons have been given for this, including a fractured opposition and the fact that the government had already co-opted many of the political positions that might have united the opposition (such as a perceived pro-European and anti-Russian stance). Also the elections themselves were declared fairer in the OSCE election monitoring reports than had been the case in other countries where similar revolutions occurred, even though the CIS monitoring mission strongly condemned them.[ citation needed ]

There was civil unrest all over Moldova following the 2009 Parliamentary election due to the opposition claiming that the communists had fixed the election. Eventually, the Alliance for European Integration created a governing coalition that pushed the Communist party into opposition.[ citation needed ]

Mongolia

On 25 March 2005, activists wearing yellow scarves held protests in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, disputing the results of the 2004 Mongolian parliamentary elections and calling for fresh elections. One of the chants heard in that protest was "Let's congratulate our Kyrgyz brothers for their revolutionary spirit. Let's free Mongolia of corruption." [47]

An uprising commenced in Ulaanbaatar on 1 July 2008, with a peaceful meeting in protest of the election of 29 June. The results of these elections were (it was claimed by opposition political parties) corrupted by the Mongolian People's Party (MPRP). Approximately 30,000 people took part in the meeting. Afterwards, some of the protesters left the central square and moved to the HQ of the Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party - which they attacked and then burned down. A police station was also attacked. [48] By the night rioters vandalised and then set fire to the Cultural Palace (which contained a theatre, museum and National art gallery). Cars torching, [49] bank robberies and looting were reported. [48] The organisations in the burning buildings were vandalised and looted. Police used tear gas, rubber bullets and water cannon against stone-throwing protesters. [48] A 4-day state of emergency was installed, the capital has been placed under a 2200 to 0800 curfew, and alcohol sales banned, [50] rioting not resumed. [51] 5 people were shot dead by the police[ citation needed ], dozens of teenagers were wounded from the police firearms [52] and disabled and 800 people, including the leaders of the civil movements J. Batzandan, O. Magnai and B. Jargalsakhan, were arrested. [53] International observers said 1 July general election was free and fair. [54]

Pakistan

In 2007 the Lawyers' Movement started in Pakistan with the aim of restoration of deposed judges. However, within a month the movement took a turn and started working towards the goal of removing Pervez Musharraf from power. [55]

Russia

The liberal opposition in Russia is represented by several parties and movements.

An active part of the opposition is the Oborona youth movement. [56] Oborona claims that its aim is to provide free and honest elections and to establish in Russia a system with democratic political competition. This movement under leadership of Oleg Kozlovsky is one of the most active and radical ones and is represented in a number of Russian cities. The movement contributed with its activities recently during the elections of 8 September 2013 to the success of Navalny in Moscow and other opposition candidates in various regions and towns of Russia. The "oboronkis" also took part with other oppositional groups in protests against fraud in the Moscow mayoral elections. [57]

Since 2012 protests it was Aleksei Navalny, who mobilized with support of the various and fractured oppositional parties and groups masses of young people against alleged repression and fraud of the Kremlin apparatus. [58] After a strong campaign for the 8 September elections in Moscow and many regions the opposition had won remarkable successes. So Navalny reached in Moscow a second place with surprising 27% behind Kremlin-backed Sergei Sobyanin with 51%. In other regions oppositions candidates received remarkable successes. So in the big industrial town Yekaterinburg In 2013 opposition candidate Yevgeny Roizman received the majority of votes and became the mayor of that town. The slow but gradual sequence of opposition successes reached by mass protests, election campaigns and other peaceful strategies has been recently called by observers and analysts as of Radio Free Europe "Tortoise Revolution" in contrast to the radical "rose" or "orange" ones the Kremlin tried to prevent. [59]

The opposition in the Republic of Bashkortostan has held protests demanding that the federal authorities intervene to dismiss Murtaza Rakhimov from his position as president of the republic, accusing him of leading an "arbitrary, corrupt, and violent" regime. Airat Dilmukhametov, one of the opposition leaders, and leader of the Bashkir National Front, has said that the opposition movement has been inspired from the mass protests of Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan. [60] Another opposition leader, Marat Khaiyirulin, has said that if an Orange Revolution were to happen in Russia, it would begin in Bashkortostan. [61]

Uzbekistan

In Uzbekistan, there has been longstanding opposition to President Islam Karimov, from liberals and Islamists. Following protests in 2005, security forces in Uzbekistan carried out the Andijan massacre that successfully halted country-wide demonstrations. These protests otherwise could have turned into colour revolution, according to many analysts. [62] [63]

The revolution in neighbouring Kyrgyzstan began in the largely ethnic Uzbek south, and received early support in the city of Osh. Nigora Hidoyatova, leader of the Free Peasants opposition party, has referred to the idea of a peasant revolt or 'Cotton Revolution'. She also said that her party is collaborating with the youth organisation Shiddat, and that she hopes it can evolve to an organisation similar to Kmara or Pora. [64] Other nascent youth organisations in and for Uzbekistan include Bolga and the freeuzbek group.

Uzbekistan has also had an active Islamist movement, led by the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan, most notable for the 1999 Tashkent bombings, though the group was largely destroyed following the 2001 NATO invasion of Afghanistan. [65]

Response in other countries

When groups of young people protested the closure of Venezuela's RCTV television station in June 2007, president Hugo Chávez said that he believed the protests were organised by the West in an attempt to promote a "soft coup" like the revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia. [66] Similarly, Chinese authorities claimed repeatedly in the state-run media that the 2014 Hong Kong protests, known as the Umbrella Revolution, was organised and controlled by the United States. [67]

In July 2007, Iranian state television released footage of two Iranian-American prisoners, both of whom work for western NGOs, as part of a documentary called "In the Name of Democracy." The documentary purportedly discusses the colour revolutions in Ukraine and Georgia and accuses the United States of attempting to foment a similar ouster in Iran. [68]

Other examples and political movements around the world

The imagery of a colour revolution has been adopted by various non-revolutionary electoral campaigns. The 'Purple Revolution' social media campaign of Naheed Nenshi catapulted his platform from 8% to become Calgary's 36th Mayor. The platform advocated city sustainability and to inspire the high voter turn out of 56%, particularly among young voters. [69] [70]

In 2015 the NDP of Alberta earned a majority mandate and ended the 44-year-old dynasty of the Progressive Conservatives. During the campaign Rachel Notley's popularity gained momentum, and the news and NDP supporters referred to this phenomenon as the "Orange Crush" per the party's colour. NDP parodies of Orange flavored Crush soda logo became a popular meme on social media. [71] [72]

See also

Related Research Articles

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Politics of Belarus

The politics of Belarus takes place in a framework of a presidential republic with a bicameral parliament. The President of Belarus is the head of state. Executive power is exercised by the government, at its top sits a prime minister, appointed by the President. Legislative power is de jure vested in the bicameral parliament, the National Assembly, however the president may enact decrees that are executed the same way as laws, for undisputed time. Belarus's declaration of independence on 27 July 1990, did not stem from long-held political aspirations but from reactions to domestic and foreign events. Ukraine's declaration of independence, in particular, led the leaders of then Belarusian SSR to realize that the Soviet Union was on the brink of dissolving, which it did.

Alexander Lukashenko President of Belarus since 20 July 1994

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Pora!, meaning It's time! in Ukrainian, is a civic youth organization and political party in Ukraine espousing nonviolent resistance and advocating increased national democracy. The group was established in 2004 to coordinate young people's opposition to the Kuchma government in opposition to what they claimed was the authoritarian governing style of Ukraine's president Leonid Kuchma. After the Orange Revolution Pora! split up in two different entities, Black Pora! and Yellow Pora!

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Orange Revolution series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005

The Orange Revolution was a series of protests and political events that took place in Ukraine from late November 2004 to January 2005, in the immediate aftermath of the run-off vote of the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election, which was claimed to be marred by massive corruption, voter intimidation and direct electoral fraud. Kiev, the Ukrainian capital, was the focal point of the movement's campaign of civil resistance, with thousands of protesters demonstrating daily. Nationwide, the democratic revolution was highlighted by a series of acts of civil disobedience, sit-ins, and general strikes organized by the opposition movement.

Ukraine without Kuchma

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Further reading