Monday, August 8, 2011

The Dark Arts of Revolutionary Technology: CIS Reaction to Ukraine's Orange Revolution (2005)

Colorful Revolutions and the CIS: “Manufactured” Versus “Managed” Democracy?
By Graeme P. Herd
Images and Captions added by Color Revolutions and Geopolitics

Leaders of post-communist regimes seeking to defend themselves against purportedly Western-“manufactured” democratic revolutions may opt for authoritarianism in the guise of “managed” democracy.

The Ukrainian run-off presidential elections of November 21 and December 26, 2004, had a profound impact on orthodox assumptions underpinning the expected patterns of political power distribution and succession in the post-Soviet region. Many analysts, looking at the events in Ukraine, wondered whether any other state in the post-Soviet region might also experience a “revolution.” Others asked whether the events in Ukraine were genuine expressions of people power or were orchestrated and manufactured by external forces adept at the dark arts of “revolutionary technology.”

After three rounds of voting, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych ultimately lost to former prime minister Viktor Yushchenko by more than 2.2 million votes, receiving 41 percent to his 52 percent.1 What explains Yushchenko’s victory? Constitutional reforms changing the balance of power between president, government, and parliament were crucial in ensuring political stability, and so was the decision of the military and security structures to remain neutral and stay out of politics.2 The transfer of the locus of power from presidency to parliament—via a constitutional amendment to take effect in late 2005 or early 2006—appears to have provided Ukraine with a new system of checks and balances that allows self-interested financial-industrial power groups to align with—and resign themselves to—a Yushchenko presidency. President Leonid Kuchma’s decision not to use force to disperse the crowds of pro-Yushchenko supporters, the role of external mediators, and decisions by the Supreme Court of Ukraine were critical factors in the “soft landing” that followed upon what is now termed the Orange Revolution. The lack of appeal to Ukraine’s citizenry of the “Russian businessmen and bureaucracy currently run[ning] the country” was another key factor behind Yanukovych’s defeat.3

Analysts, journalists, and politicians in the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) presented the Ukrainian election as another worrying example of the Western attempt to “manufacture democracy” in the former Soviet region. Under the guise of mass popularity (“unpaid spontaneity” being considered a political oxymoron), they maintain, the revolution was underwritten by Western-funded international organizations that advocate democracy, such as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as U.S.-funded NGOs such as Freedom House, the National Democratic Institute, the International Republican Institute, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the George Soros–funded Open Society Foundation. Diplomatic missions (in particular U.S. embassies and U.S. Agency for International Development projects and programs) are also seen as vital to the deployment of the revolutionary technologies that have facilitated regime change. This understanding of the role of national, international, and non-governmental organizations as willing and able to act in concert suggests that other post-Soviet states will be targeted for regime change in a systematic and coordinated fashion, and in accordance with a secret strategic blueprint for change.

Proponents of this view cite as evidence the series of grass-roots revolutions that have taken place in recent years, beginning with Serbia in 2000, Georgia’s Rose Revolution in November 2003, and now the Orange Revolution in Ukraine in November 2004. These revolutions all have certain features in common. Specifically, the driving force in each case was a youth protest movement with catchy slogans and logos. In Serbia it was Otpor (Resistance) with the slogan “Gotovyi!” (He’s Finished!) and the logo of a black fist on a white background. In Georgia the youth movement was called Kmara, which doubled as the slogan “Enough,” and the logo was a black fist against a yellow background. In Ukraine Pora! doubled as a slogan meaning “It’s time!” The catchphrase was complemented by a new anthem: “Vstavai!” (Arise!) and the ubiquitous orange scarves.

CNR founder Ivan Marovic
The networks and relationships among these groups were consolidated by the sharing of media outlets, public relations campaigns, and organizational knowledge. The Belgrade-based Center for Nonviolent Resistance [CNR], for example, trained activists in Georgia, Belarus, and Ukraine. One of its activists, Sinisa Sikman, commented, “They [Pora] are applying the knowledge and skills that we have previously taught them.”4 Aleksandar Maric, an Otpor leader who worked with Ukrainian activists as part of a Freedom House initiative, stated, “We trained them to set up an organization, how to open local chapters, how to create a ‘brand,’ how to create a logo, symbols, and key messages. We trained them how to identify the key weaknesses in society and what people’s most pressing problems were.”5 Such efforts have received considerable attention. As Russian commentator Tatiana Netreba noted: 
Richard Miles
As proved by experience, revolutions occur in states with weak leaders and strong oppositions. Establishing contacts with various international foundations and securing funding happens according to a familiar scenario. One only has to remember how active the Soros Open Society Foundation is on former Soviet territory. Also take, for example, U.S. ambassador Richard Miles, who managed to do his job both in Belgrade and in Georgia. Further down the line, the streets get engaged in the regime-change process encouraged by businesspersons and oligarchs dissatisfied with incumbent regimes.
Zubr (bison) from Belarus
The thesis acknowledges that an attempt by “the West” to stage a Czechoslovak-type Velvet Revolution during the 2001 presidential election in Belarus failed. Although a youth movement named Zubr (Bison) was active (and sported an orange bison as its rallying symbol), the necessary preconditions—“weak leaders and strong opposition”—were not in place to ensure “success.” Taking a more global perspective, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela have been added to the list of failed Western- backed post-modern coup d’état attempts, in March and April 2002, respectively.7

GW Bush and Ukraine's Viktor Yushchenko
The view that the events in Kyiv fall within this framework has supporters based in the West,8 as well as in Ukraine and the CIS. During his campaign for Ukraine’s presidency, Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych characterized the opposition protests as “not revolution but a PR technology backed by secret services.”9 Lyudmyla Kyrychenko, a member of Ukraine’s parliament, cited an unspecified statement by President George W. Bush as indicating that the United States had allocated $1 billion to be spent on the Ukrainian election campaign: Viktor Yushchenko would have to repay his “huge debts” by selling off companies in eastern Ukraine if he became president.10 Russian television repeated the allegation that Western sources had funded the Yushchenko campaign, maintaining that “The U.S. State Department had earmarked at least $3 million for the rerun of the second round of the presidential election in Ukraine.”11 Other influential elites in Russia supported this contention. Gennady Seleznev, the former speaker of the State Duma, described the situation in Ukraine as “extremely alarming.” Moreover, he said, “We have the impression that what is taking place on Kyiv’s streets is not happening spontaneously—it is a well-prepared action. You can even tell from the emblems that this is a revolution for export. These oranges, which do not grow in Ukraine, have suddenly become a symbol of liberals.”12 Sergei Mironov, chair of the Russian Federation Council, stated that one could detect “a producer’s hand” in the Ukrainian revolution, just as in Yugoslavia.13 (See Table 1.)

Table 1: click to enlarge
Chain Reaction? 

Itogi magazine’s Andrei Vladimirov summed up the problem as follows: “The day before yesterday: Belgrade. Yesterday: Tbilisi. Today: Kyiv. Tomorrow: Moscow.”14 Based on this understanding of events in Ukraine, and placing the Ukrainian revolution in the context of similar revolutions in the Balkans and the South Caucasus, many analysts in the CIS have begun to examine the implications such events will have on their relations with Ukraine and with the West. They are asking, as well, whether such events may spread more broadly to the other CIS states and are considering some of the likely consequences for foreign and security policy-making in these countries.

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), through 2008
All across Russia analysts of every political persuasion believe that the tide of popular revolution could sweep across the former Soviet lands.

The debate has been sharpest in Russia. “Russia cannot afford to allow defeat in the battle for Ukraine,” warned commentator Vitaly Tretyakov. “Besides everything else, defeat would mean velvet revolutions in the next two years, now following the Kyiv variant, in Belarus, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and possibly Armenia.” 15 Andrei Ilyashenko, political commentator for RIA-Novosti, agreed, arguing that the events in Ukraine would directly affect electoral strategies and the political succession throughout the CIS: “We may see a series of Rose Revolutions in post-Soviet republics in the next few years. The former Soviet elite standing at the helm there will have to hold elections eventually. Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan may follow the Ukrainian example, and the West will hardly accept a smooth transition of power to the establishment heirs there.”16

Leaders of CIS member states meet in Moscow
Viacheslav Nikonov, president of the Politika Foundation, echoes this view:
In Ukraine we are seeing yet again the implementation of an American “velvet revolution” plan or, rather, a special operation to replace a regime that does not suit the United States, a process that had already been successfully tested in “banana republics” and was then transferred to the countries of Eastern Europe and Georgia. In just the same way as in past instances, diverse international structures and institutions have now been brought in to “unravel the knot.”17
These geopolitical sentiments are endorsed by Rossiiskaia gazeta, a government-controlled newspaper, which asserted:
What we are seeing in Ukraine is a continuation of the West’s strategy, aimed at a political takeover of the post-Soviet space. . . . I am sure that the political takeover of Ukraine through Yushchenko and his camp is indeed directed against Russia and its interests. While so far the West has been pursuing the strategic and economic expulsion of Russia from Eastern Europe, it has now embarked on concrete actions on the territory of the former USSR, where our interests are embedded much deeper and stronger.18
 Gleb Pavlovsky, president of the Moscow-based Foundation for Effective Politics and a political consultant to Viktor Yanukovych’s campaign team in Ukraine, has drawn parallels between U.S.-sponsored regimes in Latin America during the cold war and recent U.S. actions in the post-Soviet region. He places the events in Ukraine within a wider pattern of U.S. superpower foreign policy behavior and practice dating back to the cold war.
In the 1960s there was the Peace Corps in Latin America, a motley assemblage of idealists, spin doctors, and specialists in acts of sabotage. And there were similar Soviet projects. There was a lot of it about. And in general, it’s only us who find surprising the organization of revolutions from outside. In Latin America nobody is surprised by this, it is taken as a fact of life, although not necessarily welcomed.
He added that there is a “transfer of a certain continental model to another continent,” but noted one important difference in this sea of similarities:“Now this is being done in the era of media technologies.”19

The implications of these developments for Russia’s power, prestige, and image are beyond debate—they are perceived as negative. The Russian media interpreted the Ukrainian presidential elections as a foreign policy Waterloo, a “political Stalingrad”—Russia’s worst foreign policy defeat in the post-Soviet period. According to Viacheslav Kostikov, a former Kremlin spokesman, the events in Ukraine “can be seen as a planned strike against Russia aimed at creating ongoing instability on its southern borders. If this is pulled off, Russia will come up against a whole range of very complex problems— financial (the place of our capital in Ukraine), economic (linked to oil and gas pipelines to the West), political (questions of integration), military (the status of our fleet in Sevastopol), and demographic.”20

Russia’s defense minister, Ivan Ivanov, maintains that protecting the CIS is Russia’s top foreign policy priority. About 25 million Russians live in the post-Soviet space, and they share largely common histories, traditions, and cultures. He noted that almost all the citizens of the CIS speak Russian: “Our economies are inextricably linked. With few exceptions, there is no visa regime, as a result of which tens of millions of citizens of the Commonwealth essentially work and live in Russia, supporting their families and sending back home funds that many times exceed the national budgets of some CIS countries.” Russia subsidizes most of the CIS states through energy supplies. “These are precisely the reasons why we react and will react the way we do to exports of revolution to the CIS states, no matter and what color—pink, blue, you name it—though, of course, we recognize that Russia and we understand that Russia has no monopoly on the CIS states.” He went on to note, “Yet someone has not abandoned stereotypes of the past, which is proven by the reaction of certain circles in Europe and the USA to the political crisis in Ukraine.” Even before the presidential elections in Ukraine, “there had been clear signals that the West would not recognize the ballot results if the wrong candidate won the elections.”21

Even before such statements represented Russian official policy, Aleksei Malashenko, an analyst at the Carnegie Moscow Center, had predicted a “tightening of the screws” as a probable reaction to the events in Georgia and Ukraine.
In tightening screws, you can break the thread. And therefore the elites need to learn more complicated games of patience. Forewarned means armed.The experience of Georgia and Ukraine is invaluable for those who wish to retain their power or to hand it over to their successors. Mistakes in Ukraine and in Georgia, failure in [the] Dniester region [Moldova] and the protracted Chechen war—all of this does not promote the authority of the metropolis [Moscow].22
Fear persists that Russia will one day find itself surrounded by states that are members of NATO and the EU. According to the Moscow-based political analyst Andrei Piontkovsky, “Russia’s foreign policy is going towards a confrontation with the West. All politicians, including Putin, are obsessed with the idea that the West is encircling Russia, taking away the near abroad from Russia.” In his view, Putin considers Ukraine to be a personal setback. Russia’s president also accused the United States of being a “pseudo-democratic” dictatorship and lashed out at the “colonial” behavior of the West in Eastern Europe.23

Gleb Pavlovsky has analyzed the weaknesses and limits of Russia’s ability to shape events in the Soviet successor states. In Joseph’s Nye’s terminology, Russia lacks ideological, or “soft,” power. Therefore, “If Russia wants to rally other countries to its side on a grand scale, it needs some very strong arguments of a philosophical nature; appeals to the stomach, the economy, a common economic territory, and pipelines connecting brother-peoples are not sufficient.” Pavlovsky points to the popular “Russia as Third Rome” project that the tsars used to justify their policies. Russia “was meant to be the one and only correct, Orthodox state—standing in ideological contrast to the rest of the world. Lenin and Stalin based the “Soviet empire” on a different but similarly persuasive ideological foundation. “But what can we offer today to Ukraine and other products of the Soviet semicollapse?” asks Pavlovsky. “Anyone setting out to build a ‘new empire’ needs some equally substantial internal foundations of ideology, and no less substantial foreign policy intentions. So far, Russia has neither. The baggage-train of higher ideas contains only two projects: doubling GDP (which would just about let Russia catch up to Portugal in per capita terms), and reinforcing the hierarchy of governance.”24

Countering the Ukraine Scenario: The Belarus Option? 

How the Kyiv election will affect Russia’s domestic political order and its foreign policy, particularly within the CIS, is widely debated by political analysts and elites in Moscow. One analyst holds that if revolutions that are 100 percent imported fail to take root in foreign soil, then it follows that external factors can only act as catalysts. Therefore “some internal prerequisites do need to ripen. Thus, the question in principle becomes this: does Russia have immunity to the ‘orange virus’?”25 Ways and means to stop the expected chain reaction of domino democratization are a concern throughout the CIS. Many analysts argue that only stern preventative and preemptive counter-measures will stem the tide of revolutionary proliferation.

After Ukraine, CIS states moved to immediately inoculate their societies from catching the "orange virus"
Aleksei Mitrofanov, deputy head of the Liberal-
Democratic Party faction in the State Duma, sees dire consequences and implications for Russia’s political elites.
First, if we lose Ukraine that will set a precedent. We should understand that things won’t stop in Ukraine. Russia will be the next stop. The same technologies and the same situation will be applied. It is folly for Russia to assume that nothing like it can happen here. The separatist process will begin with Kaliningrad; in a year or two the young people there will take to the streets and say: We are fed up with living in hostels with a single toilet at the far end of the hallway, let the Germans fix things and we want to be part of Europe. And then it will be a domino effect that will reach Moscow too. We should understand that the “bell tolls for us.” . . . But in March 2008 it will be systematic and organized. And a rehearsal for us will be in Kaliningrad. If we don’t understand it, we must be hopelessly dumb.
Mitrofanov continues, “The impact on Russia will be far-reaching, and it will in any case be negative. The screws will be tightened with lightning speed. Policy will be tougher. Totally controlled elections, a docile CEC [Central Election Committee], docile courts, and docile media. In this way, any decisions can be enforced.”26

Boris Nemtsov, leader of Russia’s political right, does not agree with this characterization of the Ukrainian presidential elections but fears that Russian political strategists and campaign managers will learn the wrong “lessons” from the 2004 Ukrainian presidential election and try to apply them to the March 2008 presidential elections in Russia: “I am afraid that Russia will draw the opposite conclusions, namely, that censorship should be tightened, the opposition should be squeezed and so on. These will be fateful mistakes that may precipitate a revolution in Russia.”27 This prediction notwithstanding, representatives from the liberal Yabloko party and the Union of Right Forces, at a meeting of the All-Russian Civic Congress with the theme “Russia for Democracy and Against Dictatorship,” agreed that Russian society was not ready for “street democracy.” Nemtsov himself conceded, “There can be no Orange Revolution here. First of all because the ambitions of our politicians, including myself, are inordinately high and, unfortunately, have been put above Russia’s national interests.”28 Valerii Solovei of Rodnaia gazeta added, “The Ukrainian model of regime-toppling (through elections and street revolution) may be applied to Russia. There are no problems with money for it. The only problem is with the people.”29

The critical question, then, is, which former Soviet republic is most likely to see a repetition of the Ukrainian events? Viacheslav Nikonov offers a stark answer: “In all of them where for some reason the West is dissatisfied with the regime. Virtually all the CIS countries— apart from Georgia—fall into this category. Each country will decide for itself, of course, how to safeguard itself against such crises. But what has happened in Kyiv will fuel (despite the wishes of Western circles) increasing isolation or self-isolation on the part of these states.” Consequently, Nikonov predicts, governments will try to limit their citizens’ exposure to Western influences. “It is no secret,” he writes, “that funding and organizational support for [Viktor] Yushchenko’s election campaign and subsequent events were provided via a complex network of various kinds of non-governmental, public, and human-rights organizations financed by numerous Western foundations or philanthropic outfits. Now all such institutions will start to be seen in CIS countries as a threat to internal security. This will lead to a tightening of control over their activity and activists. In addition, I predict problems for opposition, liberal, and even Communist forces in all these states.”30 Sergei Markov, director of the Institute for Political Studies in Moscow, is even more specific: “I think the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Moldova is about 80 percent ready; in Kyrgyzstan it is 40 percent ready, and in Kazakhstan it is 30 percent ready.”31(See Table 2.)

Table 2: click to enlarge
In Belarus, analysts on the state-controlled television station urge that Minsk should learn the political lessons of the events in Ukraine and prevent Belarusian youth from being used as “cannon fodder” by the opposition in its struggle for power. As one commentator recalled, “An earlier attempt to stir up the situation in Belarus failed largely thanks to the deftness of the Belarus KGB and Batka [President Aleksandr Lukashenko] himself. Having sensed the danger, he promptly got rid of all foreign envoys and tamed the opposition. Because one can be confident that foreign envoys care not about human rights but about the preservation of the old imperial principle— he can be the son of a bitch, but he is our son of a bitch.”32

Minsk, Belarus (December 2010): this recent post-election confrontation between Belarusian police and opposition youth shows that the Orange Revolution 'effect' has been ongoing since 2005, both in the pressure exerted against the regime, and in the regime's resolve to subdue it.
The Lukashenko government is still carefully monitoring and controlling the opposition. On October 11, 2004, Aleksandr Dabravlovski, a parliamentary candidate and deputy chairman of the opposition United Civic Party (UCP), was investigated for illegal actions and disqualified from running in the October 17 election.33 On December 28, 2004, twenty opposition youth activists from UCP regional and city organizations were detained in Minsk for participating in an unauthorized demonstration to celebrate the victory of the Orange Revolution in neighboring Ukraine.34 In addition, in mid-December 2004 Lukashenko appointed Viktor Sheiman to head his presidential administration. Sheiman is best known as the alleged mastermind of the assassination of four of Lukashenko’s opponents between 1999 and 2001. On the occasion of the appointment, Lukashenko said, “The latest events in neighboring countries have shown the importance of a strong and authoritative power as a factor for preserving stability. Once the authorities begin to display hesitancy, passivity, and weakness, destructive forces immediately make use of this. Young people led by them, the crowd, and endless rallying paralyze the state and lead to anarchy and a grave crisis for the entire society.”35

Stanislav Belkovsky, head of Moscow’s National Strategy Institute, is more nuanced. He expects Russia’s reaction to events in Kyiv to be muted “for the simple reason that nobody at the Kremlin recognizes a defeat. A self-justification has been provided already: we raised Yanukovych from a coalmine of Donetsk to the summits of power, did our best for his victory, but America interfered in this cause with Yushchenko and its resources proved to be more extensive than ours.” However, with regard to Russian domestic politics, “The anxiety is evident and will be expressed in the future in the form of screw tightening. The laws on protests and referendums will be toughened, independent trade unions will be dispersed, unfavorable parties will be finished. Most likely, an attempt will be made to propagate the image of the external enemy represented by
the West.” In Belkovsky’s analysis, this tendency will lead Russia down the Belarusian path, toward a more authoritarian and managed future. “However, making this a professional action is unlikely to be a success,” he predicts. “The personnel and professional shortage of the incumbent state power is too obvious. Most likely, this will lead us to us experiencing some sort of deja vu, remembering the late stagnation era, and a partial repeat of the path Belarus is taking now.”36

Andrei Illarionov, the recently demoted presidential adviser on economic issues, sees further “belarusification” tendencies in Russia under Putin as self-defeating. He maintains that short-term victories over “the mass media, democratic institutions responsible for sending out messages, including messages of distress, crisis, and catastrophes to the public and to the authorities” by “amputation of such institutions” will ultimately lead “to catastrophic consequences for the country and for the entire public. The consequences, compared to what they could be under an open system, occur on a much greater scale, because in this situation problems are not solved. They accumulate, they become concentrated, and sooner or later they are directed to the center of the political system.” Therefore, he concludes. “A way out of such crises happens not through elections but through revolutions. If there are no normal, traditional, legal methods of solving the crises then nothing else short of revolution is left.”37

One other factor that undermines the move toward a belarusification of Russia’s domestic political landscape as a strategy to immunize Russia from the Orange “virus” or “plague” is the impact this development would have on Russia’s relations with Euro-Atlantic states and institutions: “Moscow fears confrontation with the West far more than it fears the loss of its own influence within the former Soviet Union.” Adoption of the belarusification option precludes G8 membership and strong EU trade relations. At any rate, this option is rendered very unlikely because Russia is now “too deeply involved in globalization, and too greatly dependent on the West—the chief customer for our oil and natural gas, our chief creditor, our chief supplier of investment and technology.”38

If events in Ukraine do not support tendencies that underpin a move toward a much more managed authoritarianism on the Belarus model, what other lessons can be drawn? Olga Kryshtanovskaya, head of the Center for Studying Elites at the Institute of Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences, argues that Ukraine should be regarded as a dress rehearsal or trial run for the Russian presidential election scheduled for March 2008. Ukraine also illustrates the importance of transferring the center of power from president to parliament before the election through amendments to the constitution or the law on government: “Vladimir Putin will assume the leadership of the United Russia party and a government of the parliamentary majority will then be elected. The only problem is in the choice of a candidate from the current Russian authorities for the post of future president without power. A strong personality will not do for this post, but a weak one may not get enough votes from the population.”39

In a similar vein, Profil magazine addressed the issue of political succession in Russia’s 2008 elections. In what the magazine terms “Operation Successor,” the state is attempting to ensure the succession by taking control of financial and administrative resources (through the appointment and promotion of leaders who are personally loyal to the Kremlin), parties and the electoral system, institutions and the media (“the media space is docile to the point of sterility”; the “population is being entertained, enticed, counseled, but not informed”). Profil observes that the principles for selecting the 2008 successor will be the same ones that applied in 1999, on the eve of Yeltsin’s resignation. The first principle is that the successor must guarantee the continuity of the elite. The second, that if an economic crisis occurs, it must be managed without blaming Putin and tarnishing his reputation.40

Although Konstantin Remchukov, the deputy minister for economic development and trade, does not discount the possibility of revolutions in other post-Soviet states, he sees them as happening only where regimes have been in place “for at least two terms and [have become] hackneyed among the people.” Societies in which expectations have been shattered are susceptible to the “charismatic, passionate enthusiasm of the masses.” But in Russia, “We have a different level of popularity and perception of Putin,” and citizens link their expectations of public justice and order to the president—expectations that have yet to be shattered.41 While the Kremlin exercises almost complete control over the political system, realistic alternatives are absent, the Russian economy is reviving, and although Putin’s personal popularity dropped after contested social reforms in January 2005, he still garners a 64 percent approval rating—can the same be said for any other regime in the CIS?42 Analysts from Tajikistan to Armenia, Kyrgyzstan to Azerbaijan, insist that their states, too, would be unable to sustain a revolution.

Fedor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Rossiia v globalnoi politike magazine, says that Russia’s integration into the West “has been virtually frozen.” CIS states increasingly realize that Russian patronage no longer guarantees that incumbents can retain power, and this will further undermine the CIS and the bilateral relations between Putin and the post-Soviet leaders. In addition, “the de facto curtailment of a Single Economic Space project, which . . . becomes pointless after Ukraine’s withdrawal, will be far more painful.” He predicted that Moldova could be “the Ukraine of 2005”— that is, the geopolitical asset whose loss will result in new costs to Russia. The Moldovan parliamentary elections scheduled for March 6, 2005, may well be based on the Kyiv prototype.43 (See Table 3.) 

Table 3: click to enlarge
Central Asia and the Caucasus 

The states of Central Asia demonstrate a more authoritarian model of governance, in which development and modernization are based on economic growth fueled by exports of raw materials. The leaders of these states advocate a form of “national democracy.” The consequent lack of any reform process has galvanized Islamic discontent and radicalized opposition movements, leading to further repression from the center. The Orange Revolution only exacerbates these tendencies. 

Kyrgyzstan. The Kyrgyz press, for example, alleges that the West plans to gradually take control over the CIS countries, both economically and politically. Vecherniy Bishkek warned, “We are witnessing how the Americans, represented by the U.S. Department of State, the National Democratic and the International Republican Institutions are implementing another ‘Rose Revolution’ in Ukraine with the great, and most likely determining, influence of Soros.”44 Only by holding truly democratic elections would it be possible to stop the chain of Western-backed “revolutions” and allow the Kyrgyz people, “and not [Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice,” to decide the destiny of the country in accordance with “Kyrgyz law, but not under the law of the prairie.”45 The People’s Assembly of Kyrgyzstan specifically criticized U.S. Ambassador Steven Young for “interference in Kyrgyz internal affairs,” warning: “Ambassadors do not resolve problems in the development of countries where they are posted.”46

President Akayev's fears were justified
President Askar Akayev, in an address to the presidium of the Public Council on Democratic Security, called on Kyrgyz governors and mayors to vaccinate the nation against the threat of a “Tulip Revolution,” which he predicted would be planted to coincide with the February 25, 2005, parliamentary elections (presidential elections will be held in October 2005).47 According to Akayev, there are nineteen pro-democracy information centers in Kyrgyzstan (with eleven more soon to open), all foreign funded. “They distribute press releases on the development of the social and political situation in the country and give only negative information,” he alleged.48 State-controlled media and democracy education in universities could counter the negative impact of such “distortion” and thereby maintain “peace and tranquility” in Kyrgyzstan.49 Akayev further declared: “Unfortunately there are some movements, like people’s movements, that have been formed of late. They are being formed using the funds of international organizations and on their demand. Their aim is to split our people. Their aim is to organize revolutions like the Rose Revolution in Georgia and the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, when we are developing stably. I am against such movements, which split people on the demand of international organizations. We do not need these movements.”50

Edil Baisalov, the leader of the coalition of civil organizations known as “For Democracy and Civil Society,” predicts that the Kyrgyz authorities will significantly restrict political freedom in order to prevent large-scale public protests like those in Ukraine.51 This fear is well-founded. Prime Minister Nikolai Tanaiev, speaking before the personnel of the Chuy Region administration, warned that radical religious movements and extremist organizations had already launched their strategies to gain power and enter parliament, and that the government would concentrate on ensuring stable conditions for the elections.52

Rahmonov: still president in 2011
Tajikistan. According to the Tajik press, there will be no “plane-tree revolution” in Dushanbe during the scheduled November 2006 presidential elections. Asia Plus reported in early December 2004, “Currently, there is not a single leader on the Tajik political stage that would enjoy such wide support among the public and who could become a real alternative to the current president [Emomali Rahmonov]. It is also unlikely that the authorities would allow the emergence of such a person in the next two years.”53 

Niyazov: only death dethroned him
Turkmenistan. By contrast, Turkmenistan appears to have a natural immunity against the democracy virus, impregnable to any revolution, because its president, Saparmurat Niyazov, has taken effective steps to stop its importation. However, since the regime is “sustained mainly on fear and the suppression of dissidence,” the pillars of support and long-term durability are ultimately not as solid as they appear and therefore change over the longer term is possible.54 This is especially so because of the paradox of consolidated authoritarian power: The regime’s authoritarianism, in itself, does not permit a successor to be named during the president’s lifetime. Thus it is more likely that a power vacuum will promote instability within the state following his death as different candidates scramble for power. The regime may not survive this chaotic transition period. 

Karimov: still president in 2011
Uzbekistan. After Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan is perhaps the next most authoritarian regime in Central Asia. The prospects for revolution here are very weak and very long-range. On December 27, 2004, Uzbekistan held parliamentary elections that were essentially uncontested— pre-election manipulation ensured a predictable and undemocratic result. All five participating parties were staunchly pro-regime, and the parliament is a rubber-stamp institution for President Islam Karimov. “Opposition groups could not obtain official recognition as political parties to compete and their efforts to get candidates on ballot papers as independents have been blocked by flimsy excuses,” according to the International Crisis Group. “There are 5,500 political prisoners in the Uzbek prison system. Upon arrest, torture by law enforcement officials is not only systematic, as noted by a United Nations special rapporteur, but, as Craig Murray, the departed U.K. ambassador revealed, it is also used to obtain prisoner confessions that are then presented to U.K. and U.S. authorities as evidence of international jihadi activity in Uzbekistan.”55 According to a report by the International Herald Tribune, the regime stifles the “institutions that underpin a free and fair election process—opposition political parties, media freedoms, an open atmosphere for non-governmental organizations and freedom of assembly.”56 The president speaks of national democracy, attacking the universal concept of democracy “as a political system.” 57 Although Karimov claims that a “repetition of the Ukrainian and Georgian scenarios in Uzbekistan”58 is unlikely, the regime’s critics feel that “After these farcical elections, Uzbekistan faces yet another period of social and political tension. The regime of Islam Karimov will continue to turn moderate believers into fanatics in whatever quantities needed to keep the regime safe and to scare the West into handing over anti-terrorist aid.”59 

Robert Kocharyan: left office democratically in 2008
Armenia. The revolution scenario is also routinely dismissed in discussions of Armenia. In April 2004, elements of the Armenian opposition attempted to mobilize popular demonstrations in protest against the official falsification of the 2003 elections, but this effort failed. Interestingly, in December 2004 Armenia’s foreign minister, Vardan Oskanian, declared that the example of Ukraine must now silence the Armenian opposition’s claims of a stolen election. Many international organizations had challenged the Ukrainian elections, he pointed out. If there had been any validity to the allegations of election fraud in Armenia, the same international organizations would have registered similar challenges—since they did nothing of the sort, this proves that the opposition’s claims are baseless.60 Garnik Isagulyan, an Armenian presidential adviser on security issues, holds that there will be no “Apricot Revolution” in Armenia because there is no real alternative to the incumbent regime: “The former ruling party, the Armenian Pan-National Movement, was the real opposition and was gradually trying to move out of the shadows.” As he explained: “The tragedy of the APNM is that it does not have a leader accepted by the people.” Indeed, Armenian society does not support the APNM’s Levon Ter-Petrossian, who was president from 1991 to 1998.61 However, by early January 2005 Ter-Petrossian and another prominent opposition candidate, former foreign minister Raf Ovanesian (who has U.S. citizenship), formed a single unified bloc, signaling, in the eyes of Azeri analyst Mubariz Ahmadoglu, the process of preparing for and organizing a revolutionary situation in Armenia.62 

Ilham Aliev: proving democracy isn't "democracy."
Azerbaijan. Allegations of Western-backed revolution have also been voiced in Azerbaijan, where the fraudulent presidential elections on October 15–16, 2003, saw President Heidar Aliev pass power to his son, Ilham Aliev. This was followed by post-election riots in Baku, the imprisonment of opposition leaders, and the suppression of public dissent. Ahmadoglu, who is the director of the Institute for Political Innovations and Technologies in Baku, argued that in this context, “The opposition in Azerbaijan proved to be weak and incapable despite financial support from outside.”63 Following the Orange Revolution, the U.S. ambassador to Azerbaijan, Reno Harnish, responded to comments by Azerbaijani parliamentarians concerning the supposed American plan to stage a revolution in Azerbaijan by backing Ali Karimli, chairman of the reformist People’s Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP). The ambassador characterized such statements as unrealistic: “If you paid attention, you would have noticed that the USA has not said it backs a particular presidential candidate in Ukraine. We back democratic processes as a whole and the right of the Ukrainian people to freedom in expressing its will.”64 These comments were echoed by Vladyslav Kaskiv, chairman of the Ukrainian youth movement Pora, who has promised to provide training courses and information support to the Azerbaijani opposition before the 2005 parliamentary elections, with the proviso: “We do not intend to back a specific candidate at the elections. Our aim is to help democracy win in every country.”65

Reality Check  

Does the CIS really face a wave of Western-backed revolutions-for-export that will wash through the former Soviet space, demolishing incumbents and implanting pro-Western candidates from among the disparate counter-elites and oppositions in these states, thereby encircling Russia? This expectation seems rather overblown, distorted by euphoria over the Ukrainian victory unmodified by more considered judgment. Opposition movements throughout the CIS may well have been emboldened by the events in Tbilisi and Kyiv. The prospect of a more level playing field during election periods is more likely not because of foreign interference, but thanks to the emergence of stronger civil societies and a deeper democratic political culture than incumbents expected and believed possible after little more than a decade of post-Soviet governance. 

A more level playing field?  Stronger civil societies?  A deeper democratic political culture?  The image above is a screenshot from a new video game, People Power, designed and produced by actual participants of color revolutions, and other members of the Western regime change tactical infrastructure.  Talk about "reality check."  Here's a reality check: this juvenile nonsense is the reality of foreign policy today...a video game designed to help kids overthrow their own governments.  Does this seem realistic enough??  One can surely describe this as an instance of "deeper democratic political culture" but we prefer to characterize this as power and money working in concert toward a well-documented geopolitical goal.   
What, then, of the revolution-for-export thesis? This idea, though weak, is grounded in fact: Euro-Atlantic states and institutions do actively support the process of free and fair elections and political pluralism both in theory (for example, democratization underpins the U.S. National Security Strategy of September 2002) and in practice. There is a case to be made that Western security services did actively attempt to undermine the Miloševiæ regime after the Kosovo conflict and that the overthrow of Miloševiæ in 2000 was partially orchestrated by external forces. However, the assertion that international organizations, foreign countries, and NGOs act in concert to achieve a grand strategy of transforming the CIS states into democracies by exporting catalytic revolutions rests on assumptions that are hard to credit.

First, it assumes that disparate organizations, institutions, and states are able to think strategically and marshal the high degree of discipline needed to achieve a consensus of approach and division of labor, and then to implement the strategy. One would have to assume, for example, that the many unruly NGOs share a homogeneous outlook and orientation, and that governments and NGOs are able not only to cooperate but to work in lockstep. While governments and NGOs both support human rights and democratization efforts, they are hardly a monolithic bloc. How are we to square the failure of the Soros-funded plan for “regime change” in the United States, where he supported the Democratic presidential nominee, John Kerry, to the tune of $15 million, with his alleged cooperation with the International Republican Institute in fomenting the Orange Revolution in Ukraine?

Second, what of the contention that Western secret services use unwitting NGOs as dupes or proxies, and thus are able to effectively “outsource” the revolution and run it by remote control? This contention attributes far more power and ability to the analytical and operational capabilities of the security services than seems warranted by recent evidence of their miscalculations (in cases where real national interest was at least professed to be at stake) [???]. The outsourcing of revolution through NGOs could never be as careful, systematic, and controlled as charged by the proponents of this thesis—contingency, personalities, and the ability of civic organizations to set their own agenda should not be overlooked. The unification of three separate opposition blocs in Ukraine to push the opposition movement forward could hardly have been imposed from the outside.

No 'imposed' unification of opposition blocks?  Ok. Sure.  The image above is of the Merriott Hotel conference room in Budapest, Hungry, where in October, 1999, the US-financed National Democratic Institute (NDI) paid US political consultant Doug Schoen (of Penn, Schoen, Berland & Associates) to instruct presidential candidates of the Serbian opposition block to drop out of the race.  At the nearby Hilton in Budapest, around the same time, the US-financed International Republican Institute (IRI) provided strategic training (through Gene Sharp's Albert Einstein Institution) to leaders of the Serbian youth movement, OTPOR!, the group that is now credited with having mobilized the successful ousting of President Milosevic the following year.  
Third, are we to believe that the West has an overarching active policy and strategy for this region? What of the failed Western policy toward Ukraine, which at best might be described as benign neglect? According to the former editor of the Kyiv Post, 
 Since President Leonid Kuchma took office in 1995, USAID has dumped close to $1.5 billion into Ukraine. The destination of every penny of those funds is a matter of public record. Most of that money has gone to support reforms within the Ukrainian government. Only a few million dollars a year has gone to support a free press, free elections, and other civil society-building initiatives. The bulk of USAID funding definitely did not end up with the opposition. Rather, it ended up with Kuchma’s corrupt government. One could thus argue that the United States did more to prop up the Kuchma regime than it did to support the opposition.66
 Fourth, even in an age of virtual information, are PR firms and pollsters really omnipotent? Gleb Pavlovsky, the chief Russian “political technologist” dispatched to Kyiv, himself cautions against “exaggerating the importance of political technologies and the revolutionary technologists as they are called. In fact, these are advisers or their support services. They may offer advice and consultations, and the most they can do is offer a scheme.”67 Other analysts discount the extent to which the events in Kyiv are “exportable” within the CIS, arguing that the CIS states cannot all be regarded as pliant “victims of the West’s democratization techniques,” because they do not all have the preconditions necessary to support successful revolutions, namely: “weak, closed-off regimes with authoritarian leanings, incapable of either sharing power or suppressing attempts to encroach on their monopoly of power.”68 The internal political environment must be conducive to the importation of revolution, and for this to be so a number of ingredients must be properly aligned. If, for example, the incumbent president is reasonably popular, civil society is weak, the political elite is willing to promise change, elections are not overtly stolen, and the incumbent lacks a credible rival, then an imported revolution will not take root. 

Fifth, the ineptness of Putin’s counterproductive Ukraine policy has also been identified as a factor in the Orange Revolution. The policy itself constituted a self-inflicted wound. According to Lilia Shevtsova of the Carnegie Moscow Center, 
Moscow, with its technology of interference, has deepened the split in Ukrainian society—but to its own detriment. The Russian presence allowed radicals to resurrect elements of the national liberation struggle and to return—at least a section of citizens—to 1991, that is, to Ukraine’s struggle for independence from Russia. Putin became the factor that helped to unite Ukrainian nationalists, liberals, and socialists against the authorities and against Moscow. Having taken part in the Ukrainian struggle, Moscow has not only excluded for itself the role of arbitrator in the Ukrainian process, but has also narrowed the field for domination in the post- Soviet space. To our eyes, an event has taken place that in terms of its consequences for Russia may turn out to be more serious than the expansion of NATO and the EU.69
What is this guy drinkin?
In short, the West lacks the ability, never mind the political will, to conduct such “special operations.” Incumbents in the region usually have the will and ability to suppress internal dissent. Where revolutions do occur, they are characterized by the presence of unpopular incumbents who have lost control over both the people and substantial elements of their own state apparatus. The real threat to authoritarian regimes does not come from foreign NGOs working in concert with Western security services, but simply from foreign NGOs working inside the country. Under certain conditions, self-determination can occur and people can assert their rights. Teaching the principles of democracy to citizens in a semi-authoritarian system will inevitably empower the opposition to the incumbent and work to the disadvantage of pro-government parties. It remains a reality that “Peaceful popular protests backed by OSCE standards on elections can bring down entrenched corrupt regimes that rely on vote fraud to remain in power.”70 But while highlighting shortfalls in transparency and inadequate democratic accountability may undermine authoritarian regimes, replacing “imitation” democracy with “electoral” democracy hardly constitutes a postmodern coup d’état.

Looking Ahead: Will Rhetoric Trump Reality? 

Despite the foregoing observations, the exported-revolution thesis cannot be dismissed so lightly. It will have a political impact and inevitably shape foreign and security policies within the CIS. A belief in the thesis, whether sincere or fabricated, will affect domestic and foreign policy in the CIS states, particularly in respect to how post-Soviet elites safeguard their power and manage political successions. Just as certain Central Asian states may allege that the political opposition is linked to al-Qaeda in order to justify a crackdown on legitimate parties, the CIS states may claim that opposition parties are backed by Western security services. Such tactics will prove to be powerful and perhaps even popular tools for mobilizing the masses and justifying greater state control over political opponents. Incumbent regimes will now be able to play the “Ukrainian card” come election time: “What is better, they ask, stability and inter-ethnic accord or confrontation that threatens a split in society?”71

It is not beyond belief that many post-Soviet elites may sincerely believe the thesis, especially those who view security issues through the prism of their Soviet experience, drawing on Stalin for notions of encirclement and the Leninist/Bolshevik ideology to shape their understanding of the phenomenon of revolution. The 1917 October Revolution is proof that revolutions need vanguard parties of intellectuals, ideologists, and organizers. If Russia has not supplied them in situations where revolutions have occurred, the West must have done so. It therefore follows that the monolithic West has a strategy for the post-Soviet space that allows for a carefully coordinated, systematic approach to regime change—after all, that is how the Soviet Union approached its international relationships during the cold war. Max Boot, a well-known American neoconservative, has observed that a little outside help goes a long way in supporting democratic oppositions to overthrow anti-democratic incumbents: “We need to apply elsewhere the lessons of Ukraine, which are also the lessons of Georgia, Serbia, Indonesia, South Korea, Taiwan, South Africa, Poland, Lithuania, and other countries where despotic regimes have been toppled since the original ‘people power’ revolution swept the Philippines in 1986. An obvious candidate for a similar transformation is Iran.”72 Such statements can only reinforce the fears and paranoia of stakeholders in the CIS and the Middle East.

This in turn will affect how a range of contacts—from educational and religious to military—will be understood. Logically it would follow that the ultimate purpose of Western military-training programs (where military-to-military contacts are paramount) is, at best, to prompt state military forces and security services to take a neutral position toward the revolution, and at worst, to side with the opposition, therefore marginalizing and incapacitating the power of the incumbent. As a result, U.S.-sponsored “train and equip” programs and NATO Partnership for Peace exercises and projects are likely to come under much greater scrutiny and suspicion.

The Orange Revolution poses policy questions for CIS state actors, foreign and domestic security services, diplomatic missions, NGOs, and other civil society actors within the CIS. Three constants will emerge. First, all of these actors increasingly compete or cooperate to occupy the same policy arena in the CIS. Here agendas, initiatives, issues, goals, objectives, policy instruments, and tools are created, pursued, and utilized. Second, it is generally accepted that it is legitimate for foreign diplomatic missions to support the government and people of their host state in building a modern, prosperous, stable, and democratic country in accordance with the laws of the state and international practice. To this end, a focus on the legitimacy of the process of free, fair, and transparent elections is not a breach of a state’s sovereignty or interference in its internal affairs, unless a diplomatic mission exclusively supports one particular candidate or faction. Third, in democratic political cultures, government officials accept that NGOs and civil society are free to support both a democratization process and specific candidates or parties, even if this undermines the power of incumbents.

In some post-Soviet states, these constants are barely acknowledged as legitimate. Cooperation and coordination between diplomatic missions and NGOs is increasingly perceived in a negative light. This link is not viewed as an end in itself (building a vibrant and democratic civil society), but as a means to another, more sinister and threatening end: regime change. Some CIS regimes understand only too well the complexity and power of Western-style NGOs and civil society as actors, and therefore how they can have simultaneously competing and cooperative agendas with significant domestic, foreign, and security policy implications. What they cannot fathom is that all this can occur independent of Western diplomatic missions and security services.

In addition, the ruling elites of the CIS tend to underestimate the growing power of civil society—especially when manifested as an expression of popular protest sparked by intense frustration and disappointment at a stolen election and official resistance to change. An exception is Aleksandr Lebedev, member of the Russian State Duma, deputy head of the Duma’s CIS Committee, and co-chairman of the Russo-Ukrainian Inter-parliamentary Commission. With reference to the Orange Revolution, he said: 
In the final analysis, it was not the administrative levers and not interference in Ukraine’s affairs by one state or another, or for that matter by any other forces, that was crucial there. It was the fact that three million people took to the streets in Kyiv that was, in my view, the more important development. Indeed, one would be hard pressed to imagine that three million people could, by means of some sort of political spin, be induced to take to the streets in temperatures that were as low as minus 12 Centigrade and stay there for weeks on end. It was an expression of the will of Kyivans and Ukrainians who had flocked to Kyiv.73
Finally, is democracy as a political system a universal concept? President Akayev of Kyrgyzstan, for example, holds that national democracy and stability must be attained before Western-style democracy can follow. Anatol Lieven made a somewhat similar point with regard to Russia: “Only a semi-authoritarian government now will allow for the possibility of liberal democracy in Russia in the future; President Putin is to be supported.” 74 If this is so, then to what extent can the goal of “stability first” in support of higher national goals (national democracy/traditional values) be pursued by regimes before diplomatic missions and NGO observers conclude that despotic authoritarianism is the real goal and the incumbents are determined to hold on to power at any and all costs? How much torture, imprisonment, harassment in pursuit of “stability first” is acceptable? Where should diplomatic missions draw the line between achieving strategic security partnerships and upholding democratic values? There is no uniform answer across the CIS to these difficult questions, but it would appear that Western tolerance levels and costs/ benefits analysis are still measured in realpolitik national interest terms. Tolerance is low when perceived national interest is at stake, and high when not—thus on December 26, 2004, there were around twenty-five OSCE monitors in Uzbekistan versus 10,000 monitors in Ukraine.

Looking to the future, it is likely that incumbent elites throughout the CIS plan to utilize the thesis of exported revolution to buttress and consolidate their power bases and devise winning electoral strategies. The rhetoric is most likely to take on a reality of its own that has little to do with evidence. In this respect, the Moldovan and Kyrgyz parliamentary and presidential elections in 2005 will prove instructive. Taking Kyrgyzstan as an example, President Akayev, a former academician rather than apparatchik, is sixty years old and in good health. He has almost completed his second term as president (2000–2005). Should he step down and return to academe, Kyrgyzstan will be the first state in Central Asia to provide for a peaceful transfer of power, and this will reinvigorate progressive forces in the state. However, although Akayev says that he intends to step down, it is unclear whether his supporters, particularly his wife, are ready to relinquish power. The presidential elections will thus be a litmus test, either a test case of the transfer of power in accordance with the constitution or evidence for the instrumental use of the threat of a foreign-backed opposition-led revolution to justify the retention of power.

In the aftermath of the Orange Revolution, new considerations may now focus and shape the thinking of post-Soviet presidential incumbents on the subject of strategic power distribution and continuity. Can incumbents finesse a transfer of power to chosen successors on the Yeltsin-Putin precedent, or will they run the risk that such attempts would be prone to breakdown on the Kuchma-Yanukovych model? Would the use of constitutional courts, two-thirds majorities in parliament, or a popular referendum achieve the same goal, or could this precipitate the popular expression of mass people power that it sought to avoid? Might incumbents be more inclined to allow for a more or less democratic transfer of power to counter-elites in return for immunity from prosecution for corruption while in office? The treatment of Georgia’s former president, Eduard Shevardnadze, and even more of Leonid Kuchma in Ukraine will be closely watched in this respect. In the final analysis, are the military and security forces to be relied upon as a loyal praetorian guard that will obey presidential orders and suppress popular discontent, or might they refuse to respond or be so divided that incumbents run the risk of execution in accordance with the 1989 Ceauºescu/Romanian model of revolution?


Unless otherwise noted, translations are from Lexis/Nexis database.

1. ONASA/Independent News Agency and Agence France-Presse (December
30, 2004); Ukrainian Television Channel 1 (December 30, 2004).

2. Ukrainian Television Channel 5 (December 23, 2004).

3. Interview with Sergei Markov, (December 27, 2004),
available at

4. ONASA/AP (November 27, 2004); Gene Sharp, From Dictatorship
to Democracy: A Conceptual Framework for Liberation (Boston: Albert Einstein Institution, 1993, reprinted May 2002, June 2003) (available at, served as a textbook for a series of lectures attended by resistance members and helped them facilitate regime change in Serbia; Jelena Tusup, “Ukrainian Resistance According to a Serbian Recipe,” Blic (Belgrade) (November 28, 2004): 3.

5. Joel Brinkley, “Dollars for Democracy? U.S. Aid to Ukraine Challenged,” New York Times (December 21, 2004): 3.

6. Tatiana Netreba, “ ‘Rozy’ na krovi” (“Roses” on Blood), Argumenty
i fakty (December 15, 2004).

7. Jonathan Steele, “Ukraine’s Untold Story,” Nation (December 20,
2004): 4–6. Steve Weissman argues, “Team Bush put the pieces in place to provoke a coup, drawing on classic CIA destabilization campaigns that had toppled, among others, Iran’s Mohammed Mossadegh (1953), Guatemala’s Jacobo Arbenz (1954), Guyana’s Chedi Jagan (1963), Brazil’s Joao Goulart (1964), and Chile’s Salvador Allende (1973). The Venezuelan operation used many of the same groups now meddling in Ukraine. And, with the same straight face, they told themselves and the world that they were just helping to build democracy” (“How Uncle Santa Diddles Dems from Ukraine to Venezuela,” Perspective [December 24, 2004), available at

8. Mark Almond, “The Price of People Power: The Ukraine Street
Protests Have Followed a Pattern of Western Orchestration Set in the 80s. I Know—I Was a Cold War Bagman,” The Guardian (December 7, 2004): 23; “Yanukovich’s Friends,” Economist (December 4, 2004): 56.

9. Ukrayina TV, Donetsk (December 6, 2004); Ukrainian Television Channel 5 (December 6, 2004). On another occasion, he noted, “There has been no revolution at all. There was a pre-planned and pre-financed putsch that has been prepared for many years. We saw the end of the putsch after the runoff ended. That’s all” (Ukrainian Television Channel 1 [December 17, 2004]).

10. Ukrayina TV, Donetsk (December 14, 2004).

11. Russian Television Center, “Russian TV Accuses West of Orchestrating Ukrainian Crisis” (December 8, 2004).

12. RIA-Novosti (December 3, 2004).

13. ITAR-TASS (December 27, 2004).

14. Andrei Vladimirov, “Revoliutsiia na eksport” (Revolution for Export), Itogi (December 7, 2004): 10–12.

15. Vitalii Tretiakov, Grivna na rebre” (Coin on the Edge), Rossiiskaia gazeta (December 2, 2004).

16. Andrei Iliashenko, “A Bunch of Rose Revolutions,” RIA-Novosti (November 29, 2004).

17. Rossiiskaia gazeta (December 1, 2004).

18. Aleksei Pushkov, “They Do Not Want to Split Ukraine, But They Want to Tear It Away from Russia,” Postskriptum, Russian Television Center (December 1, 2004). Aleksei Pushkov is the author and presenter of this program and a member of President Vladimir Putin’s council for the development of civic society.

19. “Conference on Ukraine with Effective Policy Fund President Gleb Pavlovsky,” RIA-Novosti (December 3, 2004). See also Nataliia Galimova, “Rossiia pod toporom: Gleb Pavlovskii—odna minuta—dazhe dvorniki v stolitse stanoviatsia revoliutsionerami” (Russia Under the Axe: Gleb Pavlovsky—Any Moment—Even the Street Cleaners in the Capital Will Become Revolutionaries), Moskovskii komsomolets (December 21, 2004).

20. Viacheslav Kostikov, Argumenty i fakty (November 30, 2004).

21. Sergei B. Ivanov, Russian minister of defense, “The World in the 21st Century: Addressing New Threats And Challenges,” Inaugural Annual Can incumbents finesse a transfer of power
to chosen successors on the Yeltsin-Putin precedent, or will they run the risk that such
attempts would be prone to breakdown on the Kuchma-Yanukovych model? Herd Colorful Revolutions and the CIS 17 Lecture on Russia and Russian-American Relations, Council on Foreign Relations, New York, January 13, 2005.

22. Aleksei Malashenko, “Gruzino-Ukrainskoe posobie dlia SNG” (Georgian-Ukrainian Textbook for the CIS), Nezavisimaia gazeta (December 20, 2004).

23. Luc Perrot, “Russia Slides Toward Authoritarianism, in Rivalry with West,” Agence France-Presse (December 21, 2004).

24. Vladimirov, “Revoliutsiia na eksport.”

25. Ibid.

26. Dmitry Oreshkin, “Gaiki budut zakruchivat s molnienosnoi skorostiu” (Screws Will Be Tightened with Lightning Speed), Izvestia (November 30, 2004): 4.

27. Boris Nemtsov, “Dlia liderov pravykh: eto nekii grandioznyi pilotnyi proekt” (For the Leader of the Government, It Is a Grandiose Pilot Project),
Izvestia (November 30, 2004): 4.

28. RIA-Novosti (December 12, 2004).

29. Valerii Solovei, “Uroki dlia Rossii” (Lessons for Russia), Rodnaia gazeta (December 10, 2004): 2.

30. Viacheslav Nikonov, “Banany, dollary, i kashtany” (Bananas, Dollars, and Chustnuts), Rossiiskaia gazeta (December 1, 2004).

31. Yuri Stroganov, “Ukrainu my poka ne poteriali, no nado uchest i ispravit oshibki” (We Haven’t Lost Ukraine Yet, But We Must Learn from Our Mistakes), Trud (January 12, 2005).

32. Netreba, “ ‘Rozy’ na krov” (On the Edge of the “Abyss”), Belarusian TV (December 9, 2004).

33. Belapan news agency (October 11, 2004).

34. Belapan (December 28, 2004). According to Anatol Lyabedzka, UCP party chairman, “Lukashenko’s edict banning the color orange must be the next step of the authorities.”

35. Jackson Diehl, “Battle for Belarus,” Washington Post (January 3, 2005): A13.

36. Konstantin Demchenko, “ ‘Maidanshchna’ protiv Konstitutsiia RF” (The Square Syndrome Versus the Russian Constitution), Russkii kurier (December 8, 2004): 4.

37. Ekho Moskvy radio (December 30, 2004).

38. Vladimirov, “Revoliutsiia na eksport.”

39. Vera Sitnina, “Psikhologiia intrigi” (Psychology of Intrigue), Vremia novostei (December 10, 2004).

40. “What the Papers Say: Russia” (December 22, 2004), available at

41. “Lessons of the Ukrainian Revolution for Russia: A Hangover from Somebody Else’s Feast,” BBC Monitoring Service via “What the Papers Say: Russia” (December 8, 2004).

42. Anatoly Nedetsky, “Three Polls Indicate Slide in Putin’s Popularity,” Moscow Times (March 4, 2005): 3.

43. (December 30, 2004), available at

44. Olga Bezborodova, “Eksportery ‘revoliutsii sorniakov’ ” (Exporters of “Weed Revolution”), Vecherniy Bishkek (December 1, 2004): 4. See also Ibragim Rustambek, “Sobytiia na Ukraine mogut postavit pod udar vse SNG: Nuzhna li kyrgyzam revoliutsiia?” (The Events in Ukraine Can Jeopardize the Whole of the CIS: Do the Kyrgyz People Need Revolution?), Argumenty i fakty Kyrgyzstan (December 1, 2004): 3.

45. Kanat Berdybaiev, “Western Politicians Prepare ‘Elm Revolution’ in Kyrgyzstan,” RIF Obozrenie (December 3, 2004).

46. ITAR-TASS (January 4, 2005).

47. Opposition forces have already embraced the name “Tulip Revolution” in imitation of Georgia’s Rose Revolution. Kyrgyzstan is known for its remarkably diverse tulip species.

48. Kyrgyzstan Public Educational Radio and TV (December 10, 2004).

49. Ibragim Rustambek, “Prizrak demokratii poterialsia v Kyrgyzstane: Ne spi, Amerika!” (The Ghost of Democracy Has Got Lost in Kyrgyzstan: Do Not Idle, America!), Argumenty i fakty Kyrgyzstan (December 8, 2004):1: “The people want to know, who is master at home, since tranquility and order are much more important than ideological ‘values’ like free capitalism, human rights or some kind of gender equality, which are artificially implanted in the country.”

50. Kyrgyzstan Television Channel 1 (December 26, 2004).

51. Viktoria Panfilova, “Uprezhdaiushchii udar prezidenta Akaeva” (President Akaev’s Preemptive Strike), Nezavisimaia gazeta (December 21, 2004): 5.

52. Bishkek Independent Television (December 20, 2004).

53. Asia-Plus Information Agency (December 2, 2004): 1. See also “Opinions, Globalization, Democracy, Interests,” Khovar news agency (January 4, 2005). This article argues that there is a switch from U.S. policy based on energy resources to efforts to teach democracy: the “expansion of Washington’s imperial ambition is a new U.S. geopolitical goal in the region.”

54. Gennadiy Sisoiev, “Sut” (Bottom Line), Kommersant (December 20, 2004).

55. David Lewis and Andrew Stroehlein, “The Inevitability of Change in Uzbekistan,” Financial Times (December 21, 2004): 15; David Lewis is Central Asia project director at the International Crisis Group; Andrew Stroehlein, the group’s director of media, ran journalist-training programs
in Uzbekistan. See also Paula R. Newberg, “Uzbekistan’s Democratic Smoke Screen,” International Herald Tribune (December 24–26, 2004): 6.

56. Rachel Denber, “Post-Soviet Democracy: Beyond Ukraine, a Grim Picture,” International Herald Tribune (December 28, 2004): 8.

57. Uzbekistan Television Channel 1 (December 26, 2004).

58. In a recent interview, Karimov explained, “You will see what I mean if you look at how many non-governmental organizations there are in Ukraine and at their sources of funding. Actually, we are now keeping track of the projects for which funds are being allocated and grants are being awarded. We want to be certain that these are humanitarian projects and not the covert preparations for the next ‘color’ revolution. The international organizations working here are not always pursuing noble goals, after all. At seminars like ‘Leaders for the 21st Century,’ they ‘help the government’ choose the most talented young people, but they are doing this primarily for themselves. This is followed by regular trips abroad, where their minds are systematically molded at various symposiums and seminars. The products are people calling themselves ‘citizens of the world’ and insisting there will be no boundaries someday soon.” Viktoria Panfilova, “Pri imperii nas schitali liudmi vtorogo sorta” (Interview with Islam Karimov: In the Days of the Empire, We Were Regarded as Second-Class Citizens), Nezavisimaia gazeta (January 14, 2005).

59. Muhammad Salih, “Uzbekistan’s Dangerous Election Sham,” Moscow
Times (December 3, 2004). Muhammad Salih is the head of the Erk Democratic Party of Uzbekistan. He contributed this comment to the Moscow Times from exile in Europe.

60. Arminfo news agency (December 14, 2004).

61. Vahan Vardanyan, “There Will Be No Revolution,” Ayots Ashkar (December 2, 2004): 3.

62. MPA news agency (January 10, 2005). The author, Mubariz Ahmadoglu, is the director of the Institute for Political Innovations and Technologies in Baku.

63. Ibid.

64. Bilik Dunyasi news agency (December 16, 2004).

65. Azerbaijan Television NS (December 29, 2004). Mubariz Ahmadoglu predicts: “Even if there is an increased level of political activity in Azerbaijani in the run up to the parliamentary elections, I do not believe that these processes will take a revolutionary nature and lead to a change of
power.” MPA (January 10, 2005).

66. Greg Bloom, “U.S. Can’t Buy Revolution,” Moscow Times (December 23, 2004). Bloom was editor in chief of the Kyiv Post from 2000 to 2003. “The strongest indictment one could make about the effect of U.S.- funded democracy-building programs on the Ukrainian election is that they leveled the playing field for the opposition.”

67. Conference on Ukraine with Effective Policy Fund president Gleb Pavlovsky, RIA-Novosti, December 3, 2004.

68. Vladimirov, “Revoliutsiia na eksport.”

69. Lilia Shevtsova, “Ispytanie Ukrainoi. Vyderzhit li ego Putin i sozdannyi im rezhim?” (A Test with Ukraine: Will Putin and the Regime Created by Him Pass It?), Novaia gazeta (December 6, 2004). See also 18 Problems of Post-Communism March/April 2005 Mikhail Zygar, “Rabota nad uspekhami: Sergei Lavrov opravdyvaetsia za pozitivnyi god” (Working on Success: Sergei Lavrov Congratulates Himself on “Positive” Year), Kommersant (January 20, 2005): 1.

70. Christopher Smith, “Democracy in the CIS,” Washington Times (January 12, 2005). Smith, a Republican member of Congress from New Jersey, is the U.S. Helsinki Commission chair.

71. Viacheslav Timirbaiev, “Will We Learn a Lesson from the Ukrainian Elections?” Moia stolitsa novosti (December 7, 2004): 1.

72. Max Boot, “Exporting the Ukraine Miracle,” Los Angeles Times (December 30, 2004): B11. Boot is a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. To order reprints, call 1-800-352-2210;
outside the United States, call 717-632-3535.

73. Ekho Moskvy radio (January 14, 2005).

74. Anatol Lieven, “The Essential Vladimir Putin,” Foreign Policy, no. 145 (January/February 2005): 76–77.